Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How To Dance In The Rain....PS


It was a busy morning, about 8:30 and an elderly man arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.
On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'
I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, That is the kind of love I want in my life. True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but about how to dance in the rain.'

Some time ago, my sister's friend sent me this story in an email. I really didn't have to read it because I see a love and dedication greater than this lived out every day. As I write, my soon to be 85 year old Dad is at my soon to be 85 year old Mom’s bedside, in the memory care unit of her assisted living center. Mom is here not because it is easier on Dad but because he was finally convinced that they could take better care of her than he could. Now, he is here 8 hours per day, 7 days a week.
Born on the same day in the same town small Indiana town, my Dad, an hour Mom's senior is always faithful, always vigilant, is ever her protector and guardian. He feeds her when she’ll eat, is always handy with a straw to give her a drink, wipes her chin, comb her hair and paint her nails. In the end, with most of her memories erased, she knows of no other person or thing but him. With all other senses failing, when he gets near her face, she still smiles and she still puckers up for a kiss. He glowingly speaks of a woman no one else sees and often reaches into his shirt pocket and produces a photo of a 20 year old, dark-haired beauty.
This is still who I see when I look at her,” he says.
Now at the end, the horrible disease that first steals your mind and then your body has run its predictable course. So weak and frail yet still she fights to stay with him. For the first time in more than 64 years, he has asked her to leave his side and go on ahead without him . Through his tears, he told her he would join her soon enough. This day, patiently as always, he waits for her to go.

As for my siblings and me, having been around for many of their 64 years of marriage, we never heard them argue or call each other anything other than “Honey” and above all, more than just love, we always saw respect. The four of us have had varying degrees of success in modeling their lives and relationship but now and forever, they are our heroes
Two days after their 85th birthday, with Dad at her side, Mom stopped breathing. Her heart continued to beat for several more minutes. As always, those beats were for Dad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Tats" and Other Marks of the Beast

It occurred to me the other day while waiting in line at a local Walmart, that tattoos have become the equivalent to cattle branding or maybe more accurately, the human bumper stickers of this day. What caused this thought to occur was a large, twentyish black woman who happened to be bent over a baby stroller directly in front of me. My gaze was ripped from the rag rack, with its chronicle of Brittany Hilton‘s latest rehab, to the posterior of the aforementioned young woman. As she adjusted some item of clothing on her little tike or tikette, I couldn’t help but notice the sizable mounds of flesh that were attempting to escape (nearly successfully) from her low cut jeans. Just above her large crack, which can only be described as, only slightly smaller than the New Madrid fault line, was written in script, Dashawn. Due to the dark color of her skin and darker shade of the ink, when I first glanced then stared at her “tat”, I thought it was oddly shaped body hair. Hey, a weird mustache could happen back there!

Now, being an old white racist (there, I saved you the trouble of having to say it yourself), I lept to the assumption that this Dashawn person must be this young woman’s “Baby Daddy”. If not, I am thinking that having another man’s name branded on your buttocks may be the subject of at least several interesting conversations with whomever her current squeeze might be. When she finally (and mercifully) stood up, Keneesha, as an even larger, older woman companion called her (or maybe they were discussing a small town in Wisconsin, I'm not really certain), also appeared to have another tattoo on the back of her neck. This one was a poorly drawn, flowery arrow pointing up, as if the back of her head held some special significance which it did, kind of. As I followed the arrow up, her head or rather her hair, was shaped into what I can only describe as a small lacquered pagoda, of sorts.

As with the creation of hair styles and names (when was the last time you met white guy named Plaxico or even Dashawn, for that matter?), black folks do seem to exhibit way more creativity and individuality in their skin art. It is just not as visible as it is on the palettes of their white counterparts. At the health club the other day, I kept an informal tab on the number of twenty-something whites guys with barbed wire tattooed around their biceps. I kept a separate tab on the number of thirty something whitish women named Brandy(and who in the heck wouldn't want to name there innocent, newborn baby daughter after an alcoholic drink-What, was Rumncoke or Wineinabox too common?), with some variation of a rose tattooed on their shoulders. I have sometimes mused that if I ever got a visible tattoo it might get the blue handicapped logo with its little wheelchairs connected in a chain around my sagging upper arm.

There must be, however, some sort of fascination that we humans have (no other mammals are this dumb) with putting painful, ink embedded drawings into the skin of our butts or other secret areas. Both of my sons have tattoos there, one a pair of lips, the other a plaid poodle. Prior to turning their butt skin into canvas, I cautioned them both about what their reception might be, in light of this artwork, if either of them ever did anything more than just visit a jail. I must confess, however, to even giving a posterior tattoo some consideration myself. After all, I had always admired those large, orange slow moving vehicle triangles…..

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A post script to “I Should Have Just Prayed For The Cubs”

A post script to “I Should Have Just Prayed For The Cubs
This PS is intended to show that some forms of psychosis(others would call humor) have a tendency to run throughout a family.

Several weeks after my surgery, life and all parts of my anatomy had returned to our version of normal. As I walked in the front door, my wife informed me that a small box had arrived via UPS earlier in the day. I ripped through the packaging but noted that there was no return address. Inside was a new but old fashioned, transistor radio. The side of the pocket sized, white radio contained block lettering stating, “Indira Gandhi and the people of India offer their most sincere gratitude.” After a minute, I threw back my head and laughed.

Years earlier, we had honeymooned in India. We didn’t do this because of a lifelong desire to see Mum Taj Muhal’s burial shrine. We chose India because my mother in law worked for the US State Department and was stationed at the embassy in New Delhi. She had a big place with plenty of room and had offered to let us stay with her if we would come and visit. In addition, she arranged for a car, driver and pretty much anything a first class tourist would want. We had a really great time.

When we arrived in India, Indira Gandhi had just placed the country under Marshall law. It didn’t seem to have a huge effect on us but, as you would suspect, did the locals. Indira, like most Hindu’s, had a very strong dislike, no let’s call it hate, for Muslims(see India versus Pakistan). One of her first acts, under marshall law was to help India get a grip on its out of control birth rate. She would have her police go to any activity that might be a gathering place for young men of child creating age. Those young men would then be forced at gunpoint to a local hospital where teams of doctors were waiting to perform vasectomies. If those young men just all happened to be Muslim, oh well. After the procedure was performed but prior to the Novocaine wearing off, the young men would be handed a brand new transistor radio( apparently quite the trade) and shoved out the door.

Some twelve years later, I had totally forgotten about Indira’s parties. My younger brother had not.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Global Warming and The Art of Home Improvement

A few months ago both of our sons moved back into our house after several years of roaming the countryside and terrorizing unsuspecting colleges. This visitation was a temporary arrangement made necessary by the fact that they had no money and nowhere else to go where they wouldn't be asked for money. So, being dutiful parents, we said they could come back for a while but only until they could find yet one more unsuspecting school. We reasoned, "this occupation shouldn't be that tough. After all, it's not like they were strangers. They had been under our roof at least 18 years of their lives and we hadn't been forced to kill and/or dismembered them during that entire period. Their little visit would hardly have an impact."
Just to be safe, we extracted the usual promises; I, _________(fill in the prodigal), promise on the head of my parents(probably a poor choice), that I won't leave wet towels, dirty dishes, dirty/clean laundry, spare body parts, unclaimed young women or used Q-tips anywhere but in their assigned and designated areas during my brief, very temporary visit to MY PARENT'S HOUSE.

