Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Mincemeat Maker

I'm not a violent person but I feel like making mincemeat of someone. Or some thing, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral. A quick haymaker to the gut, then a bunch of piercing jabs, the old one-two, a little bit of chop-chop, a couple of suplexes, and you've got a pile of mincemeat. With maybe some pants on the floor where his feet used to be.

A picture that comes to me is an old professional wrestler, stomping around the ring, yelling for the dressing room for his enemy to come out, to stand before him. Then he grabs the microphone and they're face to face, while he yells and spits his way to a rumble, "I'm going to make mincemeat out of you!" The enemy can stand it no longer and looks to the crowd, always ready for blood. He turns his back and WHACK! ... there's a chop to his neck from behind. The Mincemeat Maker is at work, making mincemeat!

Probably no one knows this about me, but I'm a heck of a Wii Tennis player. I've risen to the highest level, having hit the magic 2399 mark, and doing so by making mincemeat of Elisa and Sarah. Still, they're pretty good, and sometimes it seems like they get better. But if I'm wide awake and alert, I get in some terrific shots and make mincemeat of them. Although, I'm going to be truthful, if I'm off my game, someone's trying to talk to me, someone's wanting something, then they're making mincemeat of me. But if anyone in real life distracts me like that, I get my revenge by making mincemeat of them. I hate to be distracted...

This is the law of the jungle, you're either making mincemeat or being made mincemeat out of. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. The middle ground is where we put the mincemeat. A lot of people die in the course of a day. They're mincemeat. But the rest of us somehow stay alive. We're not mincemeat, yet, in that ultimate sense. So far I've done pretty well, I'm not mincemeat.

Still, you wake up, and bellow outside about making mincemeat of someone. Like I said at the top, I'm looking around, scouting the horizon, I want to make mincemeat of someone!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In The Past It's Always Thanksgiving

Most of us from time to time get sick of normal old daily living. It's tiresome in its sameness, some even dare to call it boring. The word I use for it is prosaic, which means something like stultifying. It's easy for our brains to go immediately numb when we wake up.

As for myself, I'm always trying different mental tricks. I couldn't make it through a normal day without mental tricks. Just a quick example will suffice. There's something wrong with the base of my toilet. It rocks back and forth when I sit down. I hate it, but I've got a mental trick. I open the back, toss in a quarter, then tell myself it's a drug store horse like they had when I was a kid. A quick ride and I'm feeling better.

Everything can be sort of boring. But nothing's more boring than eating by yourself, which I do a lot. So the mental trick I came up with is to think of Thanksgiving, when eating is a lot more fun. This is a mental trick you can really immerse yourself in, because, think about it, if you have enough Thanksgivings under your belt, you can relive those memories forever. And because Thanksgiving lasts all day, every waking minute can have something to do with it.

Of course mealtime has the closest connection to Thanksgiving memories, because it goes along with piling food on your plate, about 20 different things, so much that there's no more room but you're still stacking it a mile high. One of the big memories of Thanksgiving is that everyone else cares about what you're putting on your plate. If it's not enough, there's a comment. If it's too much, there's a comment. It's the one day of the year when your plate is everyone's business.

And how about the laughs on Thanksgiving. Not only are they commenting left and right about what's on your plate, but it's also a subject for great merriment. There's nothing prosaic about a plate piled high. Right now I'm reliving a Thanksgiving memory, a constant, my uncle's big belly laugh at family meals, especially on Thanksgiving, when he really kept track of what you were doing. It was not enough, it was too much, your eyes were bigger than your stomach.

You could even take Thanksgiving Past with you to the dentist. I need lots of mental tricks at the dentist, but most of mine involve meditation and the shifting of conscious/unconscious states, transcendence. But Thanksgiving memories would be just as good. They want you to open your mouth for the suction pipe, but to you it's a magnificent drumstick. They have a wedge for your back teeth, to keep your mouth open, but to you it's a piece of pecan pie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Greatest Presidents: Washington And Lincoln

Washington and Lincoln were our greatest presidents. They're in a whole category of their own, scary great, because absolutely everyone thinks they were our greatest presidents. In short, they don't make politicians like them anymore. They broke the mold.

George Washington (left) was our first president, so for his term in office he was literally beyond compare. And somehow he's been able to maintain that incomparable standing, even though he's had numerous successors. None of them, except Abraham Lincoln (right) has been able to hold a candle to him.

Washington's time in office was back in the earliest days of the American nation. Despite every disadvantage, he led the pack and never looked back. There wasn't anything to look back on. Everything he did, he had to invent. If anything, he looked forward, to the time when Lincoln would be born.

1732 is the date we learned in school when Washington was born. And it wasn't quite a hundred years, in 1809, that Lincoln was finally born.

Lincoln came into the world at just the right time, the time the nation needed him most, so he could help get rid of slavery. Why we ever needed slaves, and why we didn't simply outsource our cotton picking to China, I don't know. Because our ideal is the freedom of every man, not their enslavement. The biggest question of Lincoln's century was "Go figure."

