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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Distracting Myself for a Better Attitude

I had to work today - an extra overtime, Saturday shift.  It wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend, especially as it came after a long and exhausting week. But I suppose the overtime pay sorta' makes up for it. I suppose..

Anyway, as I was working - driving the forklift, emptying dumpsters, loading the factory assembly area with parts, and what not, I found myself absentmindedly going over a series of workplace grievances and irritations, nursing them, rehearsing them. And I was starting to get a little cranky.

Until my conscious, thinking self interrupted. "Stop," I said to myself. "Think about something else." This was the first thing that came to mind. It successfully distracted me for long enough to get a better attitude.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shall We Gather at the River?

Shall we gather at the river? John the Baptizer is there, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Shall we gather at the river, the beautiful, beautiful river? Where crystal tides are forever flowing, where bright angels tread, along with the saints and all the population of Judea and Jerusalem?

Shall we gather at the river? And wear camel-hair and leather? Shall we confess our sins in the face of axes and fire? Shall we actually give away our possessions, and work for honest wages? Shall we give up the power of position? Shall we gather at the river, in the wilderness – underneath a sky that threatens to rip open at any moment and pour down on us the floodgates of heaven?

The river is beautiful, beautiful – but those banks are stormy.  Too idealistic. Not realistic. It’s dangerous out there, and that John is a radical. Shall we gather at the river? No. Perhaps not.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Drinking Absinthe of Malice

“Say, J., what is this we’re drinking?”

“Something Malice.”


“It’s imported.  Swiss. Or Persian… Greek. Or Egyptian.  I dunno...”

“But what is it?”

“Absinthe of Malice.”

“Seems about right, given the times as they are…”

Reports from the Off-White House of Homeland Insecurities. An impractical and unnecessary autopsy – performed three months or twenty years early. Petty officials with nothing but the ridiculous virtue of indignity. John Locke was right: Wormwood and sugarplums are not the same thing.

The hallucinogenic properties of la fée verte, absinthe, are largely and greatly exaggerated, but I did not hallucinate the events that occurred this afternoon.

The public library, downtown a block north of the courthouse, a block west of the Congregational Church, was guarded by a dragoon of black armored militarized police, each wearing an obscuring balaclava and carrying a semi-automatic riot cannon. The blue-red-blue-red flashing lights of their armored cars reflected in the glass doors of the People’s athenaeum as I approached carrying an armload of books.

“Your ID,” demanded one of the police officers as I stepped to the door.

“Excuse me?”

“Your ID,” he demanded again. His eyes narrowed beneath his face mask.

“Since when do we have to present ID to use the public library?” I asked. And before he could answer, I asked another: “How do I know you’re a law enforcement officer, anyway? With those masks you guys could be any number of lunatics with guns and a uniform fetish…”

One of the masked guards spoke into his shoulder mounted radio. “Commander Hoover. We’ve got another one here at the door.”

Commander Hoover, wasn’t long in responding to the call. “Let’s see those books you’re carrying.” He snatched them from me. “Karl Marx: Prophet of Revolution. Trotsky in New York 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution. The War Resisters League Organizer’s Manual.” He snorted. “Looks like we’ve got a leftist traitor. Or a spy.”

He shoved the books back into my hands. “First among the disloyal are always the Socialist,” Commander Hoover said. Then, “Sergeant Jones, send this terrorist on his way.”

Officer Jones sprung upon me; belting me in the face, dumping my books, and kicking me. “Go home.” He shouted. “You are the enemy.  Go home! Devil worshipper! Filth! Backstabbing your own country. Go home, scum!”

Jones struck me vigorously and repeatedly. His curses devolved into snorting and grunting noises which I drowned out by singing the Internationale.

Pour me another glass of that Absinthe of Malice, if you please. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Good News from My Publisher

Maybe you’d forgotten. Or perhaps you’d begun to think that I might have been fibbing when, way back in July of last year I announced that the good folks at Wipf and Stock had agreed to publish my collection of Biblical Limericks.

Well, I didn’t forget. And I wasn’t fibbing. Not even a little. Though it has taken a few months, I am pleased to say that I received an email informing me that my book is with the typesetter, and that I should have a pdf copy sometime next week to review. Once any corrections have been made (and, honestly, how many could there be…?) the work will be forwarded to Production. Then, providing that the cover is also completed, the book will be ready to print.    

So, please (please, please, please) be ready to order seven or eight copies of There Once Was a Prophet from Judah… Biblical Limericks for Fun and Prophet in the very near future. And encourage your friends, and family, and neighbors, and your enemies even, to order a copy.  Thanks.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I Took Myself to the Bodyshop

Since yesterday was the beginning of a new year, a time for taking stock and making repairs, and since it had been some time since I had made a deep and probing examination of myself, I took myself to the bodyshop and asked the technicians to give me a full inspection.

After about an hour the lead mechanic came back to me and said that it looks like I am going to need: 

- a new ancient serpent belt,
-a flitter filter
-a tensioner
-a biting fly-wheel
-2 new shock distributors
-a new manifesto manifold
-a new grudge pin
-a new alienator

“All told,” he said, “it’s going to cost you about $3,500 for the job.  But I can’t do the work here…”


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