Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Isaiah Handel

In 1741, George Frederick Handel composed a magnificent musical oratorio, which is known as "Handel's Messiah."

After a very baroque musical overture, in which you can hear and feel the sacred gravity of the message about to be presented, a strong tenor voice opens the scriptural words by singing these words from the 40th chapter of the Jewish prophet Isaiah:

"Comfort ye. Comfort ye, my people," says your God.

"Speak kindly to Jerusalem;

And call out to her, that her hard service has been completed,

that her iniquity has been removed,

that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."

A voice is calling,

"Prepare ye the way for the Lord in the wilderness;

make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

Let every valley be lifted up,

and every mountain and hill made low;

and let the rough ground be made plain,

and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Then,

the glory of the Lord will be revealed. . ."

Was Isaiah prophesying about geography, highway construction, infrastructure development, wealth distribution, income inequality, justice, or . . . or what?

You may want to listen to the links above, or to the entire two and a half hours of Handel's "Messiah" to contemplate what our God is up to, or at least Isaiah's, and Handel's presentation of what our Lord has in mind for his people.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Money Bowl

I entered into the Money Bowl last night, and there I saw the great Florida State football lean, mean, passin' machine shred Duke's ACC hopes into scrap.

I say Money Bowl because it was the first time in many a year that I have entered into the great, gleaming gridiron realm of state-of-the-art stadium excellency that Bank of America/Panthers Stadium certainly is and will always be in the minds of Charlotteans, although they tell me that now Dallas is building one for the Cowboys that puts Charlotte's colossal Collosseum to shame.

Yes, it hath been many a year since I saw such a bright sight as the inside of big stadium all lit up like that, because you see, I grew up down on de Mississip at Baton Rouge, where Huey Long had, back in the 30s, mustered all the mud of south Louisiana politics and all the dust of north Louisiana hot air into a brand new Tiger Stadium at LSU, where Billy Cannon ran the 97-yard kickoff return to beat Ole Miss back in '57, and where all my people and me studied and earned degrees and all along the way went on Sat'dy nights to what was, back in the day, the shrine of Tiger football, Tiger Stadium, where I sold concessions when I was in junior high back in the 60s and then went on to actually live in that great edifice because they had made the north end of it into a dormitory that overlooked Mike the Tiger's cage over which I would sit on the wide sill of that dorm room during freshman year, looking down at Mike's little caged domain and listen to Abbey Road and dream about maybe leaving' Louisiana in the broad daylight.

Which of course I did, later on, leave Louisiana after matriculation in '73, and went to Florida where I got humiliated for driving on revoked license and then doin five days jail time, sentenced by a Judge Rasmussen, and then leaving that state, home of those crazy Seminoles and their Gator cousins and I wouldn't give you a nickel for the whole dam state now anyway.

'Specially after last night, and what the Seminoles did to Duke, where my son did university, and there we sat last night in the cold in the Money Bowl, with Duke Energy Tower flashing big diagonal neon stripes throught the mist in the background and Bank of America Center over there with its spiky litttle shafts of light on top and Wells Fargo-used-to-be-Wachovia-back in the day somewhere in that sparkly skyline still doin their thing out in the Golden West.

You see Charlotte is new money, not old money like New Orleans was with its Superdome, or Houston, which was old-new money and its state-of-the-art AstroDome back in the day, down where I come from, and because Charlotte is such new money, not old money like New Yawk or Boston, and so Charlotte had to erect the Panthers pantheon-home state-of-the-art or so they say in order to show the world what new money is really all about because you see the queen city has always been a wannabe and always will be, ever since the gold diggers out in California eclipsed the Carolina gold find back in 1848, when the California discovery made Carolina's little gleaming vein look like a flash in the pan, which it actually was comparatively speaking, as it all turned out. So Charlotte had finally made it, and there we were last night sitting in the cold and watching all those Seminole fans in their maroon and gold doing their obnoxious chop chop thing and rubbin' it in after they had absconded that chant from the native Americans and still got away with it, and it really is a case of the new money down there in Tallahassee shredding the old-new money of Duke, chopping it into smithereens, and there we were having to watch all this as the third quarter ended and Florida State waltzed into the end zone again for the umpteenth time, but then we went to Denny's somewhere out there in the vast suburban money land and it wasn't so bad after all, although there was no joy of course over in Durham because might the Blue Devils had struck out.

I mean Panthers Stadium is a lot like Tiger Stadium used to be back in the day, except you know, better, and also excluding what happened there last night.

Glass half-Full

Friday, December 6, 2013


Every now and then in history, a man comes along who finds a way where there was, until he found it, no way. Such a man was Nelson Mandela.

Like David of old, who declined to put on Saul's heavy armor, Mandela refused to take on the stultifying bondage of conventional 20th-century political role-playing. His joyfully legitimate leadership defied ideological stereotypes; in the end, he was as close to being beyond reproach as any great man can be. There will never be another like Nelson Mandela.

He traveled, successfully, on a difficult, rutted road of unprecedented grassroots authority. That self-imposed path was a trail of great suffering, but he also wrangled it into a way of boundless joy, which was often reflected in his smiling face. Blazing a precarious trail between the exploitive institutions of established human power, and the revolutionary demands of people rendered powerless by racism and colonialism, he managed to emerge in history as a man of peace, not a man of war. This is no small accomplishment for any man whose role will be perpetually recorded in history as "liberator."

Today, the day after his death, the worldwide web is filled with praise and accolades for this unusual man, so I will mention but a few of his accomplishments that have favorably impressed this Christian (me.)

These four milestones of Mandela's life inspire me with hope. Hope that it's possible, in the dismally tragic trail of human history, for a man born into casted injustice and ruthless apartheid, to divert history itself into paths of, not violence and bloody revolution, but Reconciliation and Forgiveness:

~ He patiently endured 27 years of political imprisonment, emerging with forgiveness instead of vengeance, wisdom instead of bitterness.

~ He guided strife-torn South Africa to elections, with voting, in 1994, instead of violent revolution.

~ After his 27-year prison ordeal, Mandela worked constructively with his Presidential predecessor, Frederick W. De Klerk, in a peaceful transition toward a fully representative democratic government, rather than permitting violent groups to wreak vengeance against the purveyors of apartheid.

~ Like our American founder George Washington, Nelson Mandela refused a king-like role among his grateful people. Instead of aggrandizing his own unique position of merited strength, he stepped down from Presidency after one term, thus facilitating a transferral of South African governmental authority to a leadership base broader than himself. Also like George Washington, he forged a decently pragmatic path between military and political revolutionary impulses among his own people.

In a century of polarizing ideologies, this was a man neither a communist nor a capitalist, although one of those simplistic terms was erroneously attached to his name for awhile. Rather, he was a President, elected by his people. In light of what he endured to achieve that role, he is worthy of the the world's respect. There will never be another like Nelson Mandela.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

From earth Mining to bitcoin Mining

There was this earth and it had rock underneath, stratified thick n thin, and air above, stratified thick n thin, thick down low and thin up high.

Folkses lived on the earth, and they were distributed throughout, thick here and thin there, here and yon, to and fro. Folkses hunted some animals and raised others, and they tilled the earth to gather food and they mined it to get gold and iron and whatnot and what have you.

Now as the earth itself is stratified, so the folkses themselves got stratified, not that they tried to do it that way but it just happened and so they classified themselves into castes and classes and income brackets and so on and so forth, some with thick wallets and some with thin, thick n thin, and then. . .

By n by long about hunderd fifty year ago this old boy Marx figured out a thing or two bout the stratifications of them folkses, and he determinated that them that owns the means of production to make all the goods gets all the gold and all the assets and all das kapital and so forth and so on and dem proletariat and dem bourgeoisie jez get what dey can while dey can get it.

By n by just up the street from where Marx used to sit in the round room of the british library and figure out all that bout the means of production and who owns it and how all that power accumulates to them 1%ers and how maybe the proletariat could get stirred up and take the means of production unto themselves and then foment a dictatorship of the proletariat. . .

Well, jez few blocks up from where ole Marx used to sit in the round room of the british library, somewhere like bloomsbury or doonesbury or what not, this ole boy Keynes figured out that money was circulatin all around between the thick and the thin and it was just kinda going by itself and if you took the gold or whatever basis for value out from under it the whole dam thing would jez. . .

keep goin round and round, like it didn't need no backin.

By n by the Fed got cranked up and started crankin out money from thick assets outa thin air, thick n thin, you know,

and dips come and peaks go and capital gets invested dontcha know and after bout a hunderd years of that up n down high n low thick n thin hi and hi de ho,

By n by, long after jethrotull played thick as a brick and twiggy got thin as air, the blame got thick and the money got thin and global warming or climate change as their calling it now became the new sin,

the Global Warming degenerators got together in Warsaw to implicate the Global Warming developators for high crimes of casting carbon spells on mankind, and to milk their guilt for damages and to blame them developators for all the shit thick thats goin down and the thin hot air carbon that be goin up,

and so jez like Marx back in the day rappin bout the means of Capital production and dictatorship of proletariat and so on and so forth, now be the time for the 1%ers to ante up for their culpability in the means of Carbon production

jez like wall street and them 1%ers together with dem hot air politicians blowin up balloons inflatin the stratosphere with derivatives and CDOs CreditDefaultSwaps and MBSs and generally BS,

jez as the 1%ers was pullin some serious thick money out o thin air, inflatin all the value of fiat currencies and so on and so forth. . .