It seemed like we had covered all the bases until we received our first electric bill. Our normally ridiculous bill of $200ish(that's $100ish per person, for those of you that are a product of the Indiana public school system) had been totally eclipsed for a new record total of $552. This for May, a full month before the temperature setting on the Central Florida sun goes from just hot to humid blast furnace. Now, let me say that I would like it to appear that I was doing something noble like helping to reduce the alleged global warming or trying to save one more tree from being hugged to death but no, I was motivated strictly by greed and the fact that I was going to have to listen to my wife as we paid the bills because somehow, after all, it would be my fault. I quickly reasoned that I better do something fast and appear to be a "husband of action" and that, for the sake of self preservation, it should also involve blaming the kids. I quickly surveyed the house and realized that, on this bright, sunny morning, aside from our two house cats, I was the only one home. Yet a nuclear glow and stereophonic sound seemed to come from under the each of the kid's closed bedroom doors. I slowly opened my oldest son's door, aka, CSI: Jared's Room and began to survey the carnage. Aside from the 7 wet towels and assorted plates filling every inch of horizontal surface, every light,...every electrically powered appliance, in their portion of the house seemed to be on. In fact, every appliance that they had ever actually touched, even in our previous houses, was now on and we were being billed for it. I called each of them on their respective cell phones in full attack mode and recited a litany of their sins but I quickly sensed the Homer Simpson, blank stare at the other end of the line. Never the less, I hung up determined to look like I was doing something or die trying.

On my last visit to Men's Mecca, IE, Home Depot, I remembered seeing an entire section of items dedicated to energy savings, so off I marched. I spotted the answer to my prayers, Motion Activated Lighting(MAL). That's it! No matter what the kids said or did, the lights would go out when they did. The directions seemed simple enough, even for me, so I bought a unit and headed home.
The directions did seem to place lot of emphasis on safety issues like turning off the power prior to placing bare wires in ones mouth, which I now know how not to do in 3 languages. OK now, truth time, how many of you guys have made a recent purchase of an item whose packaging contained those evil words "some assembly required" and found yourself at least half way through the first page of instructions before you realized you weren't reading the English version, if English is your language of choice, that is? Either we are all just looking at the pictures or we picked up a foreign language like French or Tagalog in our sleep, but I digress.
Now, with most safety precautions followed and the MAL control module installed, I just needed to test it. I had made the strategic decision that the guest bathroom, the one shared by both sons, seemed like the place to test out my cost control experiment. This decision was made in part because I don't think that these lights had actually been off, ever. I walked out of the room- then back in. A distinct BUZZ, followed by a constant HUMM and the lights flickered on...and stayed. Hey not bad! I did it and didn't even get hurt, like I usually do. I celebrated by using the toilet, standing up. After about 15 seconds, just enough time to find then adjust my aim, BUZZ and the lights were out. That's OK, I distinctly remember seeing a section on "time settings" clearly written in Tagalog on the instruction sheet. I'll just make a small adjustment.....but wait, as I prepared to move away from the toilet to the sink, BUZZ-HUMM lights on. As I slowly washed my hands, BUZZ-silence, darkness. The thought flashed through my mind of guests having to do a rousing rendition of "Y M C A" just so they could see what they were doing.
2 minutes of light per usage, that should be enough, I calculated and if it wasn't, then Dance Baby! As I made the adjustment, I got slightly careless with the tiny, fragile, little lever. Snap! It appeared that the little lever was broken and stuck at about 1/8 the maximum time setting, which I figured to be about 30 seconds. Uh oh, better hurry up there Slim or or get them dancin' shoes on. Not wanting to pay the $12 dollars for a new MAL switch, I told my sons, "that was how these things come and you better learn to hurry up. After all you guys are the reason I installed this anyway." Now, unless it is in the brightest part of the day, my wife just avoids that bathroom totally.
The boys, on the other hand did adapt, in fact we have even developed our own bathroom speak. If you have to go standing up, you usually have just enough time to get half way through before you have to "Stevie Wonder." This means that without using your hands(for obvious reasons), you have to rock from side to side until the sensor picks up your movement and BUZZ-HUMM. If you are sitting, it is a "Ray Charles" using much of the same motion but sitting, BUZZ-HUMM. By some initial reports, mostly from short female visitors, they occasionally had to break out a sitting "Y M C A" while executing a "Ray Charles". Reports of guests being forced to attempt this very technical maneuver seems to have highly agitated my wife. I have now discovered how to lower the sensing of the sensor which seemed to alleviate that problem but does seem to have created a new one.
Ragsie, one of our aforementioned cats, seems to have developed no social conscience whatsoever, in any of his nine lives but has discovered a fascination with his new power. All day and much of the night you can hear a BUZZ-HUMM as, for whatever cat reason, he marches in then out of the bathroom. I have, however, yet to catch him doing the "Y M C A".
Our new power bill arrived...$564.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Anatomically Correct?

My wife and I are not what you would call natural parents. Neither of us would spend our off time hanging around a maternity ward ooing and cooing over the newborns. In fact, 25 odd(very) years later, we would probably still be talking about whether to have a child were it not for an accident(which we later named Jared). Once the rabbit died, or in this case, the strip turned pink, however, we were committed to our fate and determined to be the best parents we could be. One of our early parenting decisions was not to use baby talk to describe body parts or functions. No pee pee, ca ca, poo poo, boom boom, fanny or bo bo for our child, it would be strictly urine, bowel movement, rectum and penis, etc.

Now, fast forward about 4 years. It was a Saturday morning and as usual my wife was out of town. As was our habit, my son Jared( now 3 ) and I would take care of the grocery shopping in her absence. Saturday morning in any grocery store in the U.S. is barely controlled pandemonium and this Midwestern debacle was no different. After about an hour and a half of dodging people and carts, including a young woman that had no less than three kids hanging off the sides of her cart, as if it were a float in a parade and a handicapable couple piloting electric scooters which they insisted on motoring down each isle 2 abreast, kids and adults screaming, me throwing things into the cart and then putting things back on the shelf that Jared had thrown in, while I wasn't looking, and I was done. One final glance at the meticulous grocery list prepared by my o.c. symptomatic wife to make sure each item had been crossed through and I was more than ready to check out. On my initial approach, each one of the 10 or so check out lanes was packed with customers and their carts lined up four deep(which severely impacted the plans of the handicapables to double buzz the produce counter). We were 4th in line at our register when the young cashier from the next lane left her position and approached us. She was from express and for whatever reason, at this particular fateful moment, her lane was empty.

"Sir, nobody is in express so you can bring your cart over and I'll check you out," she said.

In the blink of blue light we were at her station unloading a cart full of groceries. As usual, I tried to keep Jared occupied by having him put the things that we were actually buying on the conveyor. This was no small fete because from his little command seat at the opposite end of the shopping cart, he was easily within reach of the 2 mini flashlights, 2 pocket combs and 2 National Enquirers that were rung up before I saw them, on the previous Saturday.

