818. Same Song, different tune

Clint Eastwood in Per un pugno di dollari (1964)Lust for power, money, celebrity, sex, and respect never ends, and never ends well. From the times of Egypt and Babylon through Rome and the Middle Ages, man’s lusts have led to war and idolatry, rape, slavery, depravity and desolation. Oh, and some decency broke out along the way in response to the depravity. Kind of like a hockey game. But we have to always remember that only the victors write history– full of self-exonerating prejudice, and their own heroic narratives whether true or not.Don't praise artists, praise administrators!” Byzantine ...

Lust— wanton lasciviousness, eager unbridled animal desire, sinful hungry craving cannot end well. The man of lust is not to be trusted anymore than the fox who offered the gingerbread man portage across the stream.This brings up another issue, of why we shouldn’t lie. The moral of the Gingerbread Man story is that you should not trust anyone without consideration. This story makes lying seem quite compelling, seeing as with a simple bit of trickery, the fox was able to reap the rewards of eating the supple gingerbread man. This can seem quite appealing to children, as they see these initial benefits from lying, but fail to see the big picture. If everyone were to lie, it would become quite the untruthful and deceiving world to live in. If everyone were like the fox, tricking people into doing something harmful for them, we would have a very negative place to live in, and children can take this lesson as a good ground for morals. Why we shouldn’t be deceiving to our fellow man is because if everyone were to do that, it would be a mandate for us all. This then allows children to get a little grasp of social contracts, and start to understand the tragedy of the commonwealth. This type of discussion can help show children why if everyone were to only look out for themselves, everyone as a whole would suffer. If each character in the book were a fox, none of them would get anywhere, just trying to deceive each other for the benefit.  [Bennet & Stoski, Teaching Children Philosophy]

Like many angry, disenchanted Americans, that Gingerbread Man ran away from his creators. He ran away past others who wished to eat him, taunting each character, “Run, run, as fast as you can; you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.” Call GM the virulent self-proclaimed victim of individualism run amok. The old lady and old man who baked GM were lonely, according to the fantasy tale. It’s a stretch, I know, but let’s stretch with Burrito. Consider this Psycho-Political Yoga.yoga GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

Since the beginning of time, someone has played the GM victim card. Once creating this marker, the so called victim entitles himself to his own law. Cain was chastised by God for his inferior offering. Rather than correcting his attitude and offering, he killed his pure hearted brother and remade the Law in his own image. Cain killing Abel Painting by Unknown 19th century

And you might think that simply banishing Cain would solve the problem of evil in the First Family, but nothing could be further from the truth. Cain reproduces. Sin continues to slither the earth and lay nests of vipers’ eggs.  Out of Cain’s seed comes a nasty fellow named Lamech in Genesis 4:18. He takes on two wives and kills at least one man for injuring him. He claims a new egocentric law that “If Cain were avenged 7 times, then Lamech will be avenged 77 times.”


Lamech sired Noah at 182 years of age. 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. [Genesis 5] (The name Noah means rest or repose.)Lamech and his Two Wives', William Blake, 1795 | Tate

Note the 777 total years lived–eerily reminiscent of Lamech’s claim for vengeance. Living that long he unfortunately fathered many sons and daughters. Violence became the norm in those Antediluvian days, as well as some sort of cross breeding between the sons of God and the daughters of man, upsetting God to the end that he determined to wipe out mankind except for Noah and his family. Noah would be a do over, right? It’s another clean slate, a new Eden approach to rooting out evil. By all accounts Noah was a good and righteous man who followed God even in apparent folly, building an ark in the desert, in preparation of an epic flood… at the tender age of 600.The Animals on the Ark with Tim Chaffey - YouTube

As you know, the deluge came and seemed to wash the earth of all its sins and sinners. But, um, not so fast. Sin isn’t out there; it’s in here, in the hearts of men, in their DNA. Stay with me here. There’s genetics and something known as epigenetics, when the environment activates a dormant gene. If the evil of Cain, Noah’s grandfather, and the supercharged lusty evil of his father Lamech, lay dormant in Noah, then evil was not washed away. It was simply transported via ark to a renewed earth. As soon as Noah settled in to earthbound life again, he planted a vineyard; harvested the grapes; made wine; got drunk; got jiggy and sinned with his corrupted seed. Biblical history repeated. It’s not clear how Ham seeing Noah’s nakedness and telling his two brothers about it was so egregious, but it was treated as such, and Ham was outcast, to become the father of Canaan.Ham sees his father, Noah, naked and drunk; Shem and Japheth turn ...

And away we go. Ham is exiled like his great grandfather Cain. The descendants of Ham, Japheth, and Shem populate the renewed earth. The next thing you know, they are building a stairway to heaven to glorify themselves. So this do over must be done over, and over, and over ad infinitum.Redundancy Alert Cartoon Donald Trump Is Cartoon, Redundant - Wonkette

And that, my Blogganistas, is how the world goes round. Another self anointed hero will rise and make claims based on human lusts ending in human dust. The selfish, ungrateful Gingerbread Man runs away from his creators. The lying fox eats him. Repeat the tune, but the lyrics remain the same. FreelanceFriday: How to Remove Unnecessary Filler and Fluff From ...

817. Angryland

A police car burns outside a looted Apple store in Center City.It sure seems that the socio-psychic lava is gurgling and simmering through mine shafts below our country’s bruised skin. Fear, anger, dread, anxiety, doom, suspicion, paranoia, hopelessness, helplessness… all commingle to make a septic witches brew, like bleach and ammonia creating cyanide gas, seeking a weak spot from which to erupt in violent toxic geysers.

Everyone seems to have a legitimate claim of victimhood and a 20% rain check coupon to go with it.

“I can’t go shopping at Disney World.”

“I can’t work. Eat out. Get my nails done. Dance. Hair cut. See sports. Go to church.”

“I can’t make my bills.”

“I can’t believe this.”

“I can’t breathe.”

“I can’t stand it anymore.”