Notwithstanding our ideals, we needed someone to lead the way toward realizing them. And the man for that task was Abraham Lincoln, who grew up just in time to get the job done. He led us through our bloodiest Civil War to date.

Both of our greatest presidents were true brains. A brain is pictured between them, representing their great intelligence.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Beautiful Evergreens In The Park

It was a beautiful sunny day, a great day for getting out to the park.

We strolled along, enjoying the sight of the kids playing, the Frisbee golfers, the trees, squirrels carrying away picnic baskets, and of course the shrubbery, the evergreens.

It's usually in spring, they say, when young men's fancies turn to love, and women's with them. But we saw a few summer romantics out as well.

We were looking at one couple on a bench who kissed forever. We really don't know how long they kissed. They were kissing when we got there, then we went for a walk and came back and they were still kissing! If they never advance beyond that, too bad for them.

Don't be a homebody. As long as it's summer, get out and do something. Mosquitoes have to eat, too.

The Unremitting Shield Of Vigor Vivus

That's a beautiful emblem for Vigor Vivus; it looks like something you might see on a shirt tag. My own line of clothing. Two pipe-smoking lions advocating for the abundance of life. And they've certainly got the lift in their step for the spirit of it.

Simply as a specimen of signage, it's a beautiful thing. You've got the old world traditions -- the symmetry of two guardian animals -- along with the straight baseline so typical of more modern designs. And as for the words featured, "Vigor Vivus," that's timeless, with a hint of immortality. Really, who wouldn't gather around eternal life ... the attitude of continuous, good, fulfilled life lived absolutely to the limit?

I'd like to thank the nameless designers of this basic emblem -- this shield -- for it's not actually something I came up with. It's from the past, from at least 60 years ago, and perhaps, I don't know, at that time was already being copied from some old, proud family coat of arms. Isn't that the way coats of arms normally go? Lots of animals facing one another, pipes or no pipes?

As for the words "Vigor Vivus," I'm afraid you have me to credit for that. My mission in the world, were it not for the fact that I'm not ready to go, would be over with the naming of the spirit of life. It's very exhilarating for me, yet also something humbling, to think that "Vigor Vivus" was not yet named, although of course it has been the spirit of seers, mystics, gurus, and saviors since the dawn of time, sometime after Adam. They have lived the good life -- overcoming Rigor Mortis, seeing and understanding death, but living in such a way that they could mentally and spiritually soar above it.

And so Vigor Vivus goes on today. A whole new generation of beautiful people are out there living the spirit of Vigor Vivus. Rigor Mortis is not their way. The big difference for them is that they have a term for it, a perfectly descriptive, catchy, succinct moniker that says it all, Vigor Vivus. As opposed to Rigor Mortis. It's beautiful, and now, with the term -- how great this is! -- there's an emblem to go with it! We've got the best of every world! We stand at the dawn of the actual New Age! (Not just the term "new age" they use to sell crappy music supposedly channeled from archangels, and other worthless trinkets.)

This is a fab-tas-tacular emblem -- an unremitting shield -- and one I'm glad I stumbled on to. The spirit of Vigor Vivus is very proud. Very, very proud!

Get into the spirit of Vigor Vivus yourself, turning from Rigor Mortis. My Vigor Vivus posts can be found here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bait Litter

I've been doing a lot of walking, trying to get myself back in some decent shape. I'm doing very well with it, too, despite broken sidewalks, downed limbs, and the occasional banana peel. Yes, there's been a banana peel on my normal route for the last four or five days, and I've seen it go from fresh and yellow to black and wasted away. I was thinking today, even criminals with their desire to steal know a banana peel isn't worth messing with.

Walking along, I see all kinds of litter, although not in enormous quantities. No one's got garbage cans dumped on their front yard, and it's not blowing around. But here and there, like everywhere, there's some extraneous thing that found its way free and is blowing around, if it's windy, or just laying there waiting for the wind to help it on its way. Should I pick it up?

My normal way of thinking is do-goodism. I may not want to run into you on the sidewalk -- I definitely prefer it if everyone else in the world is asleep -- but if I did run into you and you needed help, I would help. I had a case of do-goodism hit me a few weeks ago, when the men's bathroom at a grocery store was closed but they only had a small barely noticeable sign. I'm sitting there waiting for a prescription and a guy goes hurrying in. Then he comes back out and I said it was closed and gave him directions to the bathroom that was open. It turned out he was looking for something else and didn't seem all that glad that a stranger assumed he needed a toilet. Then the next day I saw a guy drop a couple pieces of paper and I thought I should probably go tell him about it, but I thought of the other guy. So I didn't tell him. It just turned out to be a couple of blank postcards.

So I'm walking along, and I see this litter, and even though I'm not carrying a bag, I could, like if I were on the last leg of my walk, pick some of it up. I have moved limbs and a board out of the road to the curb as a matter of public safety, but in those cases someone really could've gotten hurt. A few pieces of litter aren't going to make much difference.