As soon as I started to unload, a steady stream of people without carts and an armload of items(did they all have to have ice cream?) walked up to the express lane. In reality or in my paranoia, I could sense them all boring holes in me with their eyes."Hey, he's got more than 10 items. What's he doing here? We don't want your kind here!" They all pressed closer, each of them seemed intent on my every movement, as I stood directly under the sign that said 10 ITEMS OR LESS-NO CHECKS-CASH ONLY, while a bagger packed up our mounds of stuff and I wrote a check to cover our purchases. As I filled out the check, the cute high school age cashier engaged Jared in conversation. This was not difficult because he was verbal, precocious and a flirt, even then. After her initial question, the one all of us have to ask tikes, "How old are you?", went by uneventfully, whatever they said after that went right past me as I focused on my task at hand. That is, until I heard Jared say with a clarion-like voice, "I're a girl."
"You're right", Miss Perky responded
"You don't have a penis", he added knowingly.
Now scarlet faced, even the chatty teenager was struck silent. This awkward moment was followed by one of those times that it seems the whole world just went still...except for Jared's voice.
"My Daddy has a VERY BIG PENIS."

Now at this point, my brain is first in denial, next in total overload, as nonsensical responses flooded in.
How many people heard him?...Was he really speaking directly into the loud speaker?"Wet clean up in aisle 6 and my Daddy has a real big penis"...... It's not really that big it's just his perspective folks, you can ask my wife....Where was this kid when I was single and a nonChristian?....Did I remember the peanut butter and did I cross it off the list? How far apart was he holding his little hands when he said VERY BIG? ...Is this check out girl legal and am I libel for some type of sexual harassment?...Is anyone from our church in here?

I probably looked like an amateur forger as I oh so carefully completed my check, so as not to screw up something complex like my signature, causing me to have to rewrite the whole thing again. I felt people's eyes on me as sweat started to run down my temples. I prayed silently that I had remembered my check cashing card so as not to prolong this agony one extra second. After awkwardly concluding the transaction, we headed for the door. I was in full metal flop sweat as Jared happily waved bye bye to all.

As we walked in the front door of our house, my wife happened to be calling on the phone. I opened the conversation with "Here's one for you to cross off your list. I will never go to that grocery store again...without a disguise!"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Should Have Just Prayed For The Cubs

John 5:14
And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will.

It was September, approximately 18 months after the birth of our youngest child. I was stationed on the couch, in my usual spot in front of our TV. I watched, horror-struck, in a position well known only to lifelong Cub fans; alone, eyes fixed and dialated with the first signs of rigor mortise, as yet another "wait until next year" went down the crapper. As the pain transported me in and out of consciousness, I could hear our two young sons in another room quietly destroying something. Seemingly out of nowhere, my wife appeared. She was standing between me and the TV, wearing a short white robe cinched at the waist. I broke my trance and looked at her as she opened the robe to reveal extreme nakedness.

"See this" she inquired, holding the robe wide open?

In a miraculous, Lazarus-like return from the dead, I responded, "Why yes, yes I do."

"Well, take a good look. I made an appointment for you to have a vasectomy next week. If you're a no show, it will be a long time before you see this again."

As quickly as she had appeared, she was gone and I was left to ponder whether it had been real or my mind playing tricks to save me from the Cub carnage on TV.

Now, we had discussed this medieval medical procedure a number of times since our youngest had gotten past crib death age but I had always managed to procrastinate and play dodge the scalpel a while longer. My wife even resorted to asking me about it during our most intimate moments, hoping I would give in. I always did but then would feign (ABD) afterglow brain disorder when we were through. After all, the thought having my crotch filleted and then getting to experience several days of basketball sized testicles was not something I was longing for. Unfortunately, the stakes had been raised and it appeared this time she was serious.

Years before this "flash" of a moment, I had become a genuine bible believing, if not thumping Christian

After an initial few years of a honeymoon period, during which I had a very steep learning curve, I read and absorbed as much as I could,(as I tend to do) before my relationship with God become stale. Lately, however, aside from attending perfunctory Sunday church services, I had begun attending a Wednesday morning Bible study for men from our church, Willow Creek. The study met at a local Denny's(and really, who can turn down a "Grand Slam Breakfast" for Jesus?). Most of the group of eight or so, 30 something guys, seemed to share issues with me. Sandwiched between our discussion about how bad the Cubs were and how bad the Bears would soon be, we actually talked about growing and continually renewing our relationship with God. One of the other attendees apparently had the same relationship issues that I had except he actually cared enough to actually mention it to God.

"Lord, let this morning not be a waste of time, renew our spirit and the desire to share the relationship we have with you with others who don't yet know you. Lord, open doors and let us see and hear them open", he prayed. In a moment of weakness, I added quietly, "Yes, Jesus." The moment and my comment were quickly me.

On Thursday, my older brother showed up to deliver me to the doctor's office for "the appointment". It seems my wife had thought of everything(including the new jock strap, in a Sports Authority bag that I was instructed to bring). She reasoned that it would be hard to drive a post-operative Hyundai with manual transmission, while trying to balance the equivalent of two bowling balls in my lap. My normally light hearted brother, for his part, seemed to take on the countenance of a hearse driver and wouldn't make eye contact with me. He just kept glancing at my groin and then the ground until I told him to stop it.

Upon arriving at the doctor's office(my wife had already filled out the paper work), I was ushered into a small operating room and told to disrobe from the waist down. I then laid on the table using a small, short sheet they had provided me with, about the size of a washcloth, to cover as much of me as I could. Not that there is that much of me to cover, in that particular area, but they could have at least provided me with a hand towel, I thought. I had just finished rearranging my loin cloth when a doctor and nurse walked in. Dr. Samerod was of Middle Eastern origins and his nurse was an attractive blonde, which, considering the state of my "wash cloth" made me feel all the more inadequate.
Awkward introductions were made, then they guided my feet into the stirrups mounted on the end of the table. After what seemed oddly like a ceremonial groin washing and shaving, the doctor began to repeatedly stab me in the groinal region with an anesthesia needle. Earlier, I had explained to him that novacaine rarely worked on me and so he was attempting to make sure that I was really "numbed" before he started to do something painful. So for about 15 minutes we got into a pattern of him jabbing me with a needle, peeling my fingers and toes off the ceiling, putting me back in the stirrups and then waiting to see if the novacaine worked. After the 14th shot, I began to go numb. My crotch still hurt but my toes could no longer feel the texture of the ceiling as I grabbed it. This seemed to please the good doctor because I think he was running out of novacaine.