Jez about dat time, along come Satoshi Nakimodo and he come up wid idea, like Keynes wid de money thang, dat folkses can mine bitcoins out of thin air, or from their algorithms and online electrons, all charged up like their bankcards, and so on and so forth, jez like back in the day when dey usa mine gold and iron and whatnot and what have you and so forth, but no matta what happen dey still be stratified and de rich get rich and de po get po, and so forth an so on.

And that's the way it was, November 20, 2013. Now, where it go from here who knows, but we do know this: the thick gets theirs and the thin gets theirs and all is still stratified, but who is satisfied? You gotta go out an get it honey cuz it aint gon jez come to ya. But hey, God bless the child that got his own, cuz in de long run God be de only one dat can give satisfaction, so pray bout it.

Glass Chimera

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Innocent Blood drones from the Ground

About a year ago, October 24, 2012, a 67-year old midwife grandmother was slain when an American drone death machine struck her to the ground. She had been gathering okra to feed her grandchildren.

This happened in Waziristan, Pakistan.

Momina Bibi's grandchildren were standing nearby: 13-year-old Zubair Rehman, and his 9-year-old sister, Nabila. They saw, heard and felt the whole thing.

Now a year later, on Tuesday of this week, October 29, Congressman Alan Grayson conducted a Congressional hearing to discover more facts about the killing. Five Congressman and a few other people present heard testimony from the children, and their father, Rafiq Rehman, son of the deceased Momina Bibi.

So in Washington, two days ago, in the Sam Rayburn building, Rafiq and his children explained to Alan Grayson, and to our nation and to the world, what had happened in that okra field back in Pakistan a year ago. Rafiq testified to us that his mother was dead, but he could not say why.

Neither can I say why. How about you?

When I heard about this, I was reminded of an old scripture:

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

And the Lord said unto Cain, 'Where is Abel thy brother?'

And he said, 'I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?'

And the Lord said, 'What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.'

Now here is the 21st-century version of homo sapiens' depravity scenario:

And Uncle Sam watched over a grandmother of Pakistan who was picking okra in the field. And it came to pass that Uncle Sam shot off a drone against the old woman, and slew her.

And a year later, the Congressman raised the question to Uncle Sam, 'Where is this innocent Pakistani woman?'

And Uncle Sam said: 'I know not: Am I a Pakistani okra-gathering grandmother's keeper?'

Now this American citizen (I), hearing of it, said, 'What the hell hath our Uncle Sam done over there in Pakistan? The voice of this woman's blood crieth unto me, and yeah, even unto the Lord, from the ground.'

It was not so much the news report of this killing that caught my ear, but rather:

the cry of Momina's innocent blood from the ground, half a world away.

Glass half-Full

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Perfect

How difficult it would be for a man

to form, with his hands,

a perfect anything.

And yet, this child

in one moment

with her breath,

suds and wand,

blows a bubble,




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The deja view of Deja Vu

Today I had a flashback of when I first heard Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Deja Vu. This little blast from the past occurred while I was listening to Terry Gross interview Graham Nash on the radio.

The memory is this: I was in Ironton, Ohio in the summer of 1971. Ironton is a small town on the Ohio River. I had finished freshman year at LSU, and was trying to make some money selling dictionaries door-to-door. I felt like a stranger in a strange land, because this Louisiana boy had ventured, for the first time, away from the flat, hot humid delta where I was raised, to make a few bucks in a hilly, backwoods industrial town where folks said "you-uns" instead of "y'all."

I was a pretty good salesman I guess but nothin to write home about. And to tell the truth I wasn't really into selling door to door, so maybe there was a little escapist streak deep inside of me that responded to the deep experience of hearing Deja Vu.

That music became an important part of my life. Now, fast forward 42 years or so.

Today, I heard Graham Nash telling Terri that Deja Vu was a "dark" album, as compared to the first CSNY that they had done before they recruited Neil Young.

That explains a lot. All four of those guys were having a hard time, dealing with major life-setbacks when they came together to record that music in 1971 after their initial successes.

So that Ohio flashback is the deja view memory that triggered this blog, but Graham's interview with Terri today was actually much more upbeat than the "dark" Deja Vu record album. For instance, a couple of Terry's song selections, chosen to prompt their fascinating exchange, were very beautiful love songs that Graham Nash et al had sung back in the day: Bus Stop, which Graham had recorded early-on with The Hollies, and the CSN Our House.

Both songs are very precious memories for me. And both songs represent the outcome of my life much better than the angsty existentialism of Deja Vu. Because, you see, in this life I chose love instead of a trippy pursuit of music and free love and all that bohemian blahblah, even though . . . even though I carry with me, as CSNY have, the curse of musicianship.

I'm happy for them that they could do such incredibly creative work in music. But I never would have been able to get through that minefield of distractions and temptations without going crazy, like, as Graham explains, Crosby almost did (go off the deep end.)

So I chose love instead--one woman, for 33 years, and three grown young'uns. I wouldn't take nothin for my journey now. We actually have a really Our House, which just got paid off last month, and the music schizo stuff--well, it has always been on the back burner.

Graham's old flame, Joni Mitchell, once sang "something's lost and something's gained in living every day."

So true.

The trade-offs we make as we go along--we don't know really know what they are until we look back on them. I traded a pursuit of the wild music scene and hippie love for true love and family life. This probably saved me a lot of pain and trouble.

"The sweetest thing I know of is spending time with you," is a line in an old John Denver Song. It expresses well how I feel about my wife, Pat, and our long married life together, and watching our kids grow up and go out and do their own thing. And I still feel for her that fresh, newly-hatched love that Graham was describing in Bus Stop.

What it was that kept me on track and faithful all this time was certainly not anything that I could muster. It was only by the grace of God. Thank you, Jesus.

Glass Chimera

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A New Social(ism) Contract?

As near as this under-employed citizen can determine, the (over)simplified net effect of the Affordable Care Act will be this:

A big pile of money will be collected from employed people who can afford health insurance, and that money will be used to ensure health care for poor people who would otherwise not be able to afford health care or health insurance.

This will help poor people. Everybody else will, by premiums or by taxes, ante up some money to assure that the po' folks will be minimally cared for whenever they have health or medical problems.

Okay, this working Republican can live with that, even it will cost me a few bucks, because, you know, I have a heart and I am a Christian and we're all in this together and I don't want to see riots in the streets etc etc etc.

My mind wanders every day between the poles and polls of this controversy, as I am under the influence of so many information sources, whether it be sound-bite Congressional rhetoric, or a morning email from Erick Erickson, or listening to a panel discussion on Diane Rehm or hearing Tom Ashbrook orchestrate an exploration of the issues, or reading a UPI report.

Here's the problem: Our original social contract, which is the Constitution with its tripartite governmental institutions, does not effectively address all the divisions that arise in this post-modern predicament. For some people, such as Tea Party folks, or persons of independent means, that incongruence becomes a big objection to what is happening now. For others, who are poor or who want to, by grand design build a great society, our Constitutional freedoms and rights are not such a big issue.

Since the New Deal, the disparities and eccentricities of capitalism have driven us away from the original social contract enacted in the Constitution by our nation's founders. We've tacked on Medicare and Medicaid. This is not your father's oldsmobile; nor is it your grandmother's household with muffin-buns and berries by the steamy kitchen window. We have evolved to a post-democratic, post-republican, post-capitalist, post-expansionist, post-consumer-waste welfare corporate State.

And hey, it is what it is, like it or not. This is 2013. I mean, 1984 was 29 years ago already.

But the libertarian folks who identify with Constitutionally-protected rugged individualism are still with us. God bless 'em. They figure we didn't sign up for this redistribution hijinks. I can relate. I live in a mountain town that was named after a musket-totin' trailblazing pioneer named Daniel Boone. I wish everybody had the initiative and self-respect that the libertarians have. But alas, there are many other folks out there in the great cities and amongst the urbanized conglomerates who are quite comfortable, even fat n' happy, depending on the System that we've patched together, which is not the same as the visionary government that our Founders had wrought from the virgin soil of a vast contintent back in the day.

Now this whole Affordable Care vs. Obamacare mirage has got us all torn up, living on the edge of fiscal disaster or social dystopia or government shutdown or Default or some combination thereof.

We need a new social contract. I propose a national referendum on the Affordable Care Act so we can settle this thing once and for all. Instead of depending on the Democrats or Republicans to interpret the polls, let's take a real vote on the issue so we'll know where the simple majority of Americans stand on this landmark issue of subsidized health care.

Glass half-Full

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Grand Bargain Inquisitor

Let us stop then, you and I,

this great experiment in democra--(sigh!);

let us arrest it and possess it;

let us attest it and caress it,

as if it were a thing for the history books to dwell on

as if it were a commodity for us salesmen to sell on:

you give me this; I'll grant you that;

she be lean and he be fat.

I shall I will I won't I shan't.

I used to could, but now I can't.

Let us spend it and suspend it, you and me.

"But I have no money," said the tree.

So let us appropriate it from thin air;

let us print it without care!

"For they have cut me, don't you see?"

said the the money tree to the bee

they have gut me; they have shut me.

they have bled me; now they will shed me

they've hacked me up one side, down the other

they've raked me o'er the coals, made me smother

they put me up wet and hung me out to dry.

So let us go then, you and I.

I am a museum piece now, dontcha know

as the hurlyburly burkas come and go

and twurky bitches put on utube show.