Absence (all the can’ts) makes the patience grow thinner, especially in a culture dedicated to coddling entitlement and numbing itself with instant, convenient entertainment. We now wait in lines six feet apart to enter stores, or pick up food, or check out of the grocery store. The banks are locked up with only drive through options available… and not everything can be transacted that way. God bless the internet, but it has limits as well. Wait times are increasing with phone based customer service, reinforcing the concept that our lives are on hold. We are operating in hostage mode, to something that has legion names.The Hydra in the Classroom - Word on Fire

What is needed to fill in the absence? Presence in jobs, business, schools, industry, churches, theaters, stadiums, etc. Control is essential to security. Because the new normal has not been birthed yet, we wait impatiently paralyzed. Instead of control we have a patchwork quilt of contrary mandates and orders, suggestions and requests. A cacophony of quarreling voices all lack true authority. We have no reliability or predictability present. Therefore we gaze into a vast crevasse of loss. There is no center left to hold fast. No bridge to the other rim of this impassable canyon. Bodies and illness fly off the whirling carousel of chaos while the healthy but scared still hang on.Merry Go Round Merry-go-rounding GIF - Circus MerryGoRound Festival GIFs

If passion were the only thing needed to bring solutions, we’d have all the wild horses back in the barn by now. Yep, medicine would hand us the secret vaccine for COVID. The Economy would reopen vigorously. Government would govern fairly and equitably. Police would do the right thing for the right reasons because of the excellent education they received. Society would trust its leaders and neighbors. A national identity would override tribal conflicts… But passion is just hot energy like a forest fire or a nuclear reaction. It needs guidance and boundaries (here we are back to control) to be constructive and not ruinous. Cool reason needs to be driving the nation’s bus toward justice; toward Immunity from the medical and social viruses that afflict it; toward A fair social contract. Some of us have seen this movie before.Today in labor history: Freedom Riders attacked in Alabama

Fear and anger share a lot of qualities. Both get the adrenaline pumping in the fight or flight reaction to real or perceived dangers. The survival instinct creates a certain tunnel vision of restrictive view. Once danger is perceived, the brain stem drives the bus toward the closest exit sign of survival. At the end of fear comes panic. At the end of anger comes rage. At the end of motivated ignorance comes violence. Sound, logical thought can not arise from the fight or flight reaction. Will, however, can bear down and do impressive feats even if they are wrong. When the Nazis invaded France, high on methamphetamine and a poisoned ideology, they rolled faster than any army had ever operated in history to stunning military victories.Forum war official GIF - Find on GIFERPassion unleashed with a mad man at the wheel.

It’s a tough choice point when merely surviving comes in conflict with one’s sense of purpose and meaning in life; when the immediate issue wrestles with the ultimate one. How can this not devolve into an “either/or” choice? How to maintain the “both/and” option without destruction?What are Climate Tipping Points? – climatetippingpoints.info

Here in Angryland it’s not a problem feeling the frenzied energy crackling in the air and just below the surface of masks and motions. What had been a rhetorically stoked political fear of the other political party has become a universal fear of all others, as real potential carriers of a deadly disease. The guy smoking a cigarette while pumping gas is still a threat; but now even after he stubs out his smoke and does not don a mask, he’s still a threat. Meanwhile you sense he’s eyeing you as a weak Kool Aid drinker afraid of  his shadow. And the dystopia of Angryland continues.no sleep Archives | Odd Dad Out

Doubt and confusion preceded the pandemic. Intelligence, the law, and the media were all undermined by political lumberjacks pretending to be stewards of democracy. Mighty sequoias and redwoods of governmental decency wound up in piles of sawdust, bulldozed and chain sawed to oblivion. Hallowed principles were hollowed out. Promises were sold like Girl Scout cookies but never delivered. “Oh that is on back order, uh, after my re-election… finish the wall, end health care, protect LGBTQ folks, restore the middle class”, etc. ad nauseam. “All that is second term greatness, believe me. The swamp is bigger than anyone ever imagined. Deep State too.”

Anger is the appropriate response to injustice, deceit, lying, and the rest of the litany of sins of the current administration. It’s also the response of rabid true believers toward infidels. We have those who worship at his altar, mad at those who don’t. And we have those who refuse to collude with the delusions, who are mad at those who do drink the reality t.v. star’s Kool Aid. And the bodies are piling up.

Welcome to Angryland. Our country is starting to resemble Iraq or Iran where Sunnis despise and kill Shia, and vice versa. When the world is reduced to either/or forced choice, poisoned blood finds its way to the surface.Rawalpindi Fight Between Shia and Sunni - Reality of Fight

816. Guest Hostage Report

I was struck by this feature story in CNN’s online report today. Completely without permission I am re-posting it while its pungency can still ferment into a potent liquor in our collective consciousness.

Two bullets in the back of Rayshard Brooks. His crime? Falling asleep in a long Wendy’s pickup line in Atlanta. Drunk. Offered to walk to his sister’s nearby home. No. Officers talked to him for half an hour. They went after him with their guns when he tried to escape, waving a Taser he had grabbed from one of the officers.