Somewhere between shots 12 and 13, as the doctor and nurse both leaned over and stared intently (and very unnervingly) at my groin, the doctor asked the nurse, "so what were you saying about Jesus, peace be upon him? You know, we believe that he was a prophet too."
"Yes," the nurse responded, "he was prophetic, He had that ability, as well but He was more...He was the Son of God and He died for our sins."
"Why do you say this? He was a very good man...."
"Well, I 'm kind of new at this myself. I just became a Christian about 3 weeks I don't have all the answers."
When their conversation first began, I had a "Grand Slam" flashback. I remembered my prayer and had to laugh. God does have a sense of humor. When the nurse was stumped, I thought, Oh crap, OK Lord, I'm on!
"We say it because Jesus Himself claimed He was God," I said between winces. Now, neither of them looked at least at my face. On one hand, that made me feel good that they were concentrating on the work at hand, so to speak. On the other hand, it was unnerving to share the Gospel with someone and have them never look at your face, all the while continually piercing my crotch with sharp instruments. "Doctor, when you say that he was a good man, what do you mean," I continued?
Changing instruments of torture, he said, "He was a prophet. He lived a moral life. He was born to a virgin."
"All those things are true", I added, "but was He God?"
"But the bible, our holy scripture, says he claimed to be God," I continued.
Then in my best C.S. Lewis/Josh McDowel thievery, "If He claimed to be God, as the bible says but wasn't God, as you say, how could he be a prophet and have lived a moral life? Isn't that a little bit of inconsistent logic?"
"Explain. Number 2 sutures", he stitched
"Doctor, I tend to be a linear thinker and the only way I can personally make his claims of being a deity work are by believing that He was either the Lord, a liar or a lunatic. Just living a good moral life doesn't hold water and if He was a profit, how could He have been wrong about Himself. If you're consistent, either He was who He claimed to be, He was an evil liar who let people sacrifice their lives for His lie or He was a complete lunatic with a God complex.
The doctor stitched in silence for a moment. "You have given me much to think about. Now, I am done. The nurse will tell you how to take care of the surgical dressings. It was nice meeting you and I will see you in 6 weeks for a follow up. Any problems, call my office", and he was gone.
As the nurse continued her clean up work, she commented, "Thank you so much. Since I have become a Christian, I have had this burden to tell Dr. Samerod about who Jesus really is."
"I guess that is why I was here", I laughed. Now, feeling a little self conscious again, "Have you found a church home, yet?"
"Yes", she said, looking at my face for the first time. "My friend and I started going every Sunday to(Oh Lord, please don't let her say...) Willow Creek."

There is a post script to this story if you click on this link.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

To: Kaboodle, Thank you for your early commitment and dedication as a Charter Member of the campaign in Florida. Grassroots leaders like you are the key to building a winning team.
Best Wishes,

Or so the faux, handwritten inscription reads on the bottom of the personalized photograph that our Persian cat, Kaboodle, received from the White House. The photo arrived at our house, several years ago, just prior to the engines of both political parties being revved into high gear for the elections. Upon opening the official envelope(I have taken to handling Kaboodle's mail due to difficulties stemming from his front declawing), I must admit to being a little shocked. Truth be told, we had not had many political discussions with Kaboodle. Being from immigrant stock(he is documented and he has papers), "blue"(a cat of color) and 13 years old(71, in cat years), we knew he had issues and concerns, like all of us but, he often seemed bored when the subject of politics or religion arose. In fact, having Iranian heritage, we always assumed him to be a Moslem, but I digress. Having known Kaboodle since he was a kitten, the Republican party is not who I would have intuitively picked for him to be involved with. Which is exactly what my wife intended to tell the young RNC fundraising staffer that called our house and asked for Kaboodle. After composing herself, she replied, "You realize of course, you're asking to speak to our cat?" When the line went dead, she just assumed that the caller had sensed that a large contribution was not forthcoming(he had probably just pulled up Kaboodle's latest free credit report) and had moved on down his phone list to begin calling "dogs", the next domesticated(and traditionally more conservative) animal in the alphabet.
We had eventually pinned the photo to our kitchen bulletin board and had pretty much forgotten about it. Several months later, I was making a sales call on a big shot at his corporate headquarters. I waited in the outer office and made small talk with his secretary. Finally, I was afforded entree into his office and was seated in a leather chair in front of his huge desk. As a salesperson, you learn to covertly scan the room, looking for things that your prospect has on display that may give you insight or talking points to include in small talk or your sales pitch. As we began to converse, I couldn't help but notice that this was one of those guys that had a picture of seemingly everyone he had ever known, framed and autographed on his office wall. Athlete, priest, politician, entertainer, they were all there. As this powerful business man was making a point, I couldn't help but glance over the top of his balding head. There it was, dead center in his wall of fame, THE picture of W and Laura with the an inscription. As I tried not to smile inappropriately(as the subject of the photo often does) and feigned interest in what the man was saying , I strained to see if his inscription also mentioned Kaboodle.
Lately, we find ourselves watching the evening news, hoping against hope that Kaboodle is not dragged into the Tom Delay or Scooter Libby affairs. A Persian doing the "perp walk" is not a pretty sight. Those tiny little leg irons.... Oh, you can just imagine. As close as we are though, I don't know how I was fooled into thinking that he was a liberal. I guess it's because his meow has always sounded like a Howard Dean cheer or is it visa versa.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Merry Christmas Discovery Group
We hope you enjoy the gemstones!

We wish we'd been there!

Friday, November 11, 2005


Several years ago, my family and I moved to Central Florida after nearly thirty years in the Midwest. Once we determined which area we wanted to live in, we purchased a home. This house, built in the mid 80's, was well established and cared for and the previous owners had used the same lawn and pool services for years. Services? I don't need no stinking services. You've got to be kidding. They obviously didn't have any healthy teenage sons who would look for nearly any opportunity to walk around the yard sans shirt to show off their latest tattoo masterpiece to an audience of imaginary teenage girls. These former homeowners couldn't possibly possess the Midwestern farmers "do it yourself attitude." After all, I used to drive by suburban farms, occasionally and had once seen a farmer. I reasoned this couple was probably in need of counseling to help deal with low self esteem issues. What could possibly be so hard about controlling a few pests, weeds, mowing the lawn or adding a few chemicals to the pool, every so often?

As far as greening of the lawn, they obviously didn't know about the secret to a perfect Midwestern carpet. Milorganite is a fertilizer-like compound that is manufactured in Wisconsin. Now let's define manufactured(and "fertilizer-like" and "compound"for that matter). Milorganite stands for Milwaukee- organic- ite and is produced by your basic Milwaukee-ite. It is a solid by-product of their metropolitan sanitary district. In other words, it's poop, dried poop. Milwaukee, Wisconsin dried poop, to be precise, derived almost completely from the remnants of their diet, which of course, consists almost solely of cheese and beer. I used to try to draw some correlation between the quality of each years Milorganite batch to how well the Packers had done but was pretty much unsuccessful. In the North, all you had to do was liberally spread Milorganite around your yard, 4 times per year and you were the envy of greens keepers for miles around. Once, I even made an application when there was still snow on the ground. It created a bazaar scene, when, in my zeal to defeat my yard impaired neighbors, I actually had bright green lawn poking through the ice. How do you mow that?
In Florida, Milorganite did work it's magic and make the lawn greener, however, it seemed to have a slight side effect. In the Midwest it would make the lawn so thick and lush that it would eventually crowd out the weeds. In Florida however,.....we will only accept partial responsible for creating a new species of weed. Did you ever see "Little Shop Of Horrors"?

The pool also would be no problem at all. After all, I had watched the pool guy drive by and throw handfuls of chemicals, seemingly from his truck into the pool and our water was always crystal clear. Once I took over the maintenance, it took just a little while for my wife to get used to hearing the neighbors refer to our pool as the emerald isle. She even got used to standing in murky water, feeling something touch her leg and screaming, "what was that?"