"Oh let us not take this to extremes

let us not let the end then justify the means!"

Let us stop then, you and I

this great experiment in democra--(sigh!)

said the grand bargain inquisitor guy

said the squirmy worm to the flitty fly

"Let us go then, you and I."

Glass Chimera

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Berkeley bathroom experience

Yesterday we were wandering around in Berkeley, and I found myself at the mid-campus Campanile just about the time that nature was calling. So I ambled over to an interesting academic building where I knew a bathroom could be found.

When you're sightseeing on a college campus, finding a facility is not difficult, if you know what to do: just act like you're any other student or professor whose cerebral deliberations are caught up in the clouds of knowledge-pursuit; walk right in the nearest building like you belong there. Before you can say fool on the hill you'll discover that magic sign, "Men" or "Women", as the case may be, which offers assurance of imminent deliverance.

It is really a very simple prospect, much easier than, say, finding an appropriate place to do your business in a moment of need in the downtown area of any major city. Although in the downtown predicament, your troubles are over if you can locate a McDonalds. God bless MacDonalds. I mean, I didn't really appreciate McDonald's until I stumbled upon one in Rome while searching for a cup of identifiable American style coffee.

But I digress. So there we were at Berkeley yesterday and I walked up the stone steps of a lovely old building called Moses Hall. I immediately understood after entering the place that I had stumbled upon the hallowed halls of the Philosophy Dep't. It seemed a little unusual that the old Hebrew, Moses, would be associated with philosophy, which is Greek thing.

Nevertheless, slipping with no trouble at all, into my accustomed perpetual-student identity--just, for a novelist, like putting on an old glove--I ascended the well-worn marble stairway with its absolutely smooth wooden handrail, then turned a few corners, and located, within a minute or less, the appointed place for bladder catharsis.

I stepped inside the bathroom, and oh, what a philosophical experience it was.

Indeed, a time warp it was. Suddenly, I was back in a bathroom in Allen Hall at LSU, where I had studied as a clueless English major back in the day, 1970 or thereabouts. This bathroom in Berkeley was almost an exact duplicate of the one I had made frequent use of when I was a student:

Marble walls, perfectly illuminated in the bright sunshine through large, old wooden sash windows with brass handles. White and gray streaky, dappled marble, and not only on the walls, but also the large partitions between roomy toilet stalls. Chrome fastenings on the partitions, well maintained and not rusty nor grimy. Pristine white fixtures: large, sparkling urinals, and toilets with chrome handles.

Ancient, rounded lavatory white fixtures with separate hot valve and cold valve, shining with seasoned chrome anneal that was old enough to reveal at its spout edges and knobby handle-ends the brass integrity beneath.

An entire floor of solidly grouted 1-inch hexagonal white ceramic tiles. I mean, an Interstate gas-station bathroom this was not.

It was a perfect place for a philosopher to productively continue his pondering, even while enduring the interruption of a trip to the bathroom.

And I thought: this place was built in the '30s, just like the bathroom in Allen Hall, where the main hall walls had been painted, old Post Office style, with murals that depicted for posterity those swarthy, 1930's-style agricultural workers who had heard America singing while they coaxed fruitful productivity out of the land of milk and honey, between rows of wheat 0r barley or corn, back in the day when our parents and grandparents were working themselves out of the "Great" Depression. This was my memory of the halls, back at the ole alma mater, LSU where I first learned how to think too much: Allen Hall, shaded by stately oaks that reside perpetually in the verdant groves of academe. So very similar in appearance and feeling to the campus I was now exploring.

Sure enough, as I exited the building a few minutes later, there was a brass plaque on the wall in the vestibule entryway: Moses Hall was built by the University of California in 1931.

Since I am now a Republican who resides in North Carolina, I have heard, from time to time, a critical word or two about Roosevelt and his New Deal. But one thing I can say for those NewDealers--the WPA, CCC, etcetera etcetera etcetera--they sure knew how to do bathrooms with aesthetically exceptional sustainability.

And I walked out of there relieved.

Glass half Full

Sunday, September 22, 2013

From Panhandle Park to Park Presidio

In San Francisco this morning, we drove westward out Fell Street. We passed along the north edge of Panhandle Park, which is an 8-block long strip of greenery that provides overstory of shade and repose within this city that seems to vibrate continuously with energy and good will.

As we crossed Ashbury, I glanced through the narrow park toward the Haight, and my mind traveled back in time, as it would for so many of us boomers who vividly remember the color and serendipity of the late 1960s, and how the untamed zeitgeist of that era was expressed here so freely and recklessly.

'T'was here that the shot heard round the world was fired, or so it seemed to us at the time. No gunshot is it of course, of which I speak, but rather, a double shot of my baby's love, yeah yeah yeah. On a good day you could loosely refer to the late 1960s free love movement that way. Or, on a bad day, you might think of it as a big shot of what James Taylor referred to, figuratively, as "hot steamin' junk.' That's a phrase that could mean different things to different people, as I'm sure the bard intended when he wrote the song, so I leave the true meaning of the shot to your active, or inactive (as the case may be) imagination.

As it later turned out, however, my subsequent life, after that heady, youthful time of vicarious hippie wannabeism took a different turn.

And so, on this brilliantly sunny Sunday morning in September of 2013, our son was driving me and Pat to a nearby church.

Yesterday over breakfast, you see, I had been explaining to some of Micah's friends, one of whom was our friend, pastor Toby, how things used to be in San Francisco before they were born, back in the day. How the shot heard round the world had been fired by Life magazine and Time, and the record companies. It was a huge shot of flower-power publicity that softly propagated the Haight-Ashbury pipe-dreams of peace, love, and turn on tune in drop out, etcetera etcetera etcetera onto my g-g-generation, a generation that was, for a while, lost in space, as brother Don later called it.

And so I had explained on Saturday morning to the thirty-somethings that, while the Panhandle Park groupies of forty years ago had sat, anesthetized on gonja, and drifting into a zone where logic and proportion Fell far behind-- even as their post-beat dharma-laden layback lifestyle was being lionized by pop culture--there was another noteworthy group in the vicinity.

This other group was a dorky, uncool assemblage of zealots of a different homo sapiens breed. They, like, wore, like, plastic protectors in their shirt pockets and sported horn-rimmed glasses instead of the Lennonish granny glasses. Collectively, these guys developed an obsession with transistors and solid-state circuits into a totally new industry that would, before too long, change the world in a very big way.

Focused and driven, and forty miles from the epicenter of hippie heaven, these Silicon Valley guys were busily shaping our future. Ultimately, they invented and developed the electronic hardware, programming, and text through which you now catch my drift.

Situated down the peninsula, around Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino, etc, they broke ground on new frontiers of calculation and communication, fomenting breakthroughs that have profoundly shaped the future, and generating thereby as-yet-unimagined career opportunities for many an enterprising post-'60s young person, including, long about the late 1990s, our son.

Although our son is certainly not a dork, he nevertheless has followed in the electronic footsteps of those Silicon Valley pioneers. His life path has taken a far different trajectory than mine did. My personal development, you see, had skipped a beat or two during that comfortably numb time of Alice's distractions, when Grace Slick had posed a few questions over in the Park and together we took a detour through a Haight-Ashbury rabbit hole. Not that I was actually there, you see, but I was one of those dreamers who strung along, vicariously, from out in the hinterlands.

But this morning, well, we zipped right on past all that flashback stuff this morning, going to church--Christ Church of Park Presidio, a few blocks north of Golden Gate Park. Does that sound really old-school? Well, yes. But hey, Truth trumps pipe dreams in every Time.

So there we were at Christ Church this morning. And there we heard our friend Toby teach from the Bible about a forty-day flood, long ago, that imposed, like it or not, the judgement of God, and there we learned of Noah, who participated in our Creator's redemptive processes upon the earth. And we understood more deeply, through the Noahic foreshadowing, Christ's grace, which redeems us and enables us to flush away the rabbit-hole distractions that had flooded our youth with chaos and confusion.

Forgive me for putting it in these terms: Jesus was the original flower child; but he didn't have to do LSD or any other such thing to accomplish our salvation.

All the bad stuff of this world that would destroy the good in us--it descended like all hell breaking loose, on him at the cross, and took its fatal toll. But then he raised from the dead, somewhat like, thanks to Noah, the human race had emerged from the Flood. You believe that?

You gotta believe, baby. Faith is what keeps this whole damned world from falling apart.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been a beautiful, beautiful Sunday in San Francisco. On days like this, I think life is just a walk in the park.

Listen, y'all: Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Glass half Full

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Train Wreck?

Recently, the Speaker of US House of Representatives, John Boehner, called the Affordable Health Care Act a "train wreck."

If the new law wasn't a train wreck already, after yesterday's proposed defunding (239-180 vote) in the House, it is now.

It is a defundsive derailment. This is, like, Congressional terrorism, y'all.

But then so was the Declaration of Independence. This kind of conflummucks has happened before. There's nothing new under the sun; that's what the Bible says. (I don't know what the shariia rendering would be.)

I think the Republicans don't like a government takeover of health insurance because they think taxes will go sky-high in order to pay for it, and methinks this is true. This situation is a little like colonists in Boston, back in 1775, who resented paying taxes to their absentee King, George III. So they had a Tea Party in Boston Harbor. Remember that from 5th grade history?

