Monday, June 30, 2014

Poetic Justice?


   Billy Collins was poet laureate of the United States from 2001 through 2003.  He wrote the beautiful and eloquent "The Names" to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.  He's written hundreds of poems and is considered the most popular poet in the United States.

However, poetry doesn't generate much wealth these days.  So the poetry world was shocked when Collins received a $200,000 dollar advance for his next three books of poetry.  I think that's pretty sad.  Poetry enriches our soul and makes us better people.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton was given a $14 million dollar advance for her 200 page book of political pablum.  Far worse, she pulls in as much as $300,000 dollars to orally attack Republicans in an hour long speech.  Husband Bill raked in $104 million in eight years doing the same thing....

Yet people were shocked that a Poet Laureate of the United States was paid $200,000 in advance for his next three books.  How sad is that?  Read the following poems and see if they are not worth a bit more than a Hillary or Bill political speech:                      

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Pricey?  Or Priceless?  You decide.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why I Love T-E-A-M Spurs


San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich once said that he feels sorry for some of the stars on his team.  He said San Antonio is not where you want to go if you're interested in generating dizzying personal stats.  That's because Popovich believes "team" will always win out in the long run against a group of superstars.  

And there is never doubt about whose running the show on the Spurs.  While I've seen superstar Lebron James stand up on the sidelines, overrule his coach and inject himself back into game action.  That would never happen in San Antonio.  Because they play as a team and "team" is more important.
Tim Duncan doesn't care if he gets 5 points or 25 points, as long as his team wins the game.

Speaking of Duncan, if you watch Tim Duncan in the course of the game, he's got this blank, dumb look on his face all the time.  Just from appearances you would think Duncan is just a dumb sports goon who just happens to be tall.  But watch and listen to Duncan in pre-game or post game interviews.  He is far and wide the most intelligent and articulate athlete I've ever seen in sports. And he is beloved by his teammates because of his selfless play.

With a 3-1 series lead it seems most likely that San Antonio will win their fifth NBA championship under Greg Popovich.  And this victory is no fluke.  Year in and year out the Spurs seem to always have one of the best won-loss records every season.  That's because Popovich keeps this only moderately talented group of players always on the same game page.

The Miami Heat has the big payroll, they have all those superstars.  They are the sexy "starlet" and the Spurs are just the guys next door that have been playing street ball together for years.  

Give me a choice between a group of pampered and selfish superstars and a group of humble boys who play unselfishly, I'll take humble every time. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bait Car


It must be true that idle hands lead to evil.  I was vegging out the other afternoon and started flipping channels and came across a show called "Bait Car".  Now, for the life of me I can't understand why La Causa and the NAACP aren't suing this show.  Talk about bad ethnic images!  

The premise of this show is that they take a car and rig it up to all kinds of controls and cameras and monitoring devices, then they leave it in some Black thugville, and wait for about sixty seconds for a thug to come along and steal it.  So stupid are the perps that the cops leave the car door open, thus saying "steal me, bro!", "steal me bro!"

So along comes some ethnic dregs, about 90 percent Black and ten percent Latino, and their addled brains convince them that they just got to have this ride, baby!  So the climb in, hit the boom box and boogie on down the road.  At some point cop control center shuts the vehicle down...and then the fun begins.  The thugs goes all wide-eyed like those submissive negroes in the 1930 movies, and then they desperately reach out and try to exit the car.  Of course the doors are locked and they are trapped.

The thugs then begin some form of frustrated gyration; slamming the steering wheel, wringing their hands, F-ing themselves, before finally putting their hands in the air as ordered by the arriving cops.
Oh...and then the tears flow...really big time.  And almost as fast the excuses begin to flow "Hey, someone just sold me this ride!".  or "I be standing on the corner, mindin my own business and this guy come along and forced me to drive this car away!".  or "Hey, this my sista's car and she tell me I can drive it!" or "Hey man, I just out for a test drive...fella down in the hood wanna sell it to me!"

Some of these thugs are so stupid they've been caught more than once stealing a bait car.  Thankfully, the second time around they are less talkative.