As well as all these other tasks had gone , it was reasonable to assume the "pests" would also succumb and submit as easily as the rest. Most people think of alligators, sharks and rattle snakes when they think of The Sunshine State. In the future, I have an addition for you to consider....Invicta Solenopsis..AKA Red Bugs AKA Red Ants AKA Fire Ants. These little rascals seemed to be everywhere(in my yard). The first time I mowed my lawn(unable to locate a tattooed child), I noticed some small mounds that seemed rife with a little ant activity. They were so industrious and purposeful in their mission...."ouch, that little bugger bit me or something!" I gently crushed his little body against my burning ankle and continued mowing my lawn but made a mental note to revisit his little ant village later and take care of his relatives.

Lawn tools in Florida must be of the heaviest dutiest variety. In fact for a yard implement to survive in Florida, it must make regular visits to Barry Bonds physician, if you get my drift. If you don't buy the most steroid laden utensil available, it will either be dead or back at Home Depot before nightfall. With that thought in mind, I gleefully ripped open the box on my new 240 MPH CATEGORY 11, BEYOND HURRICANE STRENGTH, NUCLEAR POWERED LEAF BLOWER and began to clear my yard of grass clippings, small trees and years of debris. In using my new 240 MPHC11BHSNPLB, I think I inadvertently uncovered some Mayan ruins and possibly the skeletal remains of a woolly mammoth or two, but that's for another story.
Anyway, armed with my new toy I visited the soon to be former village of the little bugger who stung me on the leg. My thinking? Why spend the time and money to remove the aunt hill(*note to self-there is no way to remove these demonic insects from hell) the proper way. I'll just blow them all to smithereens with my brand new toy. Which is exactly what I did. Within the blink of an eye, the entire mound was gone from sight and mixed into the swirling breeze due to the hurricane force, nuclear infused winds of my leaf blower. Now, let me ask you a question. What happens when you take a foot soldier and put him into the sky? Right, one word, AIRBORNE!!! Soon, many of the little monsters that I thought I had offed were dropping on my head and down the back of my shirt, like a bad shower. As the pain and stinging began to sink in, I started to run around the yard, screaming and rubbing my head and back on anything that I thought would scrape the aunts off. As a final desperate effort, I dove headlong into the emerald isle. My wife responded by screaming, "What was that?"

Once the swelling and bleeding had stopped, I moved on to remove the vines that had encapsulated our pool enclosure but I digress.....

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The 3:00 a.m. Observations & Ramblings of The Terminally Sleep Deprived and Other Generally Inane Comments (unfortunately, an ongoing edition and new additions)

TV Related

  • Today, if we wanted to confirm that Jesus is the Son of God, would The Trinity have to appear on the Maury Povich show for a paternity test?
  • The audience members of The Maury Povich Show are the equivalent of the white trash of the Jerry Springer Show audience.
  • When Pat Robertson suggested "we could take out Hugo Chavez", was that in his capacity as pastor?
  • Does PR remind anyone else of the crazy Uncle in Arsenic and Old Lace? You know, the guy who is digging the Panama Canal in the basement of the Aunt's house and comes up every so often to yell, "CHARGE!" and run up the stairs into his room and slam the door?
  • Is Pat Robertson still a pastor and does he know he's on TV?
  • Maybe it's just me but the smug, self righteous people in the audience of a Jerry Springer Show are really more deluded and more deserving of pity and in need of prayer, than the people on the stage. They just don't know it. People, People! It's the.. Jerry.. Springer.. Show and you're in the audience!
  • Note to myself: Threaten to kill either of my sons or myself, if they ever appear in a show called "Elimidate"!
  • Paris-Hilton? I really don't get either one
  • What is up with Christian TV. Do you need to have really bad hair to host a show.
  • Oprah, person or cult?
  • "Now to you, audience, by a special agreement with God, we have placed the keys to a brand new salvation under each one of your seats. YOU GET SALVATION! YOU GET SALVATION! YOU GET SALVATION! AND YOU...AND YOU!!!!"
  • It must be that you have to pander to one main Christian network to hawk products and/or sell books. It seems to me to be a bad precedent. Doesn't too much power rest with just one media group w/o accountability? Am I the only one who remembers Jim and Tammyface Baker? Does anybody else see similarities?
  • I can't be the only one that is really startled by the hair and make up of some of the women on these Christian shows? It looks as though their make up was applied by snow blower. Don't they have anyone close to them that can be honest?
  • There is one Christian show where it appears that you need to have a minimum of 27 people on stage, nodding and "amening" at all times or you're just not anointed!
  • I wonder if they offer classes in anointedness?
  • Once again, maybe it's just me but do you wonder if it ever annoys God when a brother or sister is praying and they say His name every other word, as if it's punctuation? I guess the way I see it is, I don't talk to anyone else that way.....
  • You've got to love the brother in Orlando who is building his mega studio, brick by brick and stone by stone, as funds allow. It appears that he has been a faithful man, kind of a modern day Noah.
  • I was watching a Christian TV show and an infomercial broke out. All they needed was the constantly yelling British guy, to complete the scene
  • Once again, exactly where in The Word is slain in the spirit and why are all those people falling down?
  • What is with the poor woman who looks as though she is in a perpetual wind tunnel, hawking "all natural products" on Christian TV
  • Are there more people on stage or in the audience for The Gaither's Homecoming?
    Where are they coming home from....and aren't they there yet?
  • I have determined that there is nothing on this planet with a lower prospect for survival than a set of testicles on The Oprah Show( feel free to insert The Dr.Phil Show here)
  • One TV pastor has more Chins than the new owner of Unocal(In light of the news, I guess I better change that but I liked the joke, anyway)
  • How long will it be before there is a reality show about a terrorist cell called Making The Bomb?
  • There must be a learning curve on infomercialism. It seems that once successful, you see the same folks, with different miracle products, over and over again
  • It's only a matter of time until we see the Popeil/Ronco Nuclear______________!
  • It's only a matter of time part 2: An infomercial on infomercials
  • This is "too easy", as they say in White Men Can't Jump but let's talk about car dealership these egomaniacs not get it? The dealers who insist in appearing in their own ads, all look about as sincere as, oh, I don't know, a used car salesman. On one hand you have the man who insists on forcing his granddaughter on us and another guy whose eyebrows look like a couple of caterpillars in a face off, followed by yet another who only knows one hand movement(oh wait, he's performing the always tricky, double hand movement). These local car ads have always been a mild point of curiosity for me. Have they let someone convince them that this humanizes them or was this their idea? "No, baby, your'e really different from all the other car guys. You've got it!"
  • What is with the woman who only speaks to the TV audience with an ornate, glowing picture frame around her head. Must be tough to get through small doorways or stand in line for the woman's room....never mind that, how about fitting into the stall?
  • Got to love the stick-to-itiveness of the Florida TV cult leader wannabe who would have his followers believe that he is a misunderstood messiah and would rule the world with truth and justice but for the Florida Penal System and the "3-5 years for armed robbery he is currently serving". Look out world, when he is on parole. I wonder what the State does for a messianic work release program? A halo-ankle bracelet....?
  • If God heals through all of these folks on TV, you'd think He'd start with their hair