Americans are still expressing their freedom with tea Party tactics, but nowadays their celebrations are all over the map, farflung from Boston, in places like Peoria, or I suppose, Macon, Pocatello or Bakersfield.

On the other hand, or, the other side of the Aisle, as they say in Washington, maybe the Dems have been caught up in a little revolutionary activity of their own. I seem to remember that back in spring of '09 or '10, whenever it was that Affordable Health Care Act was passed by Congress, it was some "Reconciliation" hijinks somewhere between the House and the Senate that got the Demmie legislation rammed through to become law.

I think you could have also called that Congressional terrorism--an earlier version, and also, btw, a Democratic version.

So our two Parties are both using legislative pyrotechnics to enforce their polarizing definitions of revolution on behalf of We the People.

Fighting fire with fire.

One fire is ignited by the bumbling, frictionary heat of government control; the other is the street-level heat that we will all feel when the lower economic half of our population is wandering in 'n out of hospital emergency rooms with no way to get medical treatment.

I think probably either way it is a train wreck.

It is then we will rediscover the truth, as spoken by somebody-- maybe it was Tip O'neill or one of the Taft boys-- that all politics is local.

Communities will just have to decide for themselves how they're going to hash this stuff out. Each hamlet, town, city, or state (if they can manage some pragmatic caregiving on that level) must find some kind of consensus about how to handle all those po' folk who keep draggin into the local Meds with gunshot wounds, bloody noses and/or cancer or deetees or dependencies or whatever the cases might be. I think my nurse wife agrees with this.

The way I see it, it's either back to local medicine man stuff, or back to the future--as Orwell would say, 1984. One way or the other, we gotta keep this nation on the rails somehow, and reasonably healthy.

Glass Chimera

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Isaiah and Abu Musa

About 2700 years ago, a boldly outspoken man named Isaiah lived in Jerusalem. He was regarded by his Jewish contemporaries as a prophet who could speak to the people on behalf of Y**H. One of the many truths that he spoke in the name of our Creator God was this:

". . . My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

Later. . .

About 46 years ago, Moshe Dayan, known to the local Arabs as 'Abu Musa', commanded Israeli troops as they once again occupied Jerusalem for the Jews. But Dayan noticed that his soldiers had performed an inappropriately presumptuous act. According to Simon Sebag Montefiore, as recorded in chapter 53 of his book Jerusalem: a Biography. . .

" As they proceeded across the Temple Mount, Dayan saw an Israeli flag atop the Dome of the Rock and (he said) 'I ordered it removed immediately.' "

Furthermore, some other Israeli occupiers on that victorious occasion wanted to

. . ."accelerate the messianic era by dynamiting the mosques on the Temple Mount, but (Israeli) General Narkiss replied 'Stop it.' "

Those two mosques still stand today. But there is no temple on the Temple Mount, also called Haram al-Sharif. There is, however, a very special wall beneath it. On that wall, Moshe Dayan inserted a note:

" 'May peace descend on the whole house of Israel,' "

Abu Musa then declared (as reported by author Montefiore):

"To our Arab neighbors, Israel extends the hand of peace, and to all people of all faiths we guarantee full freedom of worship. We've not come to conquer the holy places of others, but to live with others in harmony."

As God, who knows what He's doing, declared long ago through his prophet:

"My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

My faith is that God, his house and his Temple, resides in the hearts and lives of his people.

Glass half-Full

Thursday, September 5, 2013

G20 and Syria: The Play's the Thing

a Play by Cousin Will Shakesword

Scene 1: As the curtain rises, we see a large, Czarish ballroom room in Petrograd, filled with G20 potentates sipping a little vodka icebreaker before dinner.

Enter in the foreground, Vlad the Man, with his aide-de-camp Nikita.

Vlad the Man: (speaking softly to Nikita) "See young Potus over there. He hath a mean and hungry look. Methinks he is hell-bent on making trouble here.

Nikita: Thou art correct, as usual. He looketh to me like an upstart, alas a Trotskyite if I ever saw one.

Vlad the Man: Ha! Comrade. He is but a featherweight. His own red line hath done him in. Between Iraq and a hard place, the slings and arrows of outrageous weapons will make worms' meat of his good intentions. But look! Now he doeth consort with yon BigBrit.

Enter BigBrit and Potus, on the other side of the stage.

BigBrit: Oh Potus, be not sucked into this trap that that wily jackal Bashir hath contrived to confound thee. 'Tis but a fool's errand. My own EmPees hath delivered, by their good cautionary counsel, our assets from the slings and arrows of outrageous misjudgment. Methinks thou shouldst do likewise, and heed the red flags of yon isolationist democrats and heretofore obstructionist republicans, lest thou and thine suffer in the long run the unkindest cut of all. Forsooth, Syria is a tar baby! It will sticketh thee to the hoots! 'T'will drag thee by the boots (aside). . . on the ground. Ask not for whom the bell doth sound. But wait! Here cometh Francois, with belligerence hot upon his countenance.

Enter Francois, with fist in the air, proclaiming loudly.

Francois: Aux armees, citoyens! Yon tyrant Assad hath spewed a plague upon the citizens of the world. To the barricades! Strike while the iron is hot. Spare him from the guillotine not. Let not his foul chemical hell abound. Undeniable evidence hath been found. Let us run his assets in the ground. Drag in the missiles from all around!

Potus: (quietly, to BigBrit) This brigand's speech doeth suit our purpose well, as all the G20 potentates will tell, for while we in this Ruskie venue do confer, yon Vlad concludes it is war that we prefer, until such time as Congress will reject my ruse, and thus extinguish our Allied fuse. Meanwhile yon Vlad doth tremble in his boots, as he thinketh we Allies to be in bellicose cahoots. Yeah I heard this from a bull moose long ago, a good Potus never ceases to put on a show. So I tell thee, and I say it quick: Walk softly and carry a big stick. But wait! What sprite from yonder stage prop breaks?

Enter ghost.

Ghost: Then all will be as 'twas before, when Bashir's atrocities the world doth abhor.

And Vlad the Man gets a democracy lesson, when We the People curtail the Potus war obsession. And while Potus schmoozed through that czarish hall, our better angels heard the cooling call, for there is no end to this global shame, 'til Bretton Woods doth move against dunces in the game.

But then I woke up and all hell was breaking loose.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Let them come and see U.S.

Let them come to U.S.

Let them come to Washington and see us.

Let the world come and see how a great democratic republic functions.

Let them come and see how those whose ancestors were formerly enslaved can now march in freedom, to present their grievances before a nation of listeners. More importantly, let the world come and see that, in spite of continuing tribulation and repression, the flame of hope still burns bright within them.

Within us.

Let the world come and see a nation whose men and women and children, the grandsons and granddaughters of former slaves, the grandsons and granddaughters of former slaveowners, can now join hands on a ground that is nationally hallowed as a sanctuary for freedom.

Let them come and see U.S.!

Ich bin ein Americano.

Let the world hear the message of a free people, a people set free from slavery.

Let the world notice how we handle our divisions, how we tolerate our differences, how we strive to establish justice among us.

Let the world take note of what happened on our national mall today while thousands were gathered at the Lincoln Memorial.

Let the world compare.

Let the world compare the free assembly of our people to other gatherings in other parts of our troubled world. . .

. . . gatherings in, say, Cairo, or Damascus, or Tehran, or for that matter Beijing.

Let the world compare.

Let the world hear the message spoke there at the Lincoln Memorial today, the message of a young woman, Bernice, a daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

She mentioned an ancient ally, our "brother" Nehemiah, whose people had, long ago, taken on the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, so that they might be defended against enemies,

after a benevolent Persian (Iranian) king had released them to do so.

And let us take note, as Bernice hath mentioned, that in the ancient writings it is recorded that:

when the people of Israel had spaced themselves along the wall to repair it, and found that the distances between them made the tasks of productivity and defense difficult, their leader Nehemiah instructed them, if they found themselves in difficulty or under attack, that they should gather at the sound of the trumpet to unite and to defend themselves and their work

Let the world know.

Je suis un Americano.

Glass half-Full

Sunday, August 11, 2013

could be trouble

The bloody world devolves down toward

a Prophet with a sword,

or Messiah with a cross:

Choose ye this day who is your boss.

By the muezzin call, they said,

or by the broken bread?

God mad as heaven

ridin' in at hour eleven?

or a God mad as hell

while the sword on us fell?

But wait! There's Jacob caught in the middle

playin' his fiddle,

while to the new world we turn,

the old one doth burn.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What Sam Cooke said, 1963

Now the time acomin' when white folk learn what black folk learned a long, long time ago.

Hear the lesson from Sam Cooke, the way he sang about the coming change in 1963:


And now the PFC band as they tell it like it is in 2012. Listen:


Thank you, Sam, for your beautiful life and work.

Glass half-Full

Saturday, August 3, 2013

An American poem

Punchbowl herds on de game Preserve

sippin up liquidity from de FedReserve,

dey spec and dey sling

dem dummy dollars, an' sing:

Oh give me a home where the FedFunds do roam

and de sheep and de bulls graze on Loan,

where seldom is heard a deflative word

and Govment reports steer de herd.

Now down in de City

workfolk stay gritty:

burgerflippers on strike

suburbers take hike

while Fed pumps liquidity

jackin up mediocrity

de system reward passivity

instead of generatin' activity.

While corpos say downsize

lefties get organize

obsesies say supersize

an' children go unsupervise;

Den Anonymous grab de tail

of dat lowlivin' beasty grail,

scarin' up rabble hell

against highrollin' game Preserve shell.