I suppose the target audience is a bunch of law abiding white folks that delight in seeing the Black Thug or the Latino punk taken down.  I think it's sad.   Based on his performance in office, anyone of these guys could have been Obama's son.

Maybe Barack will issue an executive order canceling the show.  Or maybe Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson will stage a protest march.  Either way, something needs to be done cause this is not doing much to advance race relations or sell the citizenry on spending $100 million dollar to bail out Detroit or one of the other urban ghettos.

Monday, June 9, 2014

"At Long Last, Love"

For every dog that is rescued, and given a home, there are nine who won't be.  They will be the ones you see wandering the streets, foraging for food from garbage cans, making a home in the city dump, being abused by casual savages, slain by traffic on the side of the road, or are euthanized because the rescue facility simply cannot support the large number of dogs who are abandoned.

Happily, this is a story of redemption; the story of one little dog who, after living in the cruel streets for years, would get one last chance at love.

A fella named Cody Leightenheimer was working late at a flooring factory about a year ago.  He paused in his work to gaze down the length of the warehouse and spied a small dog standing in the large bay door of the warehouse.  After staring at the man for several minutes, the little dog began making his way toward him.  When Cody approached the dog, it showed no fear so Cody bent down to pet him and saw that his bones were protruding and he was covered in fleas.  So Cody went out and bought some chicken-based fast food and fed the dog.  Having fallen instantly in love with this waif of a dog, Cody began taking pictures with his cell phone and sending them to his wife.  He was hoping he could touch his wife's heart and be given permission to bring the dog home....which she did..and he did.


They took the dog to the vet and the examination showed the little guy had been so malnourished for so long that growth was stunted.  Worse, he was losing his teeth, had cataracts that dimmed vision, showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head, has open sores in his mouth, had stomach ulcers and was completely deaf.  The vet estimated the little guy's age to be somewhere between 8 and ten years old and weighed only 7 pounds.  

So the vet did the best he could but advised Cody and wife Kasie that this little dog would have only a few months to live.  So of course they took the little one home and bathed him and fed him and pampered him.  The children would call the little dog "Toothless" and the named was embellished to "Toothless Rooster Cogburn"

So the family showered Toothless with love, and everyone from the vet to family friends to complete strangers fell in love with Toothless at first meeting.  And Toothless would bask in the glow of all this love and would learn to love eating well and taking warm naps and returned the love in kind.  


And so the little dog, who had been given a few short months to live, stuck around a bit longer, not wanting to leave this harbor of love that he had sailed so sweetly to so late in his life.  But no matter how much he longed to stay the Rainbow Bridge was calling....


Cody said the little dog just got too sick to grace us with his awesomeness for one more day.  So, last week, with  his adoptive mom and dad holding his paw he crossed over that Rainbow Bridge where all God's creatures go when their work here is done.

I have two of these "creatures of unconditional love"...or they have me.  I hand picked them.  But I swear, if I outlive my two current "children" I will never again "buy" a dog.  I will go and rescue one...and he or she will no doubt rescue me right back.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Words That Wound Or Heal


They are laying Maya Angelou to rest today.  I have written before about Maya's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" giving me the first personal insight into the Black struggle for equality and what they had to endure when equality didn't apply to all races.

So today I came across Maya being interviewed on television a few years ago.  She spoke of the great weight that words have in human interaction.  She was quite specific; she said that she's convinced that words have such weight that, like cigarette smoke or wood smoke, words penetrate your clothes and work their way into your entire being and then determining how you see and react to the world.

She expanded that concept and spoke of words hovering in the air in a room, in a home, or in some public place.  She insisted that she could immediately sense whether this place was one of love or one of hate and conflict.  

I don't think any of that is far-fetched.  I believe it is entirely possible to expand your capacity to love if you surround yourself, and express yourself only with healing words, words of love and compassion.  Though I do not have that luxury, because I am a culture warrior, I would encourage anyone who has the luxury of living in a vacuum, of anyone who can divorce themselves from worldly concerns, to do do.  Really, if you are going to blindly move about a violent and rapidly changing world, why not travel in the best mode possible?