Joanna Adams

“Got him,” one of them said as Rayshard fell to the asphalt. Sounded like hunters hunkered in a duck blind whose marksmanship had resulted in a kill. “Got him.”
Ahmaud Arbery shot down on a suburban street in Glynn County. His crime? Being Black in a place where the color of his skin turned out to be a capital offense. The three White men who had chased him for blocks stood over his body, allegedly using the n— word, clearly satisfied with the success of their mission. They had gotten Arbery for sure.
I have lived in Atlanta — where Brooks was killed — for 58 years. These days, I spend a lot of time in southern Georgia, near the place where Arbery died. The Golden Isles, where red fish are there for the taking from the waters of the Satilla River — Satilla Shores is the neighborhood where the shotgun blast ripped his body apart.
Southern is what I am through and through. I am also as White as a White person can be. When I traced my genealogy, I discovered that every single one of my ancestors many centuries back was from the British Isles, with a couple of Germans thrown in for diversity’s sake. I am aware that all of us homo sapiens can trace our beginnings to Africa, but most White people couldn’t care less.
As a child growing up in Mississippi in the 1950s, I thought nothing about race. I knew no Black people, other than the janitor at my school and our maid, Omera, whom I loved but whose last name I never knew. My parents probably didn’t either. They paid her in cash — I’m pretty sure it was not much. Occasionally, my mother did send her home with used tin cans full of bacon drippings.
One day, Omera told my mother that she and her family were moving to Detroit. It sounded like Mars to me. I cried. Omera and I hugged as we said goodbye. As we watched her walk to the bus stop down the street, Mother turned me around and said, “Jo, I know you love Omera, but I don’t want you ever again to hug a ‘Negra’. It’s just not done.”
This was Mississippi in the 1950s. My father worked for the Chamber of Commerce in our town, Meridian. The big event of the year, both for the Chamber and for the city, was the Calf Scramble Parade on a spring Saturday. The preceding Friday night, our high school stadium would be filled with people from all over the county who had come to watch young men wrestle calves to the ground on the football field and lasso them. The victors would take their newly subdued calves to raise them, though eventually the calves would become cows and sold to a slaughterhouse.
Come Saturday, the city was gathered on downtown sidewalks for the best parade of the year: Men wearing ten gallon hats and embroidered boots, riding on prancing stallions, bright red fire engines sounding their sirens, and the mayor sitting on the back seat of his convertible, his starched white shirt soaked with perspiration while he waved listlessly to the crowd.
Then came the floats, the skirts of which consisted of chicken wire, each little quadrangle of which was stuffed with white Kleenex bouquets, meant to look like carnations.
Lovely White girls sat on the floats, waving enthusiastically and smiling like Miss America. I wanted to be just like them. I was just a kid then, standing on the sidewalk with a couple of friends. We had ridden the bus downtown for a nickel. Ten or 11 years old, we were. Safe as could be. Besides, my father was in charge of the parade.
Then, this: A float from the Black grammar school in “colored town” came into view. I had never heard of that school and did not even know there was a Black grammar school.
But there was the float. Same chicken wire. Same Kleenex carnations. Riding on the float were three little girls looking like a million dollars in their ruffled dresses. The girls on the float were about my age, smiling with pride and delight.
All of a sudden, three White boys, much older than my friends and me, standing next to us in jeans, cowboy hats and boots, yelled out, “No n— wanted here.” One of them walked toward the float and spit on one of the girls. Another, then another did the same. And so it went.
You know how sometimes parades stop because of the horses up ahead slow down, or the clown works the crowd too long? The parade did not move.
Plenty of time for the all-White bystanders to speak up. No one did. Just silence. Did I speak up? I was nauseated, but I was also frightened. I was also a child, a child of the south. I was afraid, my tongue frozen in my mouth.
Those Black kids, my age and as unknown to me as they possibly could be in the segregated south.
My shame for the rest of my life.
In 2020, spit has turned into bullets. Back in my old southern days, there were plenty of bullets in Black people’s back — and in their fronts too. Plenty of Black women raped. Plenty of lynching. Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old kid, was thrown into a river in Mississippi with a heavy industrial fan tied to his feet. They got him for sure. When a neighbor saw blood in the bed of his neighbor’s truck and asked about it, the neighbor said, “We just killed a deer.” He was one of the murderers.


White southerners, we must speak up now — Black lives matter. Our souls are at stake, as is American society. Too many of us observe the parade of Black deaths and close our eyes to the scourge of white supremacy and say not a word. Neither do we do much of anything that matters or helps bring about change.
You and I can never know what it is like to be Black, but by God, we can do better than we have done for generations. Shame on us if we don’t.
As I cut and pasted this article, Van Morrison came up on my Pandora feed, singing “I’m carrying a torch for you”; such poignant timing. The lyrics are about a loved one, but they can easily be ascribed to an entire race. The torch is full freedom, justice, and dignity. Lady Liberty holds it aloft.Visits to the Statue of Liberty have soared under Trump's presidency
I’m carrying a torch for you
I’m carrying a torch
You know how much it costs
To keep carrying a torch
Flame of love it burns so bright
That is my desire
Keep on liftin’ me, liftin’ me up
Higher and higher
You’re the keeper of the flame
Girl, you burn so bright
Baby, why don’t we reconnect?
Move into the light
I’ve been going to and fro on this
And I’m still carrying a torch
You must know how much it’s worth
But I’m carrying a torch
Baby, you’re the keeper of the flame
And you burn so bright
Why, why, why, why, why, why
Why don’t we reconnect
And move on further into the light?
I’ve been calling you on the phone
‘Cause I’m carrying a torch
I can’t do it all on my own
‘Cause I’m carrying a torch
I’m carrying a torch for you, baby
I’m carrying a torch
You know how much it’s worth
When I’m carrying a torch
I’m carrying a torch for you, baby
I’m carrying a torch
You know how much it’s worth
When I’m carrying a torch

815. This is The End

marlon brando moving poster GIF by Maudit

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper. [ end of “The Hollow Men”, T.S.Eliot ]

Hell fire and brimstone follow thermonuclear explosions

In Hollywood versions of the End Timesapocalypse now napalm GIF

All metric rules so broken nothing rhymes

Folly wood ignites like dry bones kindling

Humanity’s sacredness dwindling

Eyes peeled for the mushroom cloud

Voices hushed in the wanton crowdNuclear Bomb Mushroom Cloud With Trumpet Formation GIF | Gfycat

Torrid expectations of unholy violence

Met with virulent complicit silence….Stillness Pictures [HQ] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

You see, Mankind ends from within the prism

Slain by its original sin, Racism.

The desiccated spirit surrenders

Its bright light for smoking cinders

Do not ask for whom the bell tollsTop 10 Songs That Feature A Tolling Bell - Casey Donahue - Medium

It tolls for thee, blind moles

Who choose to dig deep holes

In the prayer closets of your souls

Facts About Moles | Live Science

Why this vow? Why now?

When speaking would cure

The impure–

Who is your neighbor?

You don’t know his name.

How did he labor

Before his death came?How The Murder Of Emmett Till Ignited The Civil Rights Movement

[Emmet Till before and after Racism]

Father, father

We don’t need to escalate

You see, war is not the answer

For only love can conquer hate

You know we’ve got to find a way

To bring some lovin’ here today  [Marvin Gaye]

Rare Photos of Motown Legend Marvin Gaye | History Lovers Club

Legion, legion is my name

Naked and wild in the graves

Will no one come for me?

No one say my name?

Alone in my insanity

I rage and howl for Thee.Jesus meeting with a demoniac in the country of the Gadarenes ...

“Oh, take me with you, Lord”

“No, stay and show yourself restored

So that those moles who cannot see

Will realize that I am he

The calmer of the seas

Who commands the knees

of mankind to bow”,

Why this vow? Why now?Theater for God's Glory | Ken Puls Bible Studies

Don’t all lives matter?