Today, on my last leg, I saw a crumpled up cigarette box in a yard and thought I could pick it up. But what if the owner of the house just happened to be looking out and didn't know what I was doing? He might call the police and I'd be hauled off. Or -- it made me think of the "Bait Car" show, where guys show up and steal a car that's meant for them to steal, so the police can catch them -- what if there's a show called "Bait Litter" and I'm the intended victim. Of course it's entrapment -- as defined by me -- and there shouldn't be anything wrong with picking up litter, but it is private property, after all, and if the guy wants litter on his yard, who's to say he didn't put it there as a decorative item?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Couple I Saw -- Him And HER!

There was this couple came walking by, holding hands. I was sitting on a concrete step downtown, checking a number on the phone in the shade.

The boy was definitely a boy, a lucky dog. He couldn't have been 15 unless he just wasn't mature-looking, like me at whatever age he is. He was as plain a kid as any you're going to see, but he definitely seemed to have a way with the girls ... at least this one.

I looked at them holding hands and walking by ... him ... then her. With a real fashion sense. The boy, as best as I can remember, didn't seem to have anything out of the ordinary about his fashion sense. It's hard to remember. He definitely looked as plain as any boy I've ever known, not dorky looking but not jet set either. I'm trying to think back to me at that age, also not dorky looking but not jet set either. But I wasn't holding hands with ... her ... or a version of her from those days.

As they passed, I said, "Look at that lucky kid ... wow!" Holding hands in a casual way. He needs to hold hands like his life depends on it, because maybe it does. If he lets her get away, the poor kid's lost. This might kill him anyway, like your first car being a Jaguar, then realizing you live in a Ford world.

OK, I saw her. She had the kind of crazy, deft fashion sense that makes you notice. Short black dress, the kind of dark hosiery that is netted, her dark hair bunched up and pulled back, then this, the sides of her head shaved, either completely or most of the way. Sauntering by. That's about what I saw, because my eyes kept looking at the boy and wondering about his luck as a kid.

Also I'm busy wondering, Is she that much older than him? Can't really be too much older, but she had a more mature look. I kept looking down the street as they got to the end of the block. They were still going, still holding hands. Does he realize how lucky he is?

The All-Seeing Eye

The All-Seeing Eye is looking at you, seeing you, and is aware of everything you do. The All-Seeing Eye is life's supreme scanner, never failing to see the details, the dot patterns, and even the shadows behind your actions.

You are out there, and you have your own story, and so often you're trying to cover your tracks. The other guy has his story, too, and he's also covering his tracks. Each story is wrapped up in the need for their self-protection. We might listen to each story and not know the truth. But The All-Seeing Eye knows, with the thoughts and intents of each heart being laid bare before the one with whom we have to do.

Judgment is made, despite the protests, The All-Seeing Eye hears. Because The All-Seeing Eye knows. It doesn't just guess, it doesn't need to listen to bullshit, it sees right to the core, right to the marrow of every issue. And judgment happens just like that -- what it sees it also recognizes, and what it recognizes is the truth.

This is what you've tried to escape in life, the swift judgment of The All-Seeing Eye. But how vain, how foolhardy it is to run! You're going across a field, a bare path traversed by a million, a billion runners before you. Your arms are flailing, and even as you run you know the vanity of your flight. For The All-Seeing Eye is cruising right above you, right behind you. Like the big hand in "Yellow Submarine."

The more foolish among us hide in the rocks, or hide in the clefts in the side of the mountains, thinking there might be a shield from The All-Seeing Eye. But The All-Seeing Eye, hanging back a minute before it takes away that vain hope, suddenly appears, unblinking, unmoving, offering a terrible unyielding focus ... right on them. It's almost too much, and they cry out for the mountains to fall on them, and for death to spare them this plight. But of course it is their fate to live, and to be seen by The All-Seeing Eye.

To the wise among us, and it's taken me many foolish lifetimes of errors to learn the first hints of wisdom, we know The All-Seeing Eye is our life, and ultimately our salvation. The All-Seeing Eye keeps us in line, desiring harmony for us in keeping with Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss. We submit willingly to The All-Seeing Eye, as I am submitting right now.

I am about to walk out of my house. What I might do with the rest of the day, it's unimportant that I say. It's enough that The All-Seeing Eye knows and will be watching me. Believe me, I will try my best to behave myself.

In other news, "Jehovah Appears To The World."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Funky Left-Slanting Grocery Store Font

In my exploring, I found a funky left-slanting font in old grocery store ads (1959). What a weird presentation it makes, as the following example shows:

Looking through various ads, I was able to get an example of most of the letters, but a few I had to jimmy rig.

I didn't see a J, so I had to make one. There wasn't a Q, so I made one out an O and the bottom of an R. There wasn't a V, and the one I made is extremely conspicuous, too big, very funky, but it's what I could do in the 5-7 minutes I allotted for it. And there wasn't an X, and the one I made looks pretty good.

You might notice the Y looks crazy being reversed like that, but that's how it was. Concerning the M, I like the extraneous little serif, LOL. And how do you like the K? I looks like it has a lap to sit on!

Here's a couple of my favorite words, handset on the computer with this font:

"Game Toe" is one of my favorite words (two words, I guess), since it describes my livelihood. I have a game toe, and were it not for that I would not be on full disability. Because I'm healthy in every other respect. But I have a limp, and yes, it's much more pronounced whenever federal agents are around. It's thanks to my game toe that I have the time everyday to waste on stuff like this...