Cynic that I am, I can see where Maya reached a stage of living where that kind of life is possible.  She had become immensely wealthy, she became a cultural icon where her words are heard and where her causes were championed.  But, being a realist, and without taking a thing from Maya, I know that she was a terribly angry person in her younger years, that she succumbed to the lust for the almighty dollar by becoming a madam at a house of prostitution, and that she sometimes was able to lean on "victimhood" to justify her life experiences.  

That same luxury goes to Oprah and Obama and Jessie Jackson and Bill and Hillary and at least half of Hollywood, California.  The world is a far more pleasing place when one lives behind iron gates and can trade on their name for immense wealth.

None of that should concern the average fella.  If so many Americans are so consumed by apathy, why not join them and ignore the storm brewing all around you.  It works well for the Dalai Lama...but then that's his life role so why not?  And the Pope as well; he champions open borders and the redistribution of wealth because that is his role as well (being very careful not to speak of The Church's own immense wealth). 

But again, we are not Oprah or Barack or Bill and Hillary, or the Pope, or Maya....we are just average joes who have a choice on how we are to accept our world and what degree of peace and healing we allow ourselves to enjoy.  I'm just not built to walk around blindly and accept my fate, even at my advanced age, when it would be smart to do so.  So, those that do choose to live in a kindler and gentler world that they themselves have the capacity to create, more power to them.

Maya is certainly right about the power of words to both wound or's just that many of us do not have that luxury.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

California's SB 967; The Sex Contract


In the "Nothing from Kalifornia can shock me anymore" mode, I just read that the liberals in Sacramento, not happy that they are unable to completely regulate human behavior, have put together California law SB 967 intended to prevent "acts of passion" with respect to all sexual activity.

The law stipulates that "sexual consent between sexual partners must be assured during each stage of the sexual act".  So that no one misunderstand the "mutual sex" concept, couples who participate in the sex act should assess each stage of sexual passion as separate and specific and force both partners to gauge the relative acceptance of each sexual gesture.

Aimed to bring sanity to campus sex, SB 967 stipulates that state funding will be withdrawn from any university campus who fail to comply with the proposed law and who fail to formulate written policy stipulating that some manner of mutual sexual consent must be documentable and defensible.

For those who find this legislative gobble-gook a bit muddy, basically, those Sacramento liberals are shooting for sexual couples to use a checklist where both parties sign off/initial a written checklist so that mutual sexual consent can be "verified".    It might go something like this.

1) Couple find close lip kissing pleasant and enjoyable.
2) Couple initiate open mouth/french kissing/tongue swapping kissing without protest from either party
3) Couple embrace, wrapping arms around each other by mutual agreement
4) Male detects some degree of female willingness when he slides his hand over her breast region and find nipples distended, indicating passion
5) The female hand, resting on the male's lap, detects male erection, indicating a desire to consummate the sexual act
6) Male slides hand up the females blouse and cups breast through bra; female does not voice any objection to this act.
7) Male reaches behind female and unhooks bra; female voices no objections
8) Mutual heavy breathing ensues, indicating both couples are intent on committing the sexual act
9) Female infers willingness to engage in sexual act by pulling down male zipper and extracting engorged penis
10) Both partners shed clothes.  If sexual activity occurs in front seat of car, gear shift is forwarded to "PARK" position to afford "woman on top" sexual position.  If more room is needed, couple move to the back seat.  If sexual activity occurs at either partner's domicile, couple may drop to the floor or move to the bed, with either activity indicating the sex act remains consensual.
11) The male must move finger to female genitalia to insure his female partner is well lubricated and the clitoris sufficiently extended, thus clearly sexually willing.
12) Prior to sexual coupling, couple must mutually agree that condom is present, of a mutually agreeable size and color and is installed properly on the male penis.
13) Male must state at least once before penis insertion:  "are you sure you want this?"
14) Female must audibly voice assent with such statements as "sock it to me" or "'come on big me what you got!"
15) At any point during coitus the male must be willing to cease and desist if the female expresses a desire to stop, or claim a last minute "headache".
16) Assuming the sex act is consummated, the male must be willing to participate in post coital cuddling to preclude the "wham bam, thank you ma'am syndrome"

Failure to complete the above checklist during any point in the sexual act will subject either partner to a charge of date rape and the full force of the law shall be levied against anyone who violates California law SB 967.