Somewhere out here in mudville today

de prophets dey cry while de profits may play;

but dere's no more renewal to tout,

cuz mighty America has struck out.

On de udder hand maybe not:

Have I understated our potential a lot?

O give me a land where innovators roam,

and de Feds on de Preserve get sent home,

where thee brave make a move and thee bold take a chance

at renewing our anthem, and reviving our dance.

Glass half-Full

Sunday, July 28, 2013

To Leon

Oh dear Leon, you,

tu, who sought a delicate balance

between anarchy and military phalanx,

between democracy and egalité,

among the bolshevoi and the fraternite,

during that treacherous time between the

two War blights,

between interwar contentions of

Social lefts and Fascia rights.

Hey Leon, man of belles lettres,

don't make it bad; just

'take a sad

song, and make it better,'

we would have said,

before republican liberté got shot dead.

Your fined-tuned idea of Man's

path to Justice was so,

oh so, exquisitely


until the fierce winds of prewar gahenna

somewhere between Paris and Vienna

overpowered your pure, postwar intentions,

decimated your Front Populaire coalitions,

obliterated, with wehrmacht destruct,

your Social political construct,

when the ancient god of Forces

dispatched his dread iron horses,

to explode your good intentions

and implode your fragile humanité


Oh Leon, merci for your short-lived

Premier swan chanson.

Quel est ce bruit lointain

nous entendons?

Oh Leon dear,

what is that distant noise we hear?

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


When stock market volatility
moves to Feddish liquidility
then market reliability
morphs to questionable credibility.

Every market indicator
every demographic agitprop maker
every talking-head prognosticator
strokes the now rather than the later.

Boomers approach senility
as Xers court sterility
while millennials forfeit ability
to sustain sustainability.

Couch potatoes cultivate disability
while media props up stability;
Detroit portends inability
of longterm viability.

Just give 'em some assurance
of some systemic SS insurance
so they'll feel this crazy occurence
will not exhaust our Yank'ed endurance.

I was born on a postWar morn
before the Viet sheep were shorn,
before the American dream was torn.
Now here I lie forlorn.

Glass Chimera

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I gots de Motown blues

I'll never forget the day in 1955 when I, being four years old, leaped into the driver's seat of my dad's brand new Chevrolet station wagon. I was pretending to drive the gleaming whizbang motorcoach as it sat motionless in our GI-bill financed tract-home driveway. The car was a shiny beige color, with a brown top and chrome trim. What a dream, to one day grow up and drive such a machine!

This was in America in 1955. . . America, home of the yanks who had helped our Allies to drive the Nazis back into their German holes, and the Japs back onto their little setting-sun island. America, home of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Wayne, Doris Day, Elvis, Mickey Mouse, Lassie, Howdy Doody, and Chuck Berry. America. . . home of Coca-Cola, Bell Telephone, Lucille Ball, Jackie Robinson, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson. America. . .home of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, cowboy movies, American Bandstand, Hollywood and freeways. America. . . home of the Corvette, the Mustang, the Rambler. America, home of Motown, Smoky Robinson, Berry Gordy, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Aretha, the Four Tops, and Sam Cooke.

America . . . home of the original Motor City of this world, Detroit!

America . . . home of Detroit, now deep in bankruptcy blues?

Aw, g'on! Who'd of thought? Say it ain't so, Joe! Who knew?

This couldn't be the same Detroit I remember, couldn't be the home the Detroit Tigers, Ty Cobb, Al Kaline? Couldn't be the great world-class City that sent that gleaming, du0-toned Chevy machine in 1955 to grace our driveway? The same Detroit that put space-age fins on the 1959 Cadillac? The same Detroit that drove our Chevy on the levee? The same Detroit that built my first car, the hand-me-down from my parents Chevy II wagon, the one that had gear linkage that used to get stuck in second gear so that I had to jump out at the traffic light, open the hood and jerk the gears back into operation before climbing back into the driver seat while motorists behind me had impatient looks on their faces?

Detroit, in bandruptcy? Detroit. . . the high-energy happ'nin City that pumped up our automotive dreams for the better part of a century? That Detroit?. . . that fueled up our mojo since we wuz kneehigh to a Coupe de Ville bumper? Detroit?. . .that epicenter of Motivational gas-powered Motion that enabled our cruisin' to the bebop drive-in for burgers n' shakes on Friday night?

That Detroit? The great Motown that, decade after decade, was kept hummin' by thousands, yeah I say unto thee probably millions, of line workers who were tightening bolts, turning screws, clamping body parts, body-slammin world-record productivity with infinitely sustainable prodigious wonders of automotive virtuosity?

That Detroit? Those workers? Those pensioners who are now left behind wondering What the hell?

That Detroit? now to be rescued from pension failure by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina?

Good luck with that, as we say in Ameica. See ya!

Glass Chimera

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fidelity is the way to go

A man cannot

love all the lovely women of this world.

What's best is to choose


and love her well.

Then she is satisfied, and he is taken care of,

while God is pleased and

society hums along more contentedly.

Oh and btw,

along the way

children are born: this is the real


The sacrifice the man makes, being faithful and


becomes a tribute and preserver to his own ongoing


and the children's

stability. It is a win-win

for everybody.

You see, the man would go crazy trying to love all those beautiful

women out there. Really,

The only way to love all the women of this world is

to love one woman well, and smile at

all those others. Then say to them:

Peace be with you.

Glass half-Full

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Where earth has poured out its magma heart
onto ocean's sphere, things begin to happen
Then stony solidity challenges watery
and blocked kinesis thrusts
patterns onto the wavy deep.
'Tis then the great fluid finds its
and the waves their wobbly wanderings.
'Tis then
the splashy sea find its unsettled voice,
lending boisterous mayhem to the world:
Islands become frontiers of landed life, and
continents become monuments of tectonic
and mankind finds itself at home therein.
This is a fair place to spend eternity,
if it were so,
but if not, there is a better world
to which we go.
Don't ask me how I know;
it is the substance of things unseen
to which our faith doth flow.

Glass half-Full

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kai kai Kauai

Surfy shimmer late afternoon slant light
hath revealed glimmering
truth that midday overlooked,
as each wave topples in from aquamarine bliss
blasting gold and magic disappearish foam upon the beach.
Silvery rumpled water plane retreats back to sea
leaving sheen that descends into coarse brownsand,
mottled with micro rivulets crisscrossing intersecting
as multiple mini-sandstorms settle from their infinite mini-maelstroms
upon this shore,
racing, streaking wavelets o'er the smoothness of ancient speckled sands
where sandstonish texture takes over as crystalish water is disappearing
constantly and forever
and ever and amen
according to shapeshifting strand line as erratic as
a dowjones database
Jackie Paper will sail no more on this particular
but the sun sets down its golden splashes same as
it always has since
God only knows when.

Glass half-Full

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kauai kai

First is the sunshine, everywhere
bright on this deep Pacific blue; way out there
Puff blows up his silver-whites
and pushes them into distant cumulus piles
onto absolutely flat
From there afar sapphire stretches at me
rolling into nearer aquamarine
then clearer azure.
The ocean surfs in, tossing frothy white
o'er brown-gold beach, sloshing
everywhere, all the way up
into micro wavelets of universal energy;
they flatten
in sine shadow lines that skitter across the cosine sand.
Eons away from any continent
and far far far from any heckled world
in a land called Hanalei,
Hawaii and Thee
I see.

Glass half-Full

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

From NASA to NSA

Let is be noted that now our formerly Frontier attitude of exploration has now morphed to something else: a national obsession with Security.

We Americans have changed, within my lifetime, our emphasis from NASA (National Aeronotics and Space Administration) to NSA (National Security Administration.)

From discovering the outer limits of our potential, to collecting data on the inner workings of citizens.

From expansive exploration to morbid introspection.

Not a good sign, but life goes on in spite of the digital mountains of accumulated metadata. New peaks of human endeavor to conquer? Just watch your p's and q's and you'll have nothing to worry about.

As for me, a Christian, I see it this way: My Lord instructs me through his word that my life should be an open book of Christian witness anyway. So what does it matter if Little Brother has nothing better to do than collect my metadata and then occasionally read it when the bureacrats in Washington or in Utah go looking for wild things under the beds? Maybe he'll catch a glimpse of the Gospel somewhere in my dirty laundry.

If they can find nothing better than that to do with their time, I feel sorry for 'em. Maybe one day they'll get bored with all that info-collecting and take a trip to the moon or something.

Good luck, and don't give up.

Glass Chimera

Saturday, June 8, 2013

On the Trail

My almost-62 years of this life have yielded a precious array of experiences. I praise the Lord for all of them.

One in particular that I remember was, as it turned out, a life-threatening little jaunt through the Utah desert with my son, Micah.

What he did on the trail in a moment of quick judgement that dusty day-- back in '05 I believe it was-- probably saved my life.

We were out in the middle of nowhere where the scrubby country was dry and the sun was high, packing into an overnight camping adventure somewhere west of Moab and east of Cedar City. Maybe it was going in, or maybe it was going out, I don't remember-- We were hiking along a trail out in the flat parts, before or after visiting the gorgeous sandstone artistry of God that had been sculpted out of red rock many an eon ago by some ancient swirl of flood or receding inland sea or some such force of nature but that was then and this is now and its dry as a yucca bone out there in this particular geologic age.