That's of course beside the point, the point being this great font. And I do love that serif. But I would've never put it there myself!

I also handset my own phrase, "Vigor Vivus," which gives a great display of the funky V I made. In case you don't know what Vigor Vivus is, I have a bunch of posts on it found at this link. In short, Vigor Vivus is the opposite of Rigor Mortis, a state of mind and a way of life that is life lived in rich abundance.

And finally, here's ZEN in this font:

I didn't handset this word. It's edited from the word "FROZEN," from one of the grocery ads.

It looks like there's some variations of the letters if you get a bunch of the ads together. I know there's a more left-leaning C than I used. They look hand drawn, and yet there's a real consistency to the letters when you look at them. So I don't know what's going on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jack London

I haven't known Jack. Jack London was among my nemeses in school, since we were supposed to read his book "The Call of the Wild" and I never managed to get it done. I started it probably 50 times that summer in the late '60s, but my own Call of the Wild (playing in the neighborhood, goofing off, and love of summer activities) was too great.

Fortunately, and a bit of luck I wasn't expecting, they never said anything about it when we got back to school. So I wasn't penalized for my failure, except to the extent that I tortured myself worrying about it. The other book we were supposed to read, and supposedly were going to have to answer for, was "Shane," and I haven't read it either.

I think it in 2009 that I picked up "Call of the Wild" again and started it, and that time I got quite a ways, all the way up to the part where the dog is up in the Arctic somewhere and fighting for its life. It seems like they've got food buried and the dogs are trying to get it. I forget. I still haven't made it all the way ... but any day now it could happen, since now I also have it on my Kindle.

I have a little difficulty with the premise, that the book is told from the dog's point of view. We're used to that with Disney movies, the animals living their very human dramas, but when its the nitty-gritty world of a dog reverting back to its wolf nature, it's a little different. But from the sound of things, people were captivated by it in the early 1900s.

Anyway, like I said, I didn't really know anything about Jack London all these years. I probably read whatever blurb about him they had in the '60s paperback, but whatever I may have read I forgot. But the other day I was at the library, and having just read a Jack London book, "Cruise of the Dazzler," I went and got the biographies they have, and leafed through them.

Just in the half hour I spent looking through the biographies, I learned more about Jack London than a guy probably needs to know. He had serious troubles with alcohol and wrote a book on it that I guess was supportive of Prohibition, "John Barleycorn." I started reading this non-fiction book of his own drinking experiences today. I'm finding it a little turgid (would that be the word?) and not entirely to my liking. I might need a stiff drink before I continue.

In one place he talks about taking his father a bucket of beer, out to the field. And on the way, as a 5-year-old, he gets drunk. I think I've seen something like this in a movie, someone drinking a bucket of beer. I've never had a bucket of beer! I'm up to the place where a bunch of guys in a nightclub make him -- I think he's 7-years-old by now -- get wasted on wine. The first thing I can say about that, his childhood was totally different from mine. We never had alcoholic beverages on the premises, it just didn't happen.

As for writing, he wrote a lot, and some of it is really good and some of it isn't. Because he was writing more or less for quick bucks and was churning it out. I wouldn't mind doing that, if anyone out there wants to pay me by the word, I could sit here for hours just hacking away, blah blah blah. Among the things that are the best, we have "Sea Wolf," "White Fang," a few other things that escape my memory, and "Call of the Wild." Which is interesting in the last case, because he sold "Call of the Wild" outright for a $2,000 pittance and could've become filthy rich from that one book alone.

Among the other nuggets gleaned from the bios, there are unpublished nude photos of Jack London out there. I should look online -- I haven't yet. It's kind of tough to believe that Jack London's 100-year-old nude photos could escape publication but Anthony Weiner's were out there before the proofs dried. Jack's second wife Charmian had the nude photos on the wall. She was reportedly very randy, that is sexually, but his first wife, Bess, couldn't stand "the act." One of the bios suggested he had some homosexual leanings. I'd love to read a book on this subject alone, but they just gave us enough to pique our interest.

And here's something I didn't know, that Jack's death was questionable and has been something of a mystery all these years. I'm just reporting what I read, that the older bios and people on the scene at the time thought it was suicide. But in more modern times, they're thinking it was probably just him trying to kill pain and he overdid it (morphine.) That sounds more credible to me, although my knowledge of the circumstances is admittedly limited to five minutes perusing the issue in these bios. It sounds like a good "Cold Case" to reopen, and maybe get the "Ghost Hunters" from TV on it.

So what's my bottom line on Jack London? He seems fairly cool, a guy worth checking out, and maybe you should read a thing or two by him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Bright Side Of Sex

I couldn't believe it yesterday, Pastor Wadd's sermon was on "The Bright Side of Sex." I've written before about his anti-sex crusades, so it was a real eyeopener to hear something different.