News Related

  • Today's politicians remind me a little of players in a 30's Mickey Rooney film. Instead of the answer to all problems being, "I know, let's put on a show!" It seems to be, "I know, let's have a commission!"
  • Has the Left finally succeeded in hating the current president more than the Right hated the last?
  • Can we stop politicizing everything and just help the folks in the Gulf Coast?
  • WOW, whose very bad idea was it to hide 8000 people in the Superdome during hurricane Katrina and not follow the city's own evacuation plan?
  • Are you tiring of the comparison of the two main religions. One where a few deluded whacko followers have blown up innocents in defiance of their God, as opposed to the other whose followers kill innocents at their god's behest.
  • Just many people have you gotten to except Christ by threatening them?
  • I hope I live to see a hurricane named Sheckie!
  • As usual, I probably just don't understand but as far as the murderer/martyr thing goes; doesn't it reveal a sexual naivete and insecurity or maybe more accurately, a fear of assertive or empowered women, that these young male killers are expecting a reward of 72 virgins instead of a couple of women who know what the heck they are doing?
  • What do the couple of women murderer/bombers get in heaven, 1 clean-showered guy?
  • Good thing I'm not Muslim. All I 'd have waiting for me in heaven is the *aforementioned BillyBob or Shawayne in a tube top, culottes with a Daisy tattoo sticking out of his crack....and I know I'd have wait in the wrong line for a couple of decades just for that. *see Slaves To Fashion
  • The very last thing that I (don't?) want to be successful at is killing myself
  • The president says, "We can never give in to terrorism" but it's OK for us to pressure the Israelis to leave part of their lands after an endless onslaught of homicide bombers. It doesn't make sense to me
  • Another thought! Why would you give a people who have sworn to destroy you, a sea port? Do you think that they might smuggle in, oh, I don't know, weapons from say China(Russia, North Korea, Niger by way of China, etc) to help accomplish their goal? "No, really, those farm impliments just happen to look like RPG's".
  • Could We Stop This Now?!!The totally PC and out of control NCAA has determined that it cannot allow any college team that sports(pun intended) a nickname relating to a native American tribe, to participate in any of it's tournaments. This, in spite of the fact that nearly each and every tribe has come out in support of the remembrance of their tribal name, by the use of these college teams. I am big on linear thinking and intellectual honesty, even when it is personally painful. Now, if the NCAA is going to follow the logical extention of their thinking, they shouldn't allow any of their member teams to play in states that are named after Native Americans, either. Oh, and while we are PCing, they better move their headquarters. After all, they are HQ'd in Indianapolis, Indiana. Good thing that city and state were so generic in their origins. They would really be much better off moving to Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Mississippi, Utah, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon....get my drift? I hear the fighting fowl lobby is screaming for the rollback of the nickname at the university of South Carolina. You have no idea how many Gamecocks are feeling diminished and less birdly each and every day. And how about The Fighting Chains of Kankakee State, The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, The Florida Gators(they are endangered, aren't they?) or even the Indiana Hoosiers. I am one and I don't really know what the heck a Hoosier is but I think I need the NCAA to tell me that I am feeling very offended.

General Ramblings

  • I am considering forming a Christian street gang of middle aged men. I don't think we would be tough enough to deserve a street...Maybe more like a parking lot or a cul de sac, I think
  • Back to fashion...what is this with guys wearing their hats sideways? Do they know that in their efforts to look stylish, yet bad they are copying a chapeau style, excuse me skypiece, created by Goober on Andy Griffith?
  • Hey Rappers, didn't yo Mammas ever tell you to stop touching your little "pee pee" in public

Friday, September 30, 2005

Our Two Wonderful Sons
These photos were taken just prior to their work release or return from camp, as we like to say. While away on vacation, our oldest, or as the state seems to refer to him, FL#109678-6, was able to keep in shape playing baseball for the Florida State(penal league) All Stars. Our youngest, FL#109678-13, honed his artistic skill by teaching other "campers" how to paint. This, in spite of the fact that he was limited to teaching finger painting, due to the attempts of a few of the campers to turn the paint brushes into weapons.

Yes, our two wonderful sons. What parents wouldn't be proud? Boy, am I glad they look like their mother!

Monday, September 26, 2005


All right, I can't keep my fingers(the literary equivalent of my mouth) still anymore. We have to talk about fashion or the lack there of, especially in the young and also those who haven't realized they aren't any more.

It doesn't take an exceptionally queer eye to see there is something really bazaar about the direction clothing has taken in the past 10 years or so. I have lived through the Nehru jacket, platform shoes with fish in them, dickies, Beatle boots,velour jogging and leisure suits and Flow Bees, that come equipped with a "Mullet" setting, so I know bad fashion when I see it. First, I guess you need to understand that these comments are coming from a guy who does the bulk of his shopping in the "challenged" section of the Big, Tall and Beyond store. Also, as spiritual as I like to come off, I have to admit that the fact that I can wear shorts, golf shirt and a pair of deck shoes to church, whenever I want, did come into play in my selection of my current house of worship. So you kind of get an inkling of my fashion priorities but in light of my own fashion challenges, here's my rub with the young and young wannabes.

GUYS-Guys are wearing their clothes, especially their drawers, so big they almost fall off. It just makes me want to "pants" someone each time I see it. Their boxers stick up a full 6 inches higher than their belt loops. The first time I saw this, I thought the guy was wearing a paisley cumberbun. I've got to figure this arrangement creates quite a fishing expedition when a guy unzips his fly in the men's room. Actually, this style is not too far afield from my 86 year old neighbor, Fluffy, who putzes around his yard in an ancient pair of saggy cut offs and knee high socks with flip flops, strangely dingie boxers, no shirt and suspenders. He is probably totally oblivious to the fact that he has become a haute' couture diva and that he, A.K.A. Fluff Daddy and P Diddy are the driving force behind a giant fashion engine.

GIRLS-Girls, on the other hand are now wearing things so tight that every bump, pimple and ripple of their skin is on display. One question, who told them this was attractive? Was I hiding in the Beyond store that day? I think this whole trend started when a well-known actress was pregnant with Methuselah, Telullah, Rumor, Gossip or another one of her brood. A national magazine got the brainy idea to have her pose on the cover, nude and preggers, as they say in the U.K. Now, I am all for promoting the culture of life and happened to think that my wife was beautiful when she was pregnant with our kids. But that's me and she's my wife....Now, fast forward a decade(ions in fashion years) and you have way too many women who just look somewhat pregnant wearing way to revealing clothing. I guess I subscribe to the idea that just because they made it with your size on the label, doesn't mean you should wear it. Here's an oxymoron. If you wear a belly shirt, you shouldn't have one.

CELEBRITIES-Now, let's follow this time line. Celebrity, naked and pregnant-is photographed for the cover of a rag, Pop tarts and other celebrity types join in, "hip" celebrity wannabees, pregnant and the pregnant-lite copy them, as belly shirt becomes mainstream. Soon, Walmart Wilma with her gut, saggies, tattoos and lip-dangling cigarette, rears her tooth deficient head. From there it's only a hip-hop, skip and a jump to Billy Bob or Shawanne in a tube top, culottes and a tattoo of a daisy protruding from his crack. You know, you start with an actress who feels the world ought to know how beautiful she is, even when she looks like she is smuggling a beach ball out of K-mart and the next thing you know you have fashion chaos. The age at which young girls wear revealing clothing keeps dropping, as well. A woman I work with brought in a photo of her recent ultrasound. In the grainy picture, I swear you could make out the baby wearing a tiny belly shirt. I have heard, but been unable to confirm, that they are about to unveil a line of "thong" pampers for the next fashion season.

TATTOOS-As long as I have your attention, lets' talk about tattoos. It seems that everybody that has one, has to show it off, every day, all the time. Hey, the only people that care about your tattoo are you, the tattooist you paid to brand you and the guy who's not going to hire you.

UNDERWEAR-This brings us to "the skimpies and flimsies" as Jed Clampett once called them. Okay, what weird and perverted person invented thong underwear?Surely, no one who had to wear them. That can't be comfortable, really. I thought most people outgrew "wedgies" in grade school. Now, style indentured women have self-inflicted wedgies and pay handsomely for it. If they made the prisoners at GITMO wear these, Amnesty International would be on the next plane to Cuba. No matter what is seen in the minds eye, truth be told, most of us would resemble a summo wrestler in search of a an opponent,if made to wear a thong to pad around the house. And another thing, once extricated from these instruments of torture, do the wearers remove the undies from their laundry basket and deliver them to the washing machine with a stick? Yuck! What do women with hemorrhoids......Never mind...

HAIR-OK finally, let's talk about hair. Are you crazy? No, really I mean it. We have entered a coiffure era that defies all past logic. In the old movies, how could you always identify the "whack job?" Right, by the weird and unkempt hair. Look around you. I'll bet that there is at least one person, based solely on hairstyle, that in past years would be certifiable. The men in white coats would be marching them off in a straight jacket, to the boobie hatch instead off to a beauty salon to have their hair patch-colored chartreuse and faux mohawked. There is a woman who sings in our church choir. She is attractive and aside from her hair, appears to be quite "with it" but normal. I'm sure that she pays a great deal for her hairstyle and goes to some snooty place with a trendy French name that probably only excepts payment in Euros. In the name of good stewardship, I have thought of offering to take over her hair management. I figure with a ten dollar pair of battery powered Mr. Snippys, a kitchen whisk and a tube of Elmer's Glue and I could accomplish the same feat that her snooty salon does. Then she would have all those extra Euros to spend on more tattoos, belly shirts and butt floss... but I digress.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


PEE PEE BOY-Is everybody as tired as I am of seeing the decal of the little boy peeing on Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Bin Laden/Busch/Kerry/Clinton/Clinton/Chicago White Sox(oh sorry, I was dreaming), etc.?

Really RETIRED NUMBERS-Living as close as I do to NASCAR world, I have come to see a need for a law regarding the amount of dead race car driver numbers you can have on your car/truck at the same time.

FISHING-Hey Christians, don't put a fish on your car and drive like an absolute, inconsiderate idiot. The reason I don't have one on my car is because I can't stop to apologize to everyone I cut off when I am driving like an absolute inconsiderate idiot. They won't remember me, just the shiny gold fish. Remember, HWJD?

"PMS allows a woman to act for a day the a man acts all the time"
"SURE YOU CAN HAVE MY GUN WHEN YOU PRY MY COLD DEAD FINGERS OFF THE TRIGGER"(You can pretty well figure this wasn't on the back of a Volvo)

(Actually, I could read it)
but I think you suck!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tomorrow's Headlines(and the subject of future posts)Today...

  • Look Out Madonna, Britney and Demi, THE KABOODLE CENTER IS COMING SOON!
  • DREW'S Bloodbrothers and Sisters POST(info on fundraisers for Drew)
  • SDDPG-Secret Diary of Da Pizza Guy (Ongoing)
  • God Has Seen Me Naked
  • Oops, I Think I Accidentally Racially Profiled My Kids
  • Sleeping with Vader
  • Christianese For Dummies-COMING SOON!
  • F.A.Q.
  • Manners(and other passing fads)
  • Americans Just Hate To Be Told What To Do
  • Jobe not Job-Lite

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

At least that's what we called it in Indiana during the 60's.

Being a keen observer and sometime participant of the passing social scene, I have noticed a change in the way we swear. I guess it's not so much the way but the words. A misplaced blow from a hammer or erratic fellow driver, still elicits the same emotional response but it seems what once was a cuss word isn't any more. You now hear little old ladies and other regular churchgoers, emitting words that only a truck driving, longshoreman/sailor would have said in the past. It also seems the consequences that were once tied to cussing no longer exist, even for a young cuss.
"Did you hear that Ricky Kowalski's Mom washed his mouth out with a bar of soap for saying ..*..?"

Not only is this discipline not applied anymore, it's almost physically impossible, due to the the fact that the little nozzle on the hand squirters most folks now use, would probably become entangled in the little cussers tonsils.

I have always had a layman's interest in the origin and evolution of words, particularly cuss words. Aside from my oldest son, who always insisted that our family cat taught him swear words(I ask you, how much credibility can you place in a person who says he was taught to swear by something named Kaboodle?), I figure that cussings origins clearly lie with the humans. In that light, I figure Adam was a likely suspect, as the first "cusser", simply because he was the first man and after all, God did have him name everything.

As far as the cuss words themselves, it seems there were always gray area words like gosh, darn, dang or heck, shoot, shucks and cr*p. Now, those gray area words of the past have been shoved aside and words that were once considered hard core cuss words have been shoved in to replace them, i.e., h*ll, d*mn, p*ss, t*t, d*ck, b*tch(and its ghettofied mutation, bi*tch), A*s, sh*t and the only two that really bother me, God and Jesus Christ. It seems that in the U.S., f*ck is the only hold out as truly offensive. I know that I'm new here's OK to use the Lord's name in vein but you can't drop the f-bomb? What does that say about what we have come to revere? Even he/she/we/it/they/you s*ck, which claims it's 60's origins as a sexual reference, is now uttered regularly by everyone from 2 year olds to pastors.

In olden times there was a wide swing in the latitude with regard to the cussing idiosyncrasies of each family. As an example, in my family the word cr*p was not considered a swear word but sh*t certainly was. It was interesting to me, in that, both are slang terms for a bodily function, or the product, there of. Both words, cr*p and sh*t are a rarity by functioning both as noun and verb. Contrary to etymological(I had to look that word up to make sure it wasn't a cuss word) myth, cr*p is not derived from the late, great Thomas Cr*pper but from an Old English word meaning residue from renderings.

I think every family, in the 60's, had a "cuss list" of words that were just not allowed. Now, I can't say that families actually had a printed cuss list, at least we didn't. I think maybe Mr. Dressler, our neighbor who was an engineer may have, of course, he printed up "To Do Lists " for his toddlers and on occasion, when his girls were older, was known to tell them "I banish that word from your vocabulary", but he was an exception. It seems that everybody knew, one way or the other, what was allowable within their own family and what was not. I uncovered many of the words that appeared on my families list one Sunday morning, when we were getting ready for church. I was about 7 and was standing in front of the hall mirror attempting to get my Brilltine soaked cowlick to behave. After several frustrating moments, I let loose with a string of asterisk filled words that I had just learned from the new neighborhood kid, Allan Huber or "Spitty", as my Dad called him (referencing a nasty little habit that Allan had). The Huber's had a much shorter list than we did. In fact, it may have been nonexistent. I won't ever forget the shocked look on my parents faces, peering around the corner at me, as I continued to work on taming my hair and filling the air with a blue streak.