But until Black Lives Matter,

The platitudes are so much pitter patter.

“Oh, sure, All lives matter”, says Representative Matt Gaetz,Ready to drive Matt Gaetz crazy? Join the 140 District Project

It’s such a subtle substitute for feeding racial hates.

Dilute the message of repentance

With your counterfeit sentence

Fog over the issue sideways

With pedantic semantic legal plays

Don’t call lynching what it is

Don’t scare the kids and the missus

Kick the raisin down the road

Until its only option is to explode.

Refuse the idea of systemic White privilege

And Supremacy, call it, sacrilege,

Legacy. When my child’s life matters

As much as yours, perhaps then

We won’t have to kick down the doors.When Americans Don't Riot, Politicians Feel Unrestrained - The ...

“Shame on you to fool me for four centuries

Fool me one last time, shame on me.”

“Let me just say, we cherish the ideal

That all men are created equal… cuz it’s easier

Than making it real.” Sincerely yours, Mike Pence.











814. the love song of burrito j. special

Photos: Late summer sunsets paint beautiful Pacific Northwest ...Sitting out at the end of my yard, at the end of the day, at the end of an era, watching the sky turn pink, orange, then purple, violet, and black incrementally by so many horizontal brush strokes…musing humbly at the inimitable work of the Artist. I recall that I painted my office waiting room with that technique– layers of horizontal colors approximating the desert landscape of browns and reds, orange and yellow, and a mustard green.  Maybe ten colors, ‘whatever it takes’, I thought. The next tenant painted it baby blue, the color of urinal cakes. Maybe that’s how God sees what we do with His masterpiece. So I enjoy the moment I have now in beauty and truth. I won’t  be coming back. I know folks who still take it personally when the next owner of their beloved home changes it after the sale because they failed to release it. In some corner of their mind they still lay claim to that place that was home. I’m quitting claim here tonight by the ashes of another fire, perhaps my last of thousands.Slums - The British Library

The opening lines of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock come to me from my freshman year of college, I think. T.S. Eliot.

“Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, like a patient etherized upon a table… [and the rest I must Google]

[ Evening etherized on the hospital gurney of the sky. Powerful Personification. I have to go for a stroll with him.]

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”Let us go and make our visit.
Luxury shopping in London | Dorchester Collection
The sun set an hour ago in golden orange glory, while I have tended the burning branches and twigs of a lesser story. I sit with my bourbon and a garden hose, waiting for my fire to explode… or not, as the hours pass I am not such a good witness to all this business.
The purple marten sky brings a chill. An owl swoops by, a silent quill inking the charcoal sky. And I, I am waiting in a moment of latitude with God Himself, plunged deep in a pool of gratitude. My own to begin with, and then the residue of the day, the openings and growth of loved persons on their way… to healing and transformation, acceptance and illumination, epiphany, exultation. Big words that come late in life, like the quiet peace between me and my wife. We are well past the noon of our vigor, paddling on toward vespers.Canoeing Along the Restored Bronx River - Curbed NY
And I just want to go on in poetic phrases, while I talk with my buddy Clark on the cell  phone about end of life phases. We agree: I want to check out before I become someone else’s misery. “Ten years for me; fifteen for you, Quazi. That’s just what it is. No need for extraordinazi. I’ll check out on my own terms, I hope. When my joints won’t work and I just can’t cope. I’ve had a good run, why ruin it by filling your diapers with geriatric shit?”Your Beard Is Saying a Lot More Than You Think
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
[Forgive me Thomas Stearns, for removing the cat images of fog. What unmitigated nerve I possess.]
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
[Once again, T.S., I have abused my privileges.]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?
[Love the coffee spoons image, beautifully petty.]
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
 And so J. Alfred Prufrock took stock of his very pedestrian life of almosts and nearlys. Reverential. Overthinking the might have beens so severely until the clock ran out on life’s potential. Self abasing, erasing the meaning of it all…
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
No Hamlet, nope. No leading role, no hope. He descends from attendant to easy tool, to ridiculous fool. And I……have never aspired to be that guy. I’ve erred on the other side of risk. Jumping too fast, speaking too quick. I did not live in the ethereal world of high brows and high towers of ivory. My hours and words were not delicate so much as blunt and full of frivolity.
Campfire & River Night Ambience 10 Hours | Nature White Noise for ...
The fire consumes the wooden fuel, producing smoke and heat… and then absence. I’m just hoping to reduce and complete the shedding of old skin, like a snake sloughs off its milky dermis of the past. I want to blast forward shiny and supple again for the first time. The paradox makes me pause and float in a foggy dissonance, smoke streams across the sprouting corn fields beyond the fire’s light. How can you be transformed again for the first time? Like this sacred incense smoke, my compline drifts heavenward, full of gratitude and love, to the Giver of all these gifts. Sublime.
Incense Smoke Could Be More Dangerous Than Cigarettes!

813. The Viewing

256 Hickory Drive - Photo 1So our house of the past 35 years is officially for sale now, and prospective buyers are viewing it by appointment, during the COVID pandemic, with masks, hand sanitizer, operating room booties and other precautions in place. My wife has strung Caution tape to limit access to our kitchen, bedroom and living room. It looks like a very clean and shiny crime scene. Awkward too, since I keep walking unconsciously into the newly erected barriers.  Fortunately it’s not fly paper so I don’t stick. That would be really awkward. I am also wickedly tempted to draw a chalk outline of myself on the hardwood floor… turning the viewing into an escape room for the ages.Crime scene tape surrounding house.

The irony of the word viewing is not lost on me. It’s the last time one sees a deceased loved one at the funeral home. At some level I feel like our house is laid out for final inspection, only the mourners are shoppers hoping to find a beautiful bargain. Thank God we don’t have to stand outside and shake hands while whispering brief anecdotes back and forth. “He loved you so much.” “He’s in a better place now.” “The suffering is over.” “You look amazing! What are you doing later?” We’ve been working like mad morticians to de-clutter the house during the pandemic, fixing things that should have been attended to years ago. A bit of grout here, a dab of paint there, power washing, pruning, weed whacking, et cetera. The corpse never looked so good.51% of California funeral homes hide prices or make them hard to ...

Similar to the thorough cleaning a family undertakes after grandpa dies, lots of old stuff is hauled off to thrift stores, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity. That’s just the visible stuff. As the rooms get emptied, I recall the tasks we undertook over the years– finishing off our basement in 1986; finishing the addition in 1994; installing tile floors; laying out wooden ones; swapping out the original doors and trim; painting and repairing drywall dings. Outside are the decks and the fish pond that came with the addition. Paving the driveway. Planting trees and cutting others down. Building the kids’ playhouse, and then tearing it down when they were no longer little. A swing set and a grape arbor, abandoned and deleted… but not forgotten. Asparagus still sprouts up in the grass where our garden used to be, a macabre reminder of simpler times, like a green finger digging free from an old grave.Backyard Playhouse | Woodworking Project | Woodsmith Plans

It’s been a good run here since the spring of 1985 when we looked at an empty lot with just a few scrub trees on it. We seriously wondered how we were going to make the $550 per month mortgage payment. That’s a quaint idea now, but at the time mortgage interest rates were running 13%. Yeah, those glorious Reagan years. What we could not know then was that we would refinance several times for lower and lower interest rates and finally pay it off. In the process we would add value to each room and square foot in the yard. Sweat equity combined with love and a vision toward our back yard, and beyond…across the hundreds of farmland acres. Green Grass Field Near Houses We’ve begun the retirement tour like Elton John or Barry Manilow, saying goodbye to folks we’ve known and loved. The new adventure awaits, but there is this scratchy detachment like velcro being pulled apart as we say what are likely to be our final good byes. It’s not morbid or sad, bittersweet is closest to correct. The old song by Seals and Croft comes to me… “We may never pass this way again…” And it’s true. On closer magnification, though, we never pass this way again. This is just a hyper-focused moment, filled with potential for better or worse. I’ve posted before that life is a one way street devoid of U turns. You get what you get, and play the cards you’re dealt. No whining allowed. Poker Game (Historical Photos of Old America)

Today an offer came for full price if we pay the mortician’s closing costs. Well, as long as our walk away price point is met, then we’re ready to sign. Just don’t nickel and dime me for this doorknob or that light bulb. The viewing is not the time to remove moles or get dental implants. On the one hand it’s not a yard sale where you get a two hundred dollar vacuum cleaner for three dollars. On the other it’s not a bait and switch con game where strategically placed carpets cover cracks in the slab. It simply is what it is, no more and no less.

Colorado bans real estate showings amid stay-at-home order ...

Sure, it’s a sentimental transition if the buyer is not just investing or looking to flip the property. Something we cherish clicks with the other side. “Look! There’s a pond! I love it.” “Mature trees and lots of perennial flowers all around. Nice.” “The view goes on and on.” “The shed is perfect. Matches the siding color on the house.” We busy ourselves in the back yard or garage, still packing away as if we were sailing to a new world. “Are you going to actually use 22 screwdrivers in Arizona?” “You should have thrown those curtain rods away at last year’s bulky pick up day.” “Really? 3/4’s of a garden hose with no nozzle end? That’s gonna be great in a desert climate.” “No, absolutely no to the hoe.”Wrap article in bubble-wrap

I can imagine in another year or two doing this same choreography as we pack up to move again, before that final packing that someone else does for you. When it truly is a viewing this time, and you are the object of attention, i.e., the corpse. Hopefully we will have squeezed all the juice out of our lives and gulped it down. Till then I’ll just rest in Robert Frost’s classic lines…

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.Niko "jackass style" rents a U-Haul truck and uses that $2 ...


812. Bourbon and Blueberries

The Blue Bullet Cocktail Recipe - ChowhoundOkay, so the title says it all. I invented a drink last year that features straight bourbon and frozen blueberries in lieu of ice. Ideally it would include a sliver of lime for balance. In fact, I’m going to the fridge to cut a slice. Ahhh, nice. Better if you start with lime juice before you start the drink. Nevertheless, it’s all good, I think, and makes a nice cocktail name as well. Maybe someone else beat me to this creation.  Bob Dylan wrote a song by that title, and I must post it.File:Bob Dylan - Azkena Rock Festival 2010 1.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Talk about me babe, if you must
Throw out the dirt, pile on the dust
I’d do the same thing if I could
You know what they say?
They say it’s all good
All good
It’s all good
Big politician telling lies
Restaurant kitchen all full of flies
Don’t make a bit of difference, don’t see why it should
But it’s all right, ’cause it’s all good
It’s all good
It’s all good
Wives are leavin’ their husbands, they’re beginning to roam
They leave the party and they never get home
I wouldn’t change it even if I could
You know what they say, man, it’s all good
It’s all good
All good
Brick by brick, they tear you down
A teacup of water is enough to drown
You oughta know, if they could, they would
Whatever’s goin’ down, it’s all good
All good
Said it’s all good
People in the country, People on the land
Some of them so sick they can hardly stand
Everybody would move away if they could
It’s hard to believe but it’s all good
Well, widows cry the orphan’s plea
Everywhere you look there’s more misery
Come along with me babe, I wish you would
You know what I’m sayin’, it’s all good
All good
I said it’s all good
All good
Cold-blooded killer, stomp into town
Cop car’s blinkin’, something bad goin’ down
Buildings are crumblin, in the neighborhood
But there’s nothing to worry about, ’cause it’s all good
It’s all good
I say it’s all good
I’m gonna pluck off your beard and blow it in your face
This time tomorrow I’ll be rollin’ in your place
I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could
You know what they say?
They say it’s all good
It’s all goodKropotkindersurprise
Yeah, it’s all good. In a bizarro world that’s come unglued, it’s all good. Trust me, dude.
What pandemic? It’s a hoax. Just ask your favorite Fox News host.
Unemployment rates just went through the roof. No problem, no proof, fake news, it’s all good. Poof!
Stock market re-calibrates, it’s all good.
See, Wall Street isn’t tied to your neighborhood.
Racial upheaval, rubber bullets, tear gas,
no problem, homeys, it’s all good with my ass.
Welcome to prison, bend over and realize
that the photographic negative space here
is just your size. Drink it down.238 Chicago's Cook County Jail Inmates Infected With COVID-19 ...
They’re not ghosts, they’re just lies. It’s all good.
When paranoia breaks through the rational roof of calm,
then you know your sanity will soon be gone, and it’s all good.
It’s all good. Yeah, it’s all good.
If you repeat the same lie enough times,
then you get to the place where the lies rhyme, then it’s all good.
Yeah, it’s all good. When a black man it shot for jogging in his neighborhood,
no surprise, it’s all good. Citizens arrest alibis, it’s all good. Drink it down.Attorney of man who recorded Ahmaud Arbery shooting cancels statement
When another man sells cigarettes by the piece,
and gets choked out by six freakin’ police, yeah, it’s all good.
Just turn the volume down and “I can’t breathe”
Becomes an old dog with no teeth wheezing in the breeze.
He can’t hurt you once he’s dead.
It’s all good, but smokin’ will kill you, someone said. Drink it down.Feds finally announce no civil rights charges against NYPD officer ...
Another black man tried to comply,
shot in the face, nice try.
Philando Castile was murdered by fear
Didn’t matter, that’s pretty clear
It’s all good, Bartender, another round
Ignore the gagging sound, it’s all good. Drink it down.Philando Castile death – Shocking pics show blood-spattered car ...
Beatings and imprisonment from traffic stops,
“You didn’t use your turn signal”, say the cops.
“But this is a civil citation at worst; why are you doing this?”
“Because I can slap my cuffs on your wrists.”
And round and round and round go the relentless hounds
But it’s all good. Drink it down.More than racist Facebook posts, police vehicle stops are driving distrust | Editorial
Chains and shackles, shackles and chains.
The rope-thick scars of slavery remain.
When the Constitution almost caught up to the past,
Jim Crow took over and wrote a new draft fast.
Economic slavery in sharecroppin’ clothes
Kept the old white power structure and the old black woes.
Lynchings too, massive white crowds came
And gawked at their own evil racist shame.
‘Nother round, drink it down, it’s all good.
States rights ran roughshod over one nation under God.
Separate but equal, what a lie from a lying mouth.
Miscegenation outlawed in the south.
How long did that law spell hate?
Supreme Court ruled it gone in 1968.
But it’s still all good if you just drink it down.
Colored in the back where you best know your place.
Justice was nothing but an empty parking space.
Emmet Till, fourteen years old,
Murdered for whistling at a white woman, we’re told.
Confederate soldiers elevated in bronze,
once again intimidate modern black pawns.
Oh, it’s heritage not hate, the liars say.
Where in the world are rebel losers honored this way?
How can they be patriots who attacked their own government,
yet demonstrators today are slammed to the pavement?
But it’s almost good, drink it down.RICHMOND, VA - JUNE 04: A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is pictured on June 4, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced plans to take down the statue.
Privilege is never given up bloodlessly.
It’s baked in to the ideology.
“We are better” is the core belief.
Evidence is better when it’s brief.
It’s science, man, true stuff.
Eugenics is good enough.
Logic too supports this view–
start with the conclusion and pick only facts that make it true.
So many tricks and schemes
To control Blacks and kill their dreams
Voter suppression served with just enough aggression
Keeps the numbers down
Electing white men and not brown.
Bartender, another round. It’s all good, gentlemen.
Just hold your noses and Drink it down.

811. Racism: Poison Ivy

Is this Poison Ivy, Clematis, or something else?

It spirals around the wire rectangles of my welded wire backyard fence. Tight serpentine cords overgrow the verticals and overpower dead metal with pale green strength, absinthe. I cut the roots and unwind woody curls from the bottom of the fence with my thumb and index finger, pushing and pulling backwards, unraveling against their rigid coils. Some vines are old and dead. They shed easily like snake skin. The new growth is still supple but wildly spreading in all directions. The middle stretch is the wrestling match. All the while I am thinking of the transfer of poison ivy oil on my bare skin. I’ll need to soap up later with cool water to slip the invasive oil, the bubbling up under the skin’s surface, and the relentless itching that leads to fluid oozings.Boulder health center: Best bet is to learn what poison ivy looks ...

Honey suckle vines are just as bad to prune out but not so toxic. They look and smell sweet. Their leaves contain no poisoned oil. There is some value in honeysuckle vines, I suppose. I recall one of my daughters asking me decades ago, “Dad, why did God make poison ivy?” Great question. I really did not know, but I told her I’d get an answer. That week I spoke to a science teacher colleague. He solved the mystery for me. “Some birds rely on the berries as part of their diet. So after the seeds pass through the birds, they poop them out. This is why you find poison ivy vines under fence posts and telephone poles. Poison ivy is also one of the first recovery plants after a fire. By creeping along the ground, they help prevent the soil from running off in a heavy rain.”Poison ivy - prevention and elimination is discussed by The Handyguys

I didn’t want to think good thoughts of poison ivy, but I did feel this explanation let God off the hook.

As I trimmed and weeded and pruned my back fence line, I pondered racism in our country. Naturally I connected the abstract idea to the concrete image at hand. Why, I thought to myself, racism is just like poison ivy vines. Once it gets a hold of a people or a nation, it spirals and gains artificial integrity from the structure it clings to. If the fence is a society or nation, then the ivy is racism climbing up inch by inch; using the rigid structure of the host fence or society for its support. Dealing with racism, then, is like dealing with poison ivy vines: cut it out at the roots and unravel. It's poison ivy season: What you need to know

Systemic racism, however, requires more than merely cutting off the shoots of opportunistic vines. If you cut out one vine or one racist, you have made a small difference that won’t matter much in a week. However, if you poison the poison ivy with a systemic herbicide, well then you get the whole plant. Likewise, in our institutions we need to poison and rid ourselves of systemic racism within our institutions like the police, education, religion, government, the military, housing, and more. The process begins by examining and admitting our own racism. It’s much harder to see our own complicity by silence and avoidance. “Hey, I’m no racist. I just don’t want to get involved…Now that dude over there, he’s a total racist.”Racists gather at Charlottesville, Virginia, in protest.

Racism in America has been evident from the beginning European explorers, who sought gold and land for themselves at the expense of native people. Rather than viewing native people as fellow humans, European settlers saw them as uncivilized, ungodly, unworthy, and inconvenient. Over time, like thirty seconds, these unholy attitudes converted into hostile and violent actions. Rather than learning from native people, conquerors imposed their military solutions upon them. Cortes, comes to mind. He was a desperate outlaw seeking to please his King back in Spain. By slaughtering thousands of indigenous people, he became a conquistador, to be studied if not venerated in American history. His “achievements” are known better than the atrocities, just like Columbus.Landing of Columbus | Architect of the Capitol

Many people are surprised to learn that Christopher Columbus and his men enslaved native inhabitants of the West Indies, forced them to convert to Christianity, and subdued them with violence in an effort to seek riches. 

From his very first contact with native people, Columbus had their domination in mind. For example, on October 14, 1492, Columbus wrote in his journal, “with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”  These were not mere words: after his second voyage, Columbus sent back a consignment of natives to be sold as slaves. [Understanding Prejudice]University of Houston Digital Library: Theodor de Bry's America ...

The terms racism and systemic racism hadn’t been coined yet, though they were in full practice in the 15th century. Racism goes back to the dawn of mankind as tribes attacked one another for fast riches and propagation. Savages attack others after labeling the others savages. The better armed killers self proclaim their civilization is better than the conquered nations under their thumb and murder any dissenters. Why their self evident proof is that they conquered the savages and have some iteration of God on their side. By this same reasoning the Mafia is a better society than the ones they terrorize.  North Korea is a better society than the messy free South Korea with all that sickeningly sweet democracy. Virulent Iran in all its theocratic strictures is better than say Morocco, where a variety of folks coexist peacefully. In these examples the poison ivy has become completely knotted on the original loom of their societies. It’s a heavy handed blanket that denies transparency and blocks out all competing life. Over centuries, however, the under structure breaks, rusts, collapses. The once all powerful parasitic vines sag in an exposed vulnerability. They have to creep on to another structure or crawl on the ground horizontally.

So it seems that in our country racism rises and falls but is never eradicated. When nationalism and fascism rise, racism rises with them. It is truly nauseating when our government claims to support democracy around the world, encouraging democratic movements to take over the leadership in Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, China, Libya, etc. Meanwhile we practice the poisoning of democracy with the original sin of racism. We sing patriotic songs, quote simplistic slogans, and demonize those who don’t as traitors. It’s a very tired old dance.

Why is Original Sin called the “Sin of Adam,” not the Sin of Adam ...

For those who subscribe to “[I love] My country right or wrong”, our country is wrong. Persisting to indulge a loved one in their wrong headedness, their sickness, their addiction, is indulging self destruction.

Destruction GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

810. Oh Ruby, Don’t Take Your Hate To Town

The 'worst ever' mother-in-law betrayal gets angry response from ...Ruby was the neighborhood nose poker gossip snitch whose children did no wrong. Her kids were much older and well indoctrinated before they moved in to our neighborhood. She lived two doors down from us, on the other side of the Coopers’ house. Her yard was immaculate. Roses bloomed profusely all around her fenced-in quarter acre homestead. Before she moved in, I believe the house had been vacant for a while. Her husband totally renovated it. Brick cased the entire house; added a long driveway and garage, and a screened porch out back that led to a grape arbor… though I don’t recall him ever being around. Hmmmm, yeah, makes sense now when you work for the Wicked Witch of the South, you try to make yourself invisible.

File:Anna Gertrude Hofner, abbess of Münsterlingen.jpg - Wikimedia ...

Ruby pontificated about any and everything. She was good at complaining. I recall that she chided her neighbors on the other side about the grass in their yard that had the audacity to grow through her chain link fence. After a confrontation with Mr. Page during which I believe he told her where to stick the grass that rhymed with grass, she extended her weeding duties to their side of the fence. Are you getting the picture yet? Heavy deep Southern accent. I don’t recall if she was from Kentucky or West Virginia. Wherever it was, she was as evil as a boll weevil. Boll weevil - Wikipedia

Ruby thought everyone was entitled to her opinion, especially the Coopers. She seemed to get along with them, perhaps because they shared Dixie roots back in Alabama or Oklahoma. She would call Mr. Cooper at work when we skipped school or work to smoke weed and listen to his supercharged stereo system until the windows shook to the songs of Yes, the Fragile Album. On more than one occasion he came charging through the front door from his government job as we slammed the bong down and ran out the back door. The irony in this is that his older son Michael was a drug dealer, but Michael could do no wrong in this universe and epoch until the federal marshals came looking for him one night.70s Costumes: Disco Costumes, Hippie Outfits

And by now you’re wondering what’s noteworthy about Ruby? Nothing good, my friends and others. I’m getting to the relevant point, but I had to do some character development first. Years passed and Ruby stayed as thorny as the branches on her prized roses. Folks continued to interact with her like you would with a feral cat. No one shot her, but more than a few times they considered it. Finally the day came when a for sale sign showed up on her perfect front yard grass. Happy dances erupted in neighbors’ eyes and amygdalas. “Oh, Ruby, we’re gonna miss you.” (Not really but I don’t want a fight right here on the curb in broad daylight.)Louis McFall grew up loving the Confederate flag, but he decided the Mississippi flag needed to change.

I don’t know how long her house sat on the market, long enough for folks to stop by and inquire about it in the days before MLS and the internet. Sometime that summer I believe the neighbors gathered in her back yard for a grill out and drinks to say good riddance, or bye bye. Maybe both. I think it was at that mixer when she told the gathered that a Black man had stopped to ask about her house’s sale price while she tended her roses. That was when she asserted her white privilege and supremacy. angry old woman - Tremark

“I told that nigger that I didn’t think so little of my neighbors that I would sell to a Colored man.”

Something like shock, gasps, giggles, gags, heaves, and laughter erupted. “Ruby, you didn’t”, a kinder neighbor offered up.

“I swear to God on a Bible those were my exact words.”

“Oh, Ruby!” seemed to be the consensus. The feral cat had eaten poisoned tuna and become fully barking mad. I’m sure that most but not all of the neighbors commented privately later that night about how outrageously racist she was. For God’s sake, this was the early 1970’s in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. I’m coining the word “outracist” today in her eternal dishonor.

“The relevance?, Burrito”, the multitude of ones cry out. As I mowed my neat front yard around the For Sale sign during the latest racial unrest that rages across the same country fifty years later, it hit me. The ugly scar face of bigotry was on full display that day and many others. The audience of all white people scuttled away and said, “Well, that’s how Ruby is” and not “My God, what should our response be?”Nearly half of white Americans say life was better in the 50s and ...

Without trying I began to sing Kenny Rogers’ old song about a handicapped Vietnam veteran crying out to his wife, Ruby, to please not go to town and cheat on him again. It fit in a weird way after shifting a few lyrics around. As I copied the lyrics, I was surprised that they were written by country artist Mel Tillis. Shocker.Samuel Little: Confessions of a Killer — FBI

You’ve painted your shutters and rolled and primped your flowered lair
Ruby are you contemplating moving out somewhere?
The shadows on the wall tell me the sun is going down
Oh Ruby, don’t take your HATE to town
It wasn’t me that started this old crazy racist war
But I was forced to live within a grisly ghetto poor
And yes, it’s true that I’m not a man of white supremacy
But Ruby, I still need some house to shelter me.
It’s hard to love a man whose skin is black, this I have surmised 
And the haunts and deeds of a woman your age really I realize
But it won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until it’s legal bound
Oh Ruby, don’t take your HATE to town
She’s leaving now cause I just heard the slamming of the door
The way others slammed in my face one hundred times before
And if I could move, I’d get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh Ruby, don’t take your HATE to town
Oh Ruby, for God’s sake, turn around
# of Black lynchings from 1877-1950

809. Everything to Gain

Do you know which beach flags mean dangerous swimming conditions ...Like the color red, it’s easier to see the negative signs in life– danger and stop signs, flares and red flags. We are wired with primal instincts to recognize code red danger in order to increase our odds of survival. Because of this evolutionary predisposition, it takes longer and requires more focus to see the positive. Though positives surround us, negative lenses can cancel them out. I want to seek only positives in this post despite the chaos outside in the economy, the pandemic, the racial injustice protests, and the values vacuum in America’s soul. I am not ignoring these issues; that would be irresponsible. But it’s just as irresponsible to focus exclusively on the darkness. For this day the focus is just on the good, true, and beautiful.Birth of a Planet - Showcase Mosaics - Sandra and Carl Bryant

Lilac colored snow cones erupted on our rhododendron bushes a while ago. They are dropping petals now that the wedding of patience and warmth is over. Glorious beauty can not last forever, though. Then it would devolve into the familiar; and contempt follows familiarity that has lost its vibrant novelty. By the back door enormous velvety red poppies stand up straight, waist high, like Swiss guards in the mini-Vatican of Oz. File:Deep Red Poppy - geograph.org.uk - 858264.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Eilen Jewell is singing on my Pandora feed. Though her sibilant syllables and tones are dark, like poppies can be turned into opium, hers is a dark beauty standing tall, calling plaintively… “I’m gonna write you a letter on a dusty boxcar wall….”Train GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Two days with back to back crisp spring air minus the cow manure scent that creeps up with the humidity on lesser days. Skies that look like acrylic paintings of cornflower blue overlaid with purest puffs of spun silk clouds of milk. The air seems cleaner and clearer than any time I can remember since my childhood, when I’d lie down under damp sheets my mother had hung on clothes lines during sunny summer mornings in Virginia. The overlapping images pull memories out of the fertile ground of my personal history.  Little green stalks, six decades old, pop up in my still mind.Yearn for return of clotheslines around Colorado Springs? It's ...

There were few fences to divide the back yards on Dorset Drive back in the 1960’s. We cut through neighbors’ yards with no fear of trespassing charges. We knew only the cranks who loved control and hated kids would complain. Safe yards held other kids in them. Oddly enough, as time went on and improvements were made all over the community, fences started being erected. No problem: we learned how to hop them with a high leap or a forward belly flop. Boom! Without breaking stride we’d be on the other side. This skill came in handy years later on dark nights when we were running from bad consequences that might have included errant fire crackers or eggs or snowballs thrown.Offset House: Framing Australian Suburbia - The Fifth Estate

Before the fences we played ballgames in the contiguous back yards. Our neighbor Tommy Storm used to hit golf balls down the fairway of adjoining fenceless back yards. We younger kids would race to retrieve the golf balls for his approval and something to do. We’d hunch down and try to follow the line of the hard white balls. One time I didn’t have to try and track a shot; it tracked me, hitting me in my right eyebrow, splitting it bloody wide open. Six stitches were needed to close my swollen eyebrow back up in the Old Alexandria Hospital, not far from the old Confederate soldier who faced south for over a hundred years. He was just uprooted the other day. Yeah! Progress at a snail’s pace, but one less pin prick for minority citizens. “My tax dollars are going to protect that fool? Uh uhhh.”Image

The little pond off our deck is pristine again. Birds swoop in for a dip– cardinals, robins, purple martens, grackles, migrating gold finches, mockingbirds, blackbirds, sparrows, and red headed something or others. In the dusk bats flit around spasmodically gobbling up flying insects. Soon the lightning bugs will return with heavily humid nights, while crickets chirp rhythmically and frogs croak their seductive ululations. Our home has never looked or felt better as we put our homestead up for sale. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…” whispers a young Joni Mitchell through the big trees we planted thirty years ago. Fireflies by minimoss on DeviantArt

We do not live for the past, however. “Life is a highway,” as my grand daughter sang and danced in a grocery store produce section a few years ago, “I want to ride it all night long.” I chuckle to imagine her struttin’ ala Cheryl Crowe in a central Pennsylvania chain store, while adults giggled at her passionate impersonation. Fifty years from now it will be her turn to look back from the edge of a placid lake in her soul, at all her treasures reflected there. I hope she recalls seeing Cheryl Crowe at Hershey Stadium on an autumn night, wearing glitter jeans just like Leah’s. Each rhinestone sparkle will smile across time and space to pump her heart beat in sync with “Life is a Highway”.Lake Matheson HD Wallpaper | Background Image | 2048x1294 | ID ...

Patience, peace, understanding, pearls of wisdom. Hope, joy, love. Exuberance, exultation, excitement. Melody, rhythm, harmony. Goodness, kindness, beauty. Compassion, contentment, comfort. Effervescence, permanence, resilience. Faith, loyalty, sacrifice. Purity, integrity, dignity. Journey, journey, journey… toward everything to gain.

NIGEL MULLINS | PLENTITUDE OF POWER | 2018 | Everard Read - Cape Town