But to be fair, now that I think of it, since his ministry emphasis is on battling sexual addiction, that's not really the same as being anti-sex, although I believe he's crossed the line a few times, probably just forgetting himself. Like when he was trying to slow down deliveries from the bed store, surely not all those beds were being purchased by sex addicts.

Anyway, we all perked up when he started preaching on sex's "bright side." Then it was a little bit of a comedown when he needed to remind us of sex's "dark side," which, to be completely truthful, we're already conversant on, and he's the only one with a theological degree! To drive home this very familiar point he referred to the story of Samson and Delilah as well as several verses from the Proverbs on harlots.

According to those verses, you keep your power by saying no to sex whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. Delilah was struttin' her stuff, starting out with seven veils, then in a series of dances worked herself down to buck naked. All this time, Samson couldn't look away. Next thing you know, he's all over her ... then it's all over for him. The Philistines blind him just before he somehow acquires one last burst of post-climactic energy and kills them and dies.

What a difference if he would've seen sex's dark side. He could have killed them and lived to kill again. And we see the dark side yet today, all around us. Pastor gave several illustrations from the news, including the latest congressman to fall prey to temptation. He was very specific as to what the photographic evidence showed, a fuzzy phone picture of an erection, causing most of the congregation, especially the womenfolk, to fan themselves.

Of course he had a lot to say about the pregnancy rates among our youth. They don't have much sense, their mental capacity has been severely stunted by video games and R rated movies, and they're more or less worthless, but there's one thing they know how to do well. And it takes place in the backseat of the car, or anywhere really, be it a motel or a dumpster. That's the dark side. And they're sexting, a word Pastor Wadd coined, bringing together two words, sex and texting. I wrote that down, thinking that was pretty clever of him...

It went on like that for a while, quite a while, the dark side, the dark side, the dark side ... Then he gave us a smile and said, "But there is a bright side," which came down to this, that sex was God's idea for human reproduction. I'm thinking I already knew this, but still it was good to hear someone put it into words, especially with such authority. The bottom line is this: We are in this world through sex, the good clean sex that our parents had, after God's will.

And, he said, that's the way it was from the very beginning. Sex is nothing new; it's actually a very old thing, from antiquity. But even back then there was a strong "dark side," as, for example, in the story of Delilah and what we see in the Proverbs. But there was also a strong "bright side," as new babies were being born all the time and the human race was able to keep going. He made the point that all the "begats" that we all hate so much are the result of this very thing, the bright side of sex.

He concluded with a little more on the dark side, and what results from drunkenness, besides tattoos.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad Is King II

Our celebration of Father's Day -- Dad's special time -- continues. We're spreading the word that "Dad Is King!" We have crowned him such on his big day.

It's great to see him sitting back in his easy chair with the rest of us lovingly gathered around. I like watching my dad read the Sunday paper, the thick king-size edition they put out every week, truly fit for a king.

I love the expression, "A man's home is his castle," because it says it so perfectly, what I myself have always thought. Because if you can't rule and reign in your own house, where can you? It's only natural that a man would want that. So Dad's got it exactly right.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! We love your benevolent rule, your mercy when we approach your throne with entreaties, and especially how great you've always honored your Queen, our mother. Enjoy your special day, our liege. Sincerely, your Princes and Princesses.

Dad Is King

Today is Father's Day, the day we honor Dad as our great sovereign and king. It's his day to do with whatever he wants, to put his feet up, to take it easy, and to receive the adoration and acclaim due his name by his children.

What a great thing it is, for him to wake up and have the whole world, especially his own family, let him know that we recognize and submit to his leadership, giving praise for the benevolence of his rule. We bow before his throne, happy to render him heartfelt obeisance.

Dad can put his feet up today and let all the worries of the world melt away. We will not let anything spoil this day for him. If he wants to watch TV, he may, to his heart's content. Or if he gets tired of that and just wants to drop his head and doze off for a while, that's OK, too! His will is our own, his every wish our command.

We are here in the world thanks to our father's seed. It was the biological imperative, perhaps, a species thing, mixed in with the ordinary fleshly desires of the human male, that brought him to a relationship with Mom. Then, through both their wills, somehow, in some way they have not specified to us, they came together in a deeper way. It is mysterious. Above the world, in some dark place, there was a sudden spark, then an instant descent of a soul into Mom's womb. That became me. Then it happened a few more times, the King and Queen together in their quarters.

For something like that, I am most thankful. Surely with my very existence at stake, I can be nice enough to honor him on his ordained day. And I do!

Make way! Prepare the regal robes! Roll out the red carpet, the best one we've got! The King is passing, our dad, processing toward his throne, from whence we await his word, his will, and, if he so deigns, a wave and a smile.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cat 007 -- Licensed To Win

I went to a cat show today, first time in my life. It suddenly appeared to me that every cat is a winner. There's no real distinction between them like you see at dog shows.

The judges spent a minute or so feeling each cat, checking it over to make sure everything was in place, then promptly awarded each one a first place ribbon and other awards. I say each one got first place. I don't know if that was literally true, but it was virtually true. That is, I didn't see one that wasn't first place.