For the most part though, I think our family suffered from CD (Cussing Dysfunction). I once remember hearing my Dad, while wood working on his bench and nearly severing a limb, say only "gosh dang it". Also, we were never allowed to say "shut up", "pee", "poop" or "butt". We mostly said anatomically correct things like bowel movement, breast, penis and rectum. The fact is, prior to the "Allan Spitty Huber Incident", my cussing, to a great extent, was nature based and very creative. As family legend would have it, I once got so mad at my older sister Judi(the homecoming queen, you know the type), that I screamed at the top of my lungs, "you''re .. a...a....a...TREE EGG!" That combination of words hardly had the effect I hoped for when I let them fly. Even as it exited my mouth, in fact, as "TREE" past by my incisors, I already regretted saying it. Once my family stopped laughing, a new nickname was born, which actually was a huge improvement over my previous one (A.K.A. Weenie Head).

I do, however, think that there is some credibility in the belief that it's not the word but the delivery that helps define a cussword. Ever listen to the way some folks say B*sh or Cl*nton? But I digress.....

Monday, August 01, 2005




Thanks for taking time to join us for our series of dysfunctional families. Our first guest says that he is living a lie with one brother, while secretly being seduced by others. Please welcome Pax.
So Pax, tell me how you got yourself into this position
Pax Romano
Well Jerry, you know basically I been livin wiff Roja.
At least 2 election cycles, isn't it? So what caused your current problems?
Pax Romano
Iieeght, Iss like dis. I tried to be faithful but I jes can't. Basically Jerry, what it comes down to is, I have needs. If you're gonna be one of my peeps, you got to know how I roll. Jes one can't vibe me no more. I have.. needs, know what I'm sayin'?
So I brought Roja here to say I jes can't be faithful. And das it.
What needs?
I have to maintain my power. You know, status quo. Don't matter to me who I'm wiff, really. They all ho's. I use 'em boffe.
Kind of a political pimp. And does Roja know this? Well, I guess he does now. Please welcome, Pastor Roja.
Roja emerges from backstage, slightly overweight with too neatly placed hair, short sleeve white shirt and tie, carrying a Bible under his arm. He moves to a chair center stage, which he promptly picks up and moves farther away from Pax but then sits facing him.
Pastor Roja
You do this to me, You do this to me? I trusted you...
Pastor, so you and Pax have been together for quite awhile?
Pastor Roja
"Well Jerry, basically we have been together, off and on, since the Reagan days...
(Angelic Singing out of nowhere) AAAAaaaahhhhhh!
and we even have children together. He my baby daddy. Little FRC, A.K.A. Family Research Council, Liberty Council and even
Hillary's Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, although we think that one was from a hysterical pregnancy.
Then there's little CC, short for Christian Coalition. He looks just like his Daddy Pax, doesn't he? Then there's NRA.
He whispers, "We don't know who his Daddy is but he keeps coming around, thinks he's part of the family anyway and so we just feed him".
What's going on now?
Pastor Roja
Well Jerry, in spite of all I do for him, Pax is unfaithful. I know he's has been calling his "EX" who also happens to be my brother
Pax(to Audience)

Oooyyeeeaaaaaaa....Status Quo, baby. I got to keep my status...and (laughing)y'all can Quo to hell.
Pastor Roja(to Pax)
All I do for you! All I do for you!!!
Let's bring out the "Ex"....Here he is REVEREND CYAN!!!!! Cyan charges out from back stage. He is thin, wearing a full length ministerial robe, jeans, Birkenstocks, a ponytail and immediately engages Roja in wild, arm flailing combat.
The Show's black shirted bouncers separate the two, momentarily
AUDIENCE( chants)
Immediately, as he starts to dance about , Rojas pulls up his shirt and reveals an ample stomach
and a large cross on a gold chain. Upon seeing this, Cyan opens wide his robe.
The audience cheers., wildly.
All right, All right. Pull down your shirts, please..
Black shirted bouncers put strings of shiny Jerry beads on both.
Pastor Roja(to Cyan)
You're supposed to be my brother but you can't be. You don't really love this country or you'd want to protect it. You join up with pro-abortionists over our own president. You're against everything this country does. You're not even a Republican you're just part of the angry left. You're blinded by your hatred for this president and can't believe the guy you supported lost...twice! After all, you're much smarter than the rest of us, we should just fall in line behind your great intelligence.
Hey I know, why don't we bring back Jimmy Carter?
Reverend Cyan
Really? So Jesus was a Republican? I think not! How can you support someone like Bush who would take us into war, especially under false pretenses? Great, you protest against abortion. I hate it too but what about the poor? What about the environment and those who are in prison? What about the homeless and those with HIV? Are you doing anything for them? You wear your WWJD bracelet and a little fish on your SUV and listen to talk radio but what would Jesus do, really? Isn't your God big enough for more than one issue?
Yes and more than one testament, too. The bible doesn't just start when Jesus was born. There have been times God has had his children engage in war. "False pretenses?" How about still worshipping a president whose legacy was to "desex" a sex act for an entire generation of young girls and he can't even define what "is, is." By the way, when was the last time you actually shared the Gospel with someone?
I actually try to live the Gospel.
Where's your Bible, hidden in Sandy Berger's pants?
Again, they engage and Rojas pounds Cyan over the head with his Bible before they are separated.
Laughing and Cheering wildly
You love The U.N. more than America!
Not accurate. I love this country but remember, God is not an American!
Maybe not but most of this country's founders devoutly followed Him and some of our leaders still do..Seems like you love everyone but this country. Liberal!
Neocon Nazi!
Flyover Fag!
Oh yeah, Go Hannitize yourself!
DING, DING, DING! The crowd laughs and roars its approval!
The Host, now roaming the audience, holds the microphone up to a young woman.
Young Woman
Hey, Ponytail! Not that we really don't love to watch you two fight, name call and all, but weren't you supposed to be known by your love for each other? How's that working out for you?
Cyan(to woman)
You don't know me! You don't know me!

Young Man in Audience
Hey NASCAR Billy-Bob, Benny Hinn called and he wants his hair back.
Roja(motioning to the man)
You want some of this?! You want some of this?!
Man in Audience
Hey Bibleboy, there were Christians on both sides of the Civil War, weren't there?
Woman in the audience
Hey Bono, I bet you '"support the troops and not the war." How's that working out for you and the troops?
Woman in Audience
This goes out to both of you. What makes you different different from the Shiites and Sunnis? Always fighting, always at opposite political ends. Didn't Jesus avoid all politics? Hey, when do you guys start the car bombings?
Pax jumps up and begins dancing sexily, swinging around a "stripper pole" on the corner of the stage. The audience goes wild.
Pax, get down off the pole
It's about the politics, baby. They can't stay away....never will! Better than crack!
You're both my Ho's!
Please stay tuned as we continue our show and try to put the "fun" back into dysfunctional.
What Am I Missing?
John 13:34
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."