My less pious greeting to you all at the end of this little Santa video.
You've got a smile so bright, you know you could've been a candle.Anyone who has heard of the Temptations knows those lines from their classic "The Way You Do the Things You Do." It is crisply sung, almost doo-wop. It never loses its poise or falls into cliche.
I'm holding you so tight, you know you could've been a handle.
"Lord Lightyear, Lord Spock, Lord Mork, Lord Jar Jar, and Lord Kal-El, I am honored. Citizens of the universe and of that vague place called heaven, I cannot in good faith accept this cherished prize so long as we are at war, and so long as the Peace Mother lives."He then whispered something in Neptunian to indicate his oneness with the universe, "No-Salami Yukkum", meaning: "Peace be upon plants and animals, who are our gods." It was also an acknowledgement to the universal commission for the ethical treatment of plant life. Up until the Obama Administration, the vegan and vegetarian community, teamed up insidiously with the evil omnivorians, terrorized the vegetable world, methodical ripping plant life from their native land and devouring them. Then, a quiet mineral eater spoke with a loud voice, "Remember the lichen," and protests ensued, almost destroying all life in the known interplanetary stellar regions. The President's nod continued as he celebrated his prize rejection by lifting up a glass of purified hydrogen-oxygen drink and breaking nutrient bread, a tasty nitrogen bar dipped in a carbonic sauce.
You can find the song below on the album, 'The Beatles 1', which is a collection of their number one hits.
Dear 'To Sir, With Love' or 'Madame Bovary', will you read my 'Book'?
It took me 'Baby Years' to 'Write On', will you take a 'New Look'?
Based on a 'Barbie Romance Novel Giftset' by a man named 'Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile'
And I need a 'Monster.com', so I want to be a 'Ingram Paperback Advance' writer -- Paperback writer
It’s the 'A Handful of Dirt' story of a 'Benny Hill, King Leer'
And his 'Saran Classic, Plastic Wrap' 'The Bishop's Wife' 'You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation'
His 'Son-In-Law' is working for the 'Daily Mail',
It’s a 'Slow and Steady Get Me Ready' 'The CareerBuilder Network' but he wants to be a 'Paperback Writer' -- Paperback writer
It’s a 'The Ultimate Brownie Book : Thousands of Ways to Make America's Favorite Treat, including Blondies, Frostings, and Doctored Brownie Mixes' 'The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile', 'Horace's Compromise' a few,
I’ll be 'On Writing' more in a 'Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength'
I can make it longer if you like the 'The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition',
I can 'Leading Change' it 'The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things' and I want to be a paperback writer -- Paperback writer
If you really like it you can have the 'Gideon's Trumpet',
It could make 'The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest' for you 'Overnight'.
If you must 'Return to the River: The Classic Story of the Chinook Run and of the Men Who Fish It' it, you can send it here
But 'Gimme a Break, Rattlesnake!: Schoolyard Chants and Other Nonsense' and I want to be a paperback writer -- Paperback writer
Why I Do Not Want a Government Run Health Care Insurance System?
I do not trust the government to handle this. Already, schemers are looking for potential loopholes.
I do not think President Obama has a true pulse on what America wants. Lots of Americans want this. Many do not. Obama has demonstrated he cannot build bridges in this issue, but instead, has created a polarized discussion.
Meanwhile, we have a war in Iraq still unresolved. It is not in the news, but soldiers are fighting hard. Now, any who die are on Obama's watch. He is not able to fight two fronts, and he has chosen health care as his issue.
What about our messed up corporate insurance? Corporate is the new profanity, so please forgive my intrusion into the delicate ears of naive readers. One massive issue with the current situation is size. Under a government run plan, any plan, things will get bigger. Essentially, we get the same thing, same problems. Corporation by election.
Remember (no, I suppose you don't, since neither do I) when neighbors helped each other? Real help. Gave the neighbor $1,000 to pay for car trouble. How about you? Helping out?
What if all the money we are about to be taxed was saved up in a special savings account. Only you can access it, just like any account. This money is your "help my neighbor fund." See a neighbor in trouble? Dip into the fund. Don't have enough? Talk to another neighbor, get him involved.
If enough neighbors did this willfully, we might just not need Obama to tag my pocketbook.
Churches have deacons funds. They might call itself something else, but most churches have these. It helps people with emergency needs. This is above and beyond what churches already give to local homeless shelters, battered women's shelter, pregnancy help centers, food pantries, and other outreach efforts. Sometimes that money goes to help health emergencies.
Too many of the books I am reading are the easy, unsubstantive ones. Give me skill, style and meaning. Challenge me with authors long dead.Suggestions flew in. Maybe you have ones to add to this. I should qualify this a little, as Twitter's 140 characters gave way quickly. Not every book I read is intellectually easy. I have recently read critical looks at poets, some poetry collections, and some nature guides. This isn't the same, though, as you'll see below, George Eliot's Middlemarch. I somehow dodged reading it in college, as I was, frankly, intimidated by it immensity.
Few books have given me more pleasure than these three. Boyhood is wrapped up in them, especially "Spiders" and "Butterflies and Moths" The prairie and creek near where I grew up, as well as a small farm, and the woods just two miles to the southeast, left me with plenty of opportunity catch butterflies, watch daddy long legs, and wonder if the walking stick would really walk.
Not exhaustive, but these guides each covered what I was likely to see. At eight years old, this offered me more than enough information.
The pages are crisp with age. It has been 25 or more years since they have seen the light of day, but when treasure hunting in my old bedroom, they shot out at me into my hands. I can't stop smiling when I see them, thinking of all the evenings in my bedroom reading, and the days playing, hoping to apply this vast knowledge of insects and spiders.
The prairie and farm I used to frequent have been subdivided. You might still see my initials carved in the concrete curb at 125th Street if it hasn't worn away where the old Pruim Farm connected just east of Moody Avenue, where my neighborhood began.
The woods are still there, but many of the insects and fauna are gone. The grand burnt orange monarchs are less common, just as the milkweed their larva feed on has all but disappeared. Cabbage moths are hard to find because no one is growing cabbage; backyard gardening has been replaced by trips to hip grocery stores. A good looking orb spider's web can be found here and there (mostly araneus'), but the cool looking black and yellow argiopes are nowhere to be found. There are too many brooms sweeping away at their exquisite homes.
Now, I'm wondering what I can find in my backyard here.
(see my review of a similar book on reptiles)
Insects: Revised and Updated (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)
Spiders and Their Kin (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)
Butterflies and Moths (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)
Friendship in Era of (In)Tolerance
In an earlier post, I lamented how one person I know could not tolerate a friend's view that mixed marriages were wrong. So, I got to thinking. What about my friends? What are my own intolerances? Somehow, that point was lost in the reading by the person who inspired me to greater thought. Stirred up a hornet's nest and found that my tolerance of another's intolerance was intolerable, and, let's just say I won't be getting a Christmas card this year.
For some, intolerance is a disguise, an excuse to avoid intimacy. Scary stuff, that. Men are known for superficial friendships, talking baseball and politics, but never going deeper. Men aren't the only ones. We are afraid of relationships with people different than us -- just as much as we are afraid of relationships with people exactly like us. I am.
I have a good friend with whom I can argue, and know that we are still friends. He is much more conservative than I am, and will quickly point out how he sees this world. We both agree it is broken, but aren't in accord with the solution. I trust him as my friend, and with confidence know I can express my views. He will remain my friend before and after the conversation. He never makes it, nor takes it, personal. I consider it an honor to know him.
Why I Am Doing This
My general thesis is that my friends...
I want to encourage people just by merely getting together. Some have said this world is less friendly, and I think this is true. I don't know why. I'm not a sociologist. I do see, at least in my little world, people hiding away. A few on my Facebook list have confided they are lonely, and play online games all day. Why not call someone and meet in person? I do that.
I am online more than many, and one of those online places over the years has been a forum for book reviewers for Amazon.com. I have met many here as they traveled through, and when a large group us rented a room in the famous Algonquin Hotel in New York City. I cannot begin to tell you the joy I felt meeting my friends in person. Our common interests were a glue that drew us together, even though our lives often couldn't be more different.
I believe we live isolated lives that do not need to be, slowly deteriorating our sense of what defines relationship.
Our lives become theories, not realities. Our reality is some postmodern thing. We blame society, or lifestyle, but some of my most isolated friends are not overworked. They are under-relational. It is a funny thing too, as I ask around. The answer to these kinds of concerns is, "We are insulated. We never go visit people," followed by the admittance that they themselves never take initiative.
One friend recently met a group of fellow online players. They met at a central location in St. Louis and had a fabulous time. This is what should happen.
When I taught in a jail in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I noticed a peculiar thing: Late at night, at, say, 2:00 am, we all see the same thing: A ceiling dim, fuzzy in the half light of night and the need to sleep. At 2:00 am, the worst of humankind, the most noble, the beautiful and the ugly all encounter themselves for what they are. Be it lonely, content, joyful or beleaguered all look deep inside.
At 2:00 am, all men are equal.
I am not immune to any of this. I have had a rough few months. There's no need to labor into a pity party because all is well, but, content or not, I have suffered a few bruises directly, or watching others deal with some hard things around me.
On the whole though, I am hopeful. I don't see this life as darkly as a few others I know. You know the sort. They can find an excuse to pinch themselves just so that anything good can be seen in a more cynical light.
Meanwhile, my world is tremendously diverse. I don't know how this happened, but I look back at the adventures in my life, and it is a series of intertwining colorful junctures into some exciting lives and stories. It still is. You wouldn't know this to see me, or to look at any single glimpse, but the rich cavalcade of it all amuses me, a guy living with his wife in a small suburban apartment. No kids. No dog. I want to share the mundane and the exciting.
What Will It Come To?
Will I be sitting alone, reading a book, watching the door, wishing someone, anyone would answer my invitation? Or will it be an amazing evening of connecting? Look back here next week for my update.
Have you ever met your online friends? How did it go?
When I think of today's music, I know it isn't all bad. Taking Back Sunday is listenable. But, when it all comes down to it:
Each link is a YouTube video. Click around and have fun. What's your music path?
Acquainted with the NightCalumet-Saganashkee Channel for those who care.). It could have been creepy if a moor was involved, but for me, there was just a tincture of peace matched by an equal amount of sadness. Childhood ends, and I knew it would.
by: Robert Frost
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
From "New Hampshire", 1923