Folks, I can't make this stuff California SB 967 lest you end up in the hoose-gow, sharing a cell with a burly "lonely" fella who can't read checklists.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Sad Irony Of A One Armed Beggar


At the corner of Greenway and Grand in Surprise, Arizona you'll find an old man standing on the corner carrying a donation can. He's there every day, throughout the day. To receive sympathy he buries his good left arm beneath his T-shirt and poses as a one-handed beggar. His ruse is almost comical as passersby can see a perfectly good working hand and arm squiggling about beneath his T-shirt.

Just across the street is an open field where Mexicans gather and hope someone will pick them up to do yard work or other day labor chores. The Mexicans are dressed cleanly and are alert for any interest from a car going by. They are equally immaculate with their surroundings; they bring with them large black trash bags to collect their soda cups and lunch bags and thus keep their "work place" tidy.
Back across the street the elderly "one-armed man" will call to the Mexicans across the street, screaming incoherences that would not be understood even if they spoke good English.
Over the last couple of years I've driven past these two co-habitating factions dozens of times. While I'm against illegal immigration I am heartened when I see the Mexican labor pool has been pared down to a few dozen from the two hundred who show up at dawn looking for a few hours work.
But I had little sympathy for the one-armed "poser" until a few weeks ago. It happened one spring day when I had my car windows down and could hear what the old guy was spewing. At this particular time the old guy was lecturing a young Mexican kid who was waiting with his bike for the signal to cross the busy Grand Parkway. Though I could clearly hear the old man's "speech" I realized that he wasn't making any sense, neither to the kid waiting to cross nor to me through the open car window.
It was then that I realized the irony; the old man was indeed handicapped, but not from the "missing arm"; instead his brain was fried from some sad trek down the road of addiction...crystal meth or bath salts or didn't matter...something had robbed him of his sanity. 

So, I called him over, grabbed a bunch of change from my car change drawer and handed it over. I realized he need a "hand" after all.

Dogging On Hot Dogs?


Someone at the big 5 hamburger chains needs to explain to me why they don't sell hot dogs.  About once a month or so I get a hankering for fast food....but I often have to drag myself kicking and screaming to a burger joint cause I know I'm going to get a semi-cold hamburger or cold soggy fries.
Even when the burgers are half way decent, sometimes I just hunger for a change of pace.

So why the hell won't Burger King or MacDonalds or Wendy's sell me a hot dog...or a chili dog?  Am I the only one in America that is tired of fried chicken or hamburger patties?  Geesh!

Yes, I know Weinerschnitzel sells hot dogs and chili dogs, but there are simply not enough of them around!   Plus, their fries suck really badly!   Jack In The Box will sell me an Asian salad or an Asiaio Chicken sandwich but can't be bothered with weiners?  

It can't be the costs!  I can drive up to Costco and get a foot long hot dog, or polish sausage, and huge cup of coca cola for $1.50!  While I don't expect Mickey D's to offer me that same kind of deal I am amazed that they are not willing to make me any deal at all!

When I was a kid in high school they had a snack bar right outside the school cafeteria.  If I didn't like what the school was serving inside I could always step up to the snack bar and buy a foot long hot dog for a quarter!  And it was great!

So I'm not getting these Big 5 clowns and their multi-million dollar test kitchens....where they dream up those grisselly McRib sandwiches, or their baconaters with bacon slices so thin you can see right through them, or or their square patties on round buns!  

At not one of those test kitchens did some brainy fella come up with the idea of selling hot dogs?  Are you kidding me?

Just give me an order of Mickey D's fries, and one of those little paper boats loaded up with a couple of chili dogs...and I just might visit them once a week instead of once a month....that's a "400%" increase in business!  So some one get off your buns and boil me a weenie!