The aspects of actual competition were to be found between two or more cats of the same breed and/or color. But if a cat was white and there weren't any other white cats, that one was automatically first in color. Or if there was one example of a particular breed, that one was automatically best in breed. It was only in the unfortunate cases where there were two cats of a breed or color where the poor dears had to worry about getting second. But each one had a first place ribbon, apparently just for showing up, to soothe its feelings.

There was some definite ribbon inflation going on! How satisfying that must be for an owner to go home and say "Tabby took first place," then neglecting to mention that all the others were first, too!

And these cats really didn't have to do anything. Just let the judge feel them and that was it. There was one cat, when the judge went and picked him up, he let out a loud "ROWL," like he was upset. The judge flinched but set him on the table, at which point he let out another loud "ROWL." The judge instantly scooped him up and put him back in the cage, saying to the folks gathered, "I'm not that brave." Then he went over and put the first place ribbon on the cage. This started and ended within 20 seconds.

But think of how it is at dog shows. Dogs are working their hearts out to get a little recognition. The owners are running them around the ring. They're pushing at their feet to keep them straight. The owners are sweating bullets that the dog might move a muscle. They've got a piece of food at the ready for a reward. Then you have an arena full of dogs and basically one gets the award, or the top three.

It pays to be born a cat. You don't do anything and you're Number One!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kind Words For Grandma In The Hospital

Google lists for me the search words that bring people to my blog. It's always interesting. Today someone visited after searching for the phrase "kind words to say to someone's grandma in the hospital."

I don't really know what page they landed on with those search words. But it's important to me to cater to whatever people want, so I thought I should work up some "kind words," just in case they're still looking for something to say.

Of course grandmas end up in the hospital for lots of different reasons. There's a sudden stroke or heart attack, those are pretty common. Or they fall down the stairs. Or step on something sharp in the yard and cut themselves. Really, there's no telling what all can happen.

Still, whatever the situation, there are plenty of kind things you can say when they're in the hospital. And it definitely pays to be prepared. I myself know how tough it'd be just to show up at the hospital cold, without having practiced a few carefully prepared remarks. I might even take a printout of something I saw on a blog.

I can think of a few things you might say in basically any situation. Such as, "I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you've had. It's really too bad it had to happen. And I hope you get better very soon." She'll appreciate that. One, you've recognized it as an unfortunate set of circumstances; two, you've shared your sympathy; and, three, you've expressed a good hope for the future. But let's say you weren't prepared. You might've gone in blustering forth with something very embarrassing, such as, "These things happen. Maybe watch out next time, if somehow you manage to pull through." That's awful!

If it's a terrible illness or disease, you might say, "I hope you keep a good outlook on things. They're working miracles everyday. And I have a real good feeling about this." Actually, to me that's borderline bad. First, it seems like you're borderline doubtful that she'll have a good outlook. Second, mentioning miracles seems to put her recovery potentially out of reach. And third, to say you have "a real good feeling" seems like false hope on the face of it, because who are you? What's your track record when it comes to "good feelings" in past cases? So if you're going to use that one, tweak it for your own circumstances.

You can see by the newspaper illustration that I'm looking at a very specific case. A guy had been out deer hunting, then walked on to the porch of a store. He was trying to unload his .30 caliber rifle when it accidentally discharged, the bullet passing through the side of the building and going through the floor of the woman's apartment, then through the arm of her rocking chair, where she was sitting writing a letter. She ended up having the end of her left ring finger amputated and another finger on that hand cut.

So, let's say you know someone this happened to. And you're going to the hospital and want to say some kind words to her. You might say, "My God, how terrible! I can only imagine! What a shock! You wouldn't expect that in a million years!" Look what you've done. You're immediately on her side, because no doubt she's had a lot of frantic thoughts like that too. She sees you're a kindred spirit.

But it goes without saying that your entire visit can't be these shocked phrases, because if you say much more like that it's going to appear artificial. So at some point, I would just look at her with silence and a look of sympathy, and maybe let out a big breath, as if to say, "So where do you go from here?" But you're not saying it; it's silent and implied. Maybe shake your head, and be careful to keep eye contact. Now you're going to speak slowly and with calmness, something like, "You've been through so much ... now it's your time to heal."

If she then holds up her hand and draws attention to the missing finger, of course both of you know that's not going to heal. So there's not much more you can say about it, frankly. I'd just say, "You need to heal as best you can..." And maybe shake your head again in sympathy. Then as the sweat forms on your brow, check your watch, remember an appointment, and say your goodbyes.

The story of the woman shot by the deer hunter is from The Salisbury Times, Salisbury, MD, Dec. 2, 1958, p. 8.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jehovah Appears To The World

I know the traditional reasons why God doesn't appear to the world in an overt and obvious way. It was one of the biggest sore points as kids in our discussions with Sunday School teachers. They were very cagey, telling us that He wanted to be known by faith, which requires not walking by sight. But if He simply appeared in the sky, then this would be all out of kilter (or something.)

It's got to be one of life's biggest mysteries, if we posit any kind of actual existence to God as a distinct character and not as a force or essence to life and all things. If God is a being distinct from other beings and localized in a particular heaven, while allowing for a general presence everywhere else, although this wouldn't be called localized, then He could manifest in a way that's obvious to every eye.

Of course life and godliness would be entirely different if that's the way it was. We wake up and there's always a weird glow outside. You look up and there's a big head in the sky, and periodically a sweeping of literal arms across the sky. You keep looking and utter the slightest prayer and you see a lot of mysterious machinations up there, little doors open, and you see a host of angels descending to help, or God Himself materializes in your room while maintaining His overall visible presence.

It would certainly end all discussion of whether there is a God or not, because He would literally be kicking the ass of anyone who said otherwise. To say there was no God would be like saying there's no earth to stand on, which is a general article of faith today. It's the planet you're standing on, stupid! God's in the sky, visible to all, and at your door to kick your ass if you ignorantly believe differently.

Everything in life would have an immediate solution, like Superman being everywhere at once. Murderers would be immediately snatched up and tossed into Hell. We'd see it on TV, the Hell Channel. There'd be no need for trials, since God would literally know the disposition of every case. If I had ants in my kitchen, the barest whisper of a prayer would immediately kill them, or move them back outside.

As it is now, what have we got? A lot of competing religions, each one for the most part thinking it's got the precise truth. But if we had God obviously in the sky, He could clear it up immediately. We wouldn't have to screw around with theologians and their guesses, since, if truth be known, they don't know one single thing more about it than any of us. Everyone thinks the Pope, just as an example, is so close to God. What a laugh. The Pope doesn't know one single thing more than anyone else that is in the least actually authoritative.

I do make allowances for guys like sincere gurus and mystics, but by and large they're not talking about Jehovah in the sky, this overt version of religion, but inner experiences and realizations about life. And the way I take the Pope and other Poobahs is that they're teaching a more traditional approach, i.e., a concrete, localized God out yonder somewhere.

My own thought goes along more with the gurus and mystics and Jesus at His most spiritual. That's walking by faith. And it also explains why there isn't a big head in the sky.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teleporter Spam

I wrote a piece today on "The Miracle of Email," which as we know quickly became clogged up with spam, and in large part the miracle became a nuisance. Now they've pretty well got the spam held at bay -- at least I don't see much of it anymore. But it illustrates perfectly the double-edged sword to technology, that anything that brings a blessing also brings a curse.

One of our favorite futuristic inventions is the teleporter from Star Trek, as the crew of the Enterprise, whenever the thing worked, were able to beam themselves to and from a planet. But don't get us started on the thing not working, which, however, wasn't usually the fault of the teleporter, but more the advanced blocking abilities of the others the crew met up with.

But actually having a teleporter, it's not hard to imagine how fast it'd be abused. Terrorists beaming themselves in and out of the country, into buildings, nuclear power plants, etc., is one of the worst things I can think of. Then it's not too hard to think of other terrible things, right down to the nuisance it'd cause for all of us, like burglars appearing and disappearing from our house. We'd need anti-beaming hardware on all our houses and have to hope the crooks wouldn't be able to beam it away, then come in.

They wouldn't even need to appear and disappear, now that I think of it. They could just beam out a houseful of possessions and pick through it at their leisure back at the hideout. It'd be terrible. Then crooks would be walking around the mall, beaming your wallet out of your pants. You'd need some kind of lead-lined pants, or an alarm hooked to your belt that detected beaming signals. Can you imagine? We'd have a whole new level of paranoia, thanks to this blessing. Some blessing!

And how about this? What if you had blackmailers, prostitutes, pimps, beggars, and long lost relatives beaming themselves in and out of your place? Can you imagine being a Congressman. You're at a fancy hotel and a prostitute beams herself into your room (probably scaring the one that's already there) and there's a right wing blogger with a camera beaming himself in at the same time? And speaking of right wing bloggers. They could just beam a miniature camera into your pants, take a picture of your privates, beam it out, and there'd be another scandal.

No matter what technology we come up with, there's always someone there to ruin it.

The Miracle Of Email

I'm getting ready to check my "email," another way to say I'm going to click a virtual button and let my computer find out if anyone has written to me. Just let me pause here a few seconds, and go down here -- it's always on -- and, push, there it is going out wherever it goes; it's compiling a list and readying everything so that I the reader can see what I've got. Which this time turned out to be nothing.

I'm glad it's nothing. That means there's nothing I need to worry about, nothing to open and respond to, no tasks that need to be done like scanning something for someone or going to look up an answer to some relative's question. But it easily could have been something, and if it was that would have been OK too. An advertisement from about an album that came out today. They're very faithful about writing to me with such news.

I'm still happy for the miracle of email, getting to jot a note to someone and send it to them without having to buy a stamp. You might think there's the disadvantage that a lot of people don't check their email very often -- which is true -- so whatever I write might languish in their in-box forever. That's true, I've had that happen, in which cases it's better to use the miracle of the phone. We're past the days of dial-up when the miracle of the phone was thwarted by people online all the time and having busy signals. Someone I'm thinking of was online all the time and let their email languish, so that was the worst of both worlds.

And speaking of having to buy stamps, I've got a letter I need to mail right now and I'm fresh out of stamps. Meaning I need to go buy some stamps before I can get it done. Although you can do that online too, but I still haven't done it. When I need stamps I always need them right now, not tomorrow... Still, relatively speaking, we use a lot less stamps today than we did years ago. And it's not entirely because of the miracle of email -- emailing is good but it's not fail-safe, but mostly because of the miracle of the phone.

The phone is one of our older miracles that's still good. We've had it ever since Alexander Graham Bell first built one. A big old box phone that he hooked on the wall, with a mouthpiece as big around as a pie pan. In later years they miniaturized it, but still you had to have it hardwired in your house. I can well remember having to rent a phone from the phone company. That's just the way it was and the way I figured it'd always be. They were very finicky about getting them back, too. I remember, though, one time, somehow we still had the old phone from the phone company, after a move. I worried about that for a long time.

But back to email. I remember my first email account, and what I was thinking at the time, "What hath God wrought?" Then email quickly went to the dogs, with spam accounts. I don't get much of that anymore. They've devised filters for it, so I'm not sure who's still getting the thousands of messages we used to get. One time I compiled a large graphic of penis-enlargement spams, just the headers, and it was very amusing, but somewhere along the way it got lost.

Anyway, time's up. I have to press on with my day, and wonder, what emails will I get before the day is over? Not very many, I hope.

UPDATE: I was thinking of how fast email became old hat. That's a weird thing, how fast things become passe. If they would've told us 40 years ago that we could mail people from our desk and get a reply in a couple minutes, we would've said, "Wow!!!!!!!!!" But after about the first week of email, it was ho-hum.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Psyching Myself For 40th High School Reunion

Well, I've lived long enough to qualify for a 40th high school reunion. This basically means, if we truly had lifelong learning, I could've started kindergarten three times and graduated three times, like Groundhog Day. But because it was just that one time, I set out on life after high school and now get to go back, a broken down shadow, a waste really, of what I once was.

Fortunately, just to be truthful, I guess I'm not in as bad a shape as I could be. Of course I have some necessary aging, since I don't use any artificial means or extraordinary measures to hold it back. And you have to look a little old when you show up. If you looked 18 at the door they'd put you back with the hamburger servers. Plus, that'd be extremely freaky, like somehow you stepped through a time portal right after high school and looked the same as 40 years ago.

I went to some garage sales today and saw a big orange and black boa feather thing. I thought it'd be the perfect accessory for my entrance, but I didn't get it. It looked a little too much like a Halloween decoration to be appropriate. If it would have been pink or purple, maybe.

So I'm just going as myself, take it or leave it.

But what I'm hoping for is that I can set aside my natural shyness enough to be engaging, even with people I never really knew. As for the ones I actually knew, that ought to go OK. My resolution is that I'm not going to drink, so I'm not going for any artificial courage of that sort.

There's a lot on my mind. But to write it, it looks pathetic on the screen, like the resolution I'm thinking of not to be a social parasite. This is terrible, worrying whether or not I'll be a social parasite at an event that's supposed to be fun. The key thing, just breathe, try to feel comfortable in your own skin. Don't buck yourself up by comparing yourself to others. You're a person of worth and dignity.

Maybe a little social parasitism wouldn't be so bad. I wonder if actual parasites know when their host is dying, so they can get to another host in time to sustain health and life. That's the way soap operas work on TV. They're always off to a fresh storyline three weeks before the current storyline dies. Just an aside.

It'd be good to have a psychological GPS, in addition to my normal brain, where it tells me the exits ahead. Maybe one beer wouldn't hurt. Just train my taste buds on the essence of the alcohol and direct it to all the little receptors in the brain that regulate this stuff.

Every Town Its Own Crunchy

Crunchy is my name for a guy who's always at the library, who one time when I was there was eating a bag of cereal. He had the inner lining bag from the cereal box out and was making loud crunching noises and laughing. I wrote about him here.

That was "Surveilling Crunchy," which seemed like an interesting thing to do at the time, but in the meantime I've given up all interest. Now I try to keep my head down and mind my own business. Fortunately we haven't had a repeat performance of the cereal bag incident, since it was very distracting. Still, to me, he'll always be Crunchy, or the more formal name I gave him, J. Wellington Crunchford II.

Since I'm out now on a roadtrip, out of town/out of state, I was thinking I ought to go to the local library and see if Crunchy is a type who reappears everywhere. I'm thinking there's always mythological substratums, types, figures who fill the role of gods and demons, at least aspects of their personalities and qualities, maybe on a smaller scale, in the larger whole of existence. It's what makes life so wonderful, that you're part of a larger drama. But I wonder what makes me the observer and not myself a more intrinsic type. Of course I'm not telling the whole story, mostly because I don't know it (1), and (2) that would be something I would be more protective of anyway.

OK, I haven't gone to the library here in this other town. But let's say that I did, except I'm pessimistic as to the Crunchford type being there. So, to make it happen, I myself assume that role. I dress like him, frizz out my hair, what I have left of it, and, more importantly, show up with a box/bag of cereal. Then as people