I can hear well enough, but not as keenly as my young son, and by n' by as we were progressin along he heard something that compelled his young whippersnappin mind to jerk into action and arrest my development, very suddenly, along the trail.

I was trekkin along as contentedly as you please, probably whistling' Grofe's On the Trail melody from the Grand Canyon Suite, although we were many a mile from that landmark. (The Grand Canyon leg of my life's journey would come a year or two later on a little jaunt out West with my daughter, Kim.)

But there I was trekking right along on the trail in the middle of nowhere, Utah, when suddenly my forward progress was arrested abruptly by a force of nature that Newton might call the inertia of jerk, or-- your son grabbing your pack-straps from behind and jerkin it hard so that dad couldn't take another step forward because right there in the middle of the trail. . .


I'm blessed to be alive, I tell ya. No tellin how quickly I might have expired that day, with the breath of life wispin out of me for the last time if Micah hadn't heard that critter when I didn't, and jerked me back into this present life instead of kingdom come!

Btw, that Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe, composed in 1931,(you've heard it in some old western or cartoon movie somewhere) that I was probably whistling when this near-death episode happened out there in Utah--it can be heard here-- one of the greatest musical expressions that God ever laid on the mind and hand of man, or back of burro beast. Give it a listen. You can almost hear the trail-donkeys a brayin' in that middle movement--the one called "On the Trail".

I wish I had had one of them trail donkeys that day; I would have been a little further off the ground. But I guess it doesn't matter 'cause my boy saved me anyway from certain death out in the middle of nowhere. Thank you, Jesus!

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Friday, May 31, 2013

Rebekah's Choice

Many and many a year ago, a man named Abraham sent his best employee out into the world to find a bride for his son, Isaac.
Things were different then, don't ya know. Kids were not just left on their own to make such decisions. This may sound crazy to us postmoderns, but then a lot of what we do could be called crazy also.
Abraham instructed his employee, Eliezar, specifically, in how he wanted Isaac's prospective bride to be found. This involved a simple mission: Eliezar was instructed to travel to a certain, distant place to seek out a particular kind of honorable woman. When Eliezar arrived at the appointed destination, it being a long distance from Abraham's chosen home, Eliezar stopped at a water well to refresh himself and his camels.
Eliezar, a very intuitive fellow, decided to make this oasis-stop a part of his selection process. He began immediately to scope out the place where he had paused, with the intention to spot a young woman whose qualities were appropriate for marriage to his boss' son. He decided that he would make a request of any young, suitable woman who happened to be at the well. He would ask her to use her jar to obtain some water for him from the well.
He also determined that the woman who would demonstrate kindness and hospitable behavior by offering to also draw water his camels--she would be the one.
A find young lady, Rebekah, stopped at the well, and she did exactly that.
So Eliezar spoke his request to her, and she was favorable to it. He gave her some lovely bling and they went to her father to complete the consent process for marriage between Rebekah and Isaac.
When Eliezar presented the proposal to her dad, Laban, he agreed, and suggested that Rebekah should spend about ten days at home before leaving to join her future husband. They agreed to this.
After these plans had been worked out, they called Rebekah and said to her:
"Will you go with this man?"

And she said:
"I will go."

Glass half-Full

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hey you.

During the dark middle years of our Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln went to a battlefield in Pennsylvania where thousands of soldiers had died in defense of our nation, while fighting to preserve what we Americans stand for.

Mr. Lincoln spoke very briefly that day, November 19, 1863. He spoke gravely, as a leader who deeply understood, and grieved at, the terrible, bloody price being paid for our freedom. What he said has filled and inspired the consciousness of us who have, over these last 150 years, benefited from the sacrifice of those brave men at Gettysburg. Here is a small shrapnel of what he said:

"But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow-- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Nowadays, we may ask ourselves what were those men struggling for? What have all our soldiers, past and present, lived and died fighting for? Mr. Lincoln's final sentence that day reinforced it:

. . . that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

This Memorial Day, we should remind ourselves of this principle too--government by the people-- as we remember the men and women who have died on battlefields all around the world for us people, so that we can live free.

Are you actually making the best use of that freedom that these brave soldiers fought for? Or is your power to act favorably-- on behalf of yourself and those you love-- is that power, your personal initiative, your energy, buried in the ground somewhere on some lapsed battleground of your life? Is your impulse to serve others hiding in a bag of potato chips? or a carton of beer? Is it taking refuge behind the glass of a flat screen tv?

You, you who are reading this, ask yourself:

Am I a person? Am I one of those "people" whose responsibility is to govern?

Or have I abdicated? Have I ceded my personal responsibilities as an American to some other person or agency? Is my freedom to act and prosper locked in a harddrive, on a desktop, somewhere in Washington, DC? Or in my state's capital? Have I signed off on my freedom to act?

98 years after President Lincoln addressed, at Gettysburg, the heart issues of our nation's purpose--government by the people-- President John Kennedy said:

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

This, too, we need to remember, and act upon, instead of looking for handouts or unearned entitlements, instead of waiting for superman to bail us out of whatever couch-potato cushion we are stuck in. Are you doing your part to keep our United States of America a nation of free citizens, who are willing and capable to act on your own so that you and all the rest of us may benefit?

What have you done this week to make our country a better place? Did you do your job? Did you look for a job? Did you read something worthwhile? Did you break a sweat, hammer a nail, or cook a meal? Did you pick up your own trash, clean your plate after the meal, help load the dishwasher? Did you speak kindly to someone? Did you speak correction to yourself or your best friend? Did you plant a seed. I mean, it is spring. We can get out now and see what the real world looks like.

What's going on out there? And what does it mean that "the people," govern? Do I get a fancy desk and a legislative vote-on-the-bill button to push? Probably not. But you and I, as people, do have certain responsibilities thrust upon us, lest our great ship of state plunge to the depths of lethargy.

Although we cannot, as President Lincoln said, truly consecrate that hallowed ground at Gettysburg, there is something we can and should do.

Are you doing your part in governing this great nation? Many men and women have died so that you could exercise that privelege. Use it. Find something that needs to be done and do it, whether you're getting paid for it or not.

Glass half-Full

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Human Cloning Thing

Chances are at some point you're going to die. As for how that may happen, most people don't know.

Some people have an idea of maybe how their time will come. Maybe they have heart problems, or immune-deficiency, or lung problems, or a failing liver, or some dreaded disease or whatever.

If you know, for instance that you've got a weak liver, then perhaps you have a feeling that it will be liver failure that will do you in. Maybe you know this because you have drank too much beer over the years, or maybe other life choices you have made have placed the good condition of your liver at risk. Or maybe you were just born with a liver that is weaker than most.

Each one of us will have our own particular life-threatening set of body-failure probabilities to deal with.

So maybe, when your time draweth nigh, you will want to call upon the medical profession to bail you out of the inevitable deathly situation; you may seek the doc's help in extending your time on earth.

Maybe you would, for instance, want to get a liver transplant so that you can live longer, or a heart transplant if that's what the issue is, or some brand-new, cancer-free bone marrow so you don't die of leukemia, if that is your problem.

If the weak link in your bodily chain of organs is, let's say, your liver, perhaps the doctor would say that you could be a candidate for a liver transplant. Or if your heart has some defect, then the transplant would we be a new heart.

Now the problem with that medical remedy is that your body may reject the liver, or heart, that has been grown in someone else's (the donor's) body. And I think this complication arises mainly from the reality that the donor's DNA makes their liver uniquely equipped, on a cellular level, for that person's body, not your body. The doctors, if they are going to insert someone else's liver in your body, need to all sorts of pharma tricks with baling wire and duct tape just to get the transplanted organ to "take" inside your gut.

Think of it like a car. Maybe your old chevy needs a new fuel pump. No problem. Just mozy on down to the dealership and pickup a new fuel pump. But of course you can't just buy any old fuel pump. It has to be the one that was made for your particular impala or chevelle or whatever chevy model you have. Or Fiesta or Fairlane or Focus if you're a Ford guy. And even more specific than that, the new part has to be selected according to the year in which your car was manufactured.

Same thing for your liver. Your very own, personal DNA-delivered liver has been humming right along all these years because it has the same genetic identity as every other cell in your body. You've been cruisin with a custom job all these years and maybe didn't even realize it, because it looks so much like the mass-produced version. But now, if your liver is worn-out, you're looking for a replacement. But the replacement for your old '57 chevy liver will not be found in the body of some accident victim 2011 Volt or Caprice.

So what if you could get your very own, personal DNA-delivered liver, manufactured especially for your you?

That's what this human cloning is mostly all about: generating, under laboratory conditions, organs and regenerative cells to help your body live longer. If you've got the money, honey, the labs will have the time, and the technology, and the treatment-- custom-tailored for you in a petri dish somewhere in Baltimore or Boston, Baton Rouge, Bakersfield or Bellevue.

This is called therapeutic cloning, not reproductive cloning. These are two different basic cloning objectives, although I think the procedures are very similar in the very earliest phases of the nuclear transfer process. The objective for therapeutic cloning is, according to my layman's understanding of it, to generate patient-compatible pluripotent stem cells that can be used to grow new healthy tissue in the recipient's body.

Now the researchers who have been working on and/or monitoring these research developments are for the most part, I think, agreed that reproductive cloning is not a good idea; some would even perhaps use the word "immoral," or "ethically inappropriate," or some such euphemism as that.

But this is a brand new can of worms that the scientific community, the medical community, and the general public will be dealing with as the years roll by and budgets are written while dollars are spent and the people come and go talking of michelangelo or donatello or mutant ninja turtles or chimerae or whatever. And everyone will make their own decisions about such things based on their own info base, financial base and moral compass and so forth and so on.

With this announcement, last week, of a successful human embryo being cloned in Oregon, the "cat" is, so to speak, out of bag. We're in a brave, new world, just as Aldous Huxley anticipated many years ago.

Uncharted territory.

And though the scientific community may generally have the best intentions to regulate cloning procedures and outcomes to direct them within channels of therapeutic application, we all know how the human race is, and what will probably happen.

Not only is the cat out of the bag, but pandora has opened her box, and sooner or later some renegade Dr. Frankenhoo will do the reproductive thing and then he won't be able to resist letting all the world know and everybody will gasp when the first human clone shows up in a playground somewhere in Beijing or Ankara or Brussels or LA or Godonlyknows where.

And there will be prosperous folks who want to clone themselves and they will have the money to have it done and it will happen. Welcome to our 21st-century can of ethically-challenged worms. Will all our human-carnival predisposition for vanities and manipulations and exploitation and avarice and under-the-table dealings, back-alley abortofreaks, black-market, after-market, post-market, postpartum proclivities just take a back seat to the benefits of having therapeutic-cloned body parts?

Probably not, but then again maybe. Whatever beneficial things can happen will most likely be duplicated by somebody. You know how copies are; their quality depends on the equipment you use. So anything can happen and most likely will. Copy this message to someone if you think about it.

Glass Chimera

Sunday, May 5, 2013

From Golden Gate to Golden Door

In 1903, we Americans erected the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. The great bronze sculpture had been presented to us as a gift by France. On the inside of Lady Liberty's pedestal, these words, composed by Emma Lazarus in 1883, are engraved:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

These words still ring true to the American spirit. I am greatly inspired by the poem, which Emma had named The Great Colossus. But times have changed in the 133 years that passed since she was inspired to write it; and our nation has changed greatly since the sonnet became an anthem that came to express so profoundly our exceptional American optimism and generosity.

With tender admiration for Emma Lazarus, and for the her verse, and with great respect for all that Lady Liberty represents to so many Americans, especially the millions who first glimpsed her freedom torch as new immigrants, I submit an update. I hope it may appropriately express a challenge that yet looms on our bright horizons.

It's not like a political hack with vengeful fights,

and regulative burdens to constrict our plans.

No. Here within our yawning, paved-o'er shores still stands

a beneficent nation with bright hope , whose lights

form the grid and net of a people free, and this our name:

America. From our electrified sands

glows bold goodwill; our vibrant enterprise, our busy hands

will in time restore this great worn infrastructure's frame.

"Lose, o ye couch-potato louts, our cultivated TV sloth!" we must say.

"Stand aside, but hey!" Give us, instead, your energetic poor,

your troubled masses yearning to work their poverty away,

along the rusted refuse of our landfill'd shore.

Send these working folks, recession-toss'd, our way,

We'll renew it all, from Golden Gate to Golden Door!

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Height of Civilization

Sometimes I think human history is the outcome of a great war between civilization and barbarism.

When terrorists set bombs in a public place to kill and maim innocent people, that is barbarism. When neighbors and citizens arise to comfort and compensate the victims of such atrocity, that is one of the many functions of what we call civilization.

History has always been us civilized folks against the barbarians who assault the the gates of law and decency.

In the last decade of our nation's collective experience, many of us have borne the burden of tragedies in which innocents suffered terrible pain, suffering, and death. In the wake of these terrible events, there never fails to be a multitude of Americans who answer the immediate and subsequent challenges presented in sorting out and cleaning up bloody messes, and then ministering care and comfort to victims and their families. The most obvious heroes are the first responders, the firemen, EMTs, physicians, nurses, policemen, neighbors, compassionate passersby, good samaritans. But there are many others all along the way in the aftermath.

For instance, long after the fact, after the dust settles, someone has to sort out the financial damages and compensations; there has to be a person or persons whose job is to make the hard decisions in allocating limited money for compensation to victims and others who have suffered undeserved losses and injuries.

Fortunately for us here in the USA, there is a man whose God-given gift is to administrate those decisions, and their accompanying financial compensations, in a very public and transparent way. He is a man who is known for fairness, impartiality, and sound judgement.

Ken Feinberg is his name. He has been appointed, in days recently past, to help others sort out and distribute the sticky, inadequate financial damages that collect in the wake of such events as: 9/11, the Virginia Tech shootings, the Colorado movie shootings, BP oilspill, and many others.

And now the Boston Marathon bombing damage compensation fund.

In an interview today with Robin Young of Boston's WBUR Here and Now, Mr. Fineberg explained that there is "never enough money" in a situation such as this to justly compensate all those people who have suffered death, maiming, loss of limbs, paralysis, pain, suffering and loss of just about every asset that humans are heir to, including suffering to which no monetary value can be assigned.

But somebody has to do it. Somebody has to make the difficult calls, and then have the results of the distribution acknowledged generally as fair and sufficient. In the USA today, that somebody is Ken Feinberg and his crew.

I admire him. It is a very difficult job, and he has handled it well, with honesty and integrity that is widely, consistently acknowledged, case after case, disaster after disaster.

What a hell of a job.

I recommend you listen to his answers in response to Robin Young's questions: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/04/29/one-fund-feinberg

At the end of the interview, Ken intimated that the job is stressful. He said he has to take little breaks after meeting with victims and their families, in order to deal with the pain and suffering that he sees in their faces and hears in their complaints.

Then Robin mentioned Mozart; she had heard that he enjoys listening to music at the end of such a stressful day. Mr. Feinberg confirmed it. After all the stress that his day's enquiries uncover, at the end of the day he finds release from the fierce collateral damages of barbarism, by fleeing to what he calls the "height of civilization": listening to Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, Beethoven.

I can relate, especially as he mentioned Beethoven.

It is true: a Beethoven symphony, performed by a professional orchestra, expresses the height of civilization.
In terms of music, that is.

But the deeper and loftier height of civilization is this:

what good people do to comfort, heal and care for their fellowmen/women, in the tragic aftermath whenever evil has been inflicted by barbarians at the gate.

Glass half-Full

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chechen up on my Caucasian identity Crisis

Ever since we implemented civil rights legislation many and many a year ago, I have had to check a little race box on any kind of application or information form that I'm submitting to some .gov, .org, or even .com entity that wants to know about who I am, and why I am applying for their this/that/orthe/other. The little box typically asks me to identify my race. A person of my pale pigmentation is expected to check the box called Caucasian.

And I'm like, whaddup widdat?

What have I to do with thee, oh mountains of Caucasus?

If I chech the Causasian ethnicity, does that identify me as some wild-eyed cave-dweller from the far side of those mountains that the tectonic earth had long ago so carelessly slung up between Black Sea and Prince Caspian?

Surely not! I beg to differ.

On the other hand, if I am being so contentious about such a small box-chechin' matter, maybe I am a little bit of a Chech.

That is to say: a rebel.

Them doggone Chechens!--can't do a thing with 'em, as they say in Moscow.

I suppose that in Russia, when the good citizens of that country fill out forms, they are likewise expected to chech little ethnicity boxes, so the bureaucrats in the Kremlin or wherever can know what little categories to place the people in, very much like here in the land of the free and home of the brave, aka Washington SMSA.

Now when I say Chech, I'm not talking about Czechs. Them Czechs are great, especially like, Vaclev Havel. But I must also point out that they too, have a history of not taking any sh-t from the Russians, just like those upstart startups in Boston wouldn't tolerate any taxation without representation from wiggy ole King George III, back in the day, the revolutionary day, when the Patriots decided to have a Tea Party.

But that was then, and this is now. We're all Russians now! Dosvidanya. Reminds me of some old Beatles nonsense, where Georgia's always on my mind.

Glass Chimera

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Garrisoning the best of Americana

Garrison Keillor's unique retrospective is really about what America was; but somehow, it doesn't end there. His profound entertainment does not get hung up in the past. It always seems to cultivate, in the back of our minds, an appreciation of Americana that is timeless, enduring.

You see, there is something deeply therapeutic about elaborating on a precious national heritage that we share together. And I declare that there is nothing morose or counterproductive about looking back, even though Mr. Keillor's Brand-New Retrospective road show is tinged with a note of vintage melancholy.

Last Tuesday night here in Boone, North Carolina, he demonstrated to us that it is healthy, and helpful, to find inspiration for the future in recollecting the best of what has gone before-- remembering the way things used to be when we were young and foolish. Back in the day.

Nothing wrong with identifying what it was that characterized our baby-boom g-generation, then celebrating it with an evening of poetry, prose and singalong, orchestrated by the bard of the Prairie Home. At one point, Garrison started singing:

"Oh, she was just seventeen, you know what I mean."

And the way she looked was way beyond compare. . ."

We boomers in the arena instinctively joined along. He knew we would, because, together, we remember. . . I clearly remember the first time I heard those lines sung, laying in bed one night listening to my transistor radio, probably about 1963 or so. The Beatles sailed into our young collective consciousness, via the airwaves, during that rarified time of our youth.

My g-generation remembers that moment of the Fab Four's arrival from England, shaking their hairy heads on Ed Sullivan and all that, My generation-- who grew up under the strong leadership of Ike and the dubious example of Elvis--my g-generation, mourning JFK and Dallas, and believing in Walter Cronkite and Annette Funicello. All these personality vectors framed our shared experience as the first-ever TV generation.

Oh what a time it was! Never be another like it.

But the first singalong we did with Mr. Keillor on Tuesday night was not that Beatles' tune; it was an anthem much more sacred than anything the irreverent Liverpudlians would ever compose. All of us gray heads remembered, from school, the refrain:

"America, America, God shed his grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."

Then the bard of the Prairie Home crooned us into Home on the Range. The words just come back, you know, like riding a bicycle. Most every boomer remembers the tune, accompanied by memories of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Howdy Doody, Dan'l Boone, Woody in Toy Story. Say what? Woody?

Anyway, after those two national hymns, somewhere in there was when Garrison evoked the Beatles contribution to our collective Boomer memory:

"Well, my heart went boom, when I crossed that room,

and I held her hand in mine. . ."

This is what it's all about! But hey, it seems this kind of thing doesn't happen any more.

A decade or so before the Beatles, when Garrison Keillor was about the age that I was when I first heard Lennon-McCartney, there was Buddy Holly. He was a little before my time. But Buddy was not before Garrison Keillor's time; Buddy was right square in the middle of Garrison Keillor's sensitive prairie-home experience, which had been birthed about nine years before mine had popped out down in Louisiana, but on the same River, the Mississippi.

At his retrospective concert last Tuesday night, Garrison mentioned Buddy as he spun his web of preciously memorable treasures. I had a feeling he might mention Buddy Holly, because I knew the importance of the deceased singer's legacy in Mr. Keillor's mind.

I knew, because many years ago, it was Garrison Keillor's tenderly shared recollection of Buddy's small-plane-crash death that first drew my attention to the rare, provocative experience of listening, on Saturday nights, to a Prairie Home Companion radio show. 'T'was then I heard the Minnesota bard's poignant, homespun yarns about Lake Wobegone, which is a quintessential small-town somewhere out there in the mythical, archetypical, Prairie Home that we all seem to remember, even if we didn't grow up in Minnesota.

There is so much I could say about our tender evening with Garrison Keillor, but I will not dwell on it, because you are, after all, reading this online, with the attendant post-Boomer short attention span and so forth. You would. . .ah. . .you'd have to be there. But I will say this: just to hear Rich Dworsky's piano playin' was better than nirvana.

And know this: America's resilient character lives on and on, despite what soulless fanatics may do to maim and kill innocent bystanders in Boston, or in Texas or in Oklahoma or New York, or in any other place in these United States.

Garrison Keillor's shared music and monologue continues to reinforce preservation of our precious Americana cultural legacy in every venue he addresses. He is a man garrisoning the best of what America has been, is, and will be.

Boomer's Choice

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Tale from Ole Uncle rOMBus

Ole Uncle rOMBus, he usa be de stockman down at d'gov.mnt sto, back in Uncle Ronnie days, so he gots a lot t'say from a qualified viewpoint. From time to time he tell us chilluns bout tales o' what be hap'nin down on d'plantation. Yest'dy, Uncle rOMBus he be done tole us bout d'time little ChiknHank and big BenBird a'most let the flo fall out from undneath our banking system. Oh, shut my mouth, an what a close call it was! Gatha roun' now chilluns, and you shall hear, how 'merican capitalism got turn'd on its ear.

Dis is how it hap'n:

One fine, zippity do-dah day back in September '08, when wan'at nobody lookin' and ev'body be kinda layback, not thinking' bout much o' nuthin, suddenly der be one big ruckus shenanigans whenz little ChiknHank come a runnin down d'road t'ween NewYawk an Wash'n, jez a whooping an a hollerin':

"D'flo be fallin'! D'flo be fallin' out from und'neaf us! We gotz to do sumpn now!"

Down inside d'beltway, Ole UnclePrez he turn 'roun quick, and pay close 'tention, cuz little ChiknHank he be d'wine some serious secretaryin' down at d'Treasur patch. "Whaddup now, bro?" Ole UnclePrez say.

Little ChiknHank, looking' all nervous on tv an sweat'n and discombobulated like, he say:

"We gotz to do sumpn now, or all dem MBSs and CDOs an CDSs, an AIG, dey be crashin' down in subprime und'neaf d'flo! and dat whole load o' low-grade unqualified drive-up receivables in cyberspace conduit, all sliced and diced for speculat'n obscurity conflummocks, wi' cooked-up SnP rat'ns an moody AAAs--dey be crash'n down befo yo can say overcollateralized leverage lickety-split, crash'n down on AIG an d'wallstreet flo! An d'mainstreet momnpops down und'neaf-- dey weel be crushed to smithereens! We gotz to do sumpn now, Uncle Prez! Quick, call big BenBird!"

Well, ole Uncle BenBird he come along and take one look at d'sitiation, an he say:

"I believe der be only one way out dis conflummucks. We gotz to t'row ChiknHank an' his barnyard wall street pals in de bailout patch, cuz dey bin in high cotton so long dey don' know dey's toxic assets from a hole in d'groun'."

But little ChiknHank, he be hoot'n n holler'n:

"Oh no, Uncle Ben! Please don' trow me in dat bailout patch! You can string me from d'highest leverage; you can tar me wi' regulat'n pitch 'til d'Feds come home; you can e'en trow me in d'bellerin wi d'bears, or wi' d'bulls in d'china shop, but please, please! Uncle Prez, don' let big Uncle Benbird trow me in dat bailout patch! I been a Uncle Miltie freedman free-market capper since I wuz Nehi to a moon pie, an ah jez can't take it if yu'z t'let Uncle Ben trow me in dat bailout patch."

But Uncle Prez n big BenBird, dey be confalootin sump'n serious, 'til finally Uncle Ben he be done trow ChiknHank right sho'nuf inz de middle o dat bailout patch.

Den, der be a long quietude, 'sept fo little rustlin' and rump'n and grunt'n somewheys down in dat bailout patch, and d'wind blow'n up a whistlin' dixie and tryin' d'be chawin bubblegum at d'same time, til at last,

By n' by, little ChiknHank, he drag hisself up on a hickory stump rot beside dat bailout patch, an he commenz to combin' briers outa his feathery backside wi a bluechip bonus blip. Den he strut up his bad self an go agin to hoot'n n holler'n, but dis time wi' a dif'rent margin call:

"Ah'uz bow'n an bred for dat bailout patch, Uncle Ben! bow'n and bred!"

An little ChiknHank commenz t'slipp'n n slidin' 'long d'muddy trail awhistlin zippity do dah, an direcly he an Bro Timmy dey be gett'n de wallstreet barnyard boyz back in high cotton agin, and momnpops down on mainstreet nev'a knew what hit 'em wi' d'bailout patch an all dat toobigtofail smokescreen conflummucks.

Now by n by, Ole Uncle rOMBus come along an tell us chilluns de tale, an he say d'momnpops down on mainstreet nevuh knew what hit 'em, cuz, i guess, day gotz d'bigscreen tv an 32-ounce bigchillum drink to keeps 'em feelin like dey's in high cotton fo sho.

But all dat whoopfiz woobieshoobie aside, now der be no joy in unemployed, underemployed Mudville today, cuz Ole Uncle rOMBus done struck out, but hey! we all gotz to go some time an at leaz he tried t'tell us what be goin on down on d'plantation. Thank you, Uncle rOMBus.

Y'all come back now, y'heah? Mo tall tales to come fo sho!

Glass Chimera

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

the Narnia wardrobe

Nineteen thirty-four,

Nazis in

Nuremberg attempted to

nullify the glory of God;

nihilistic they were;

nixing the opinions of mankind, by

nineteen thirty-

nine, had made war a sacrament, until there remained

no decency left in their

nefarious reign over Deutschland. In

nineteen forty, they moved against the world, with

noxious occupations in Austria, Czechoslav, Poland.

Nobody could reverse their ruthless belligerance. Everywhere the

National Socialists went,

no good thing was tolerated.

Never had the world seen such hateful conquest.

Next country over to the west on the

North Sea was the

Netherlands; when the

Nazis came, some good people there hid Jews so they would

not be found,

nor arrested,

nor sent to death camps.

Near the upper regions of some refuge homes, probably

next to a wall, there might be found a wooden wardrobe, which is

not a collection of clothes, but a rather unusual piece of furniture.

Nailed or hinged to the back of it, there could be a false panel, very

narrow, on the other side of which secret accommodations might

neatly conceal

neighbors or other persons who have fled the

Nazi police, which are the beastly

nemeses of Jews and other innocent

non-aryans. We could say that beyond such a hiding place

nestled behind a wardrobe was a

neverworld of fear and imminent danger that

never should have existed. But the world is a terrible place.

Once upon that same awful time, a professorial fellow--

name of Lewis,

native of some quaint and curious shire,

near an Oxford

nook of England-- he reported the existence of a


neverland. It was, he imagined, a reichish otherworldly scene,

niftily cloaked clandestinely

near the rear of some such nonesuch transportive wardrobe;

now it took innocents away, into a

netherland of frigid fright and badness to a land badly ruled, in

necromancy, and oppressed by an evil queen, a

netherworld region beyond a 1940s' wardrobe that Lewis



Now truly, there is

no such place as Narnia, but if ever there was, I would hope the

noxious fuehrer tyrant should be

negated, and

nullified by children of the rightful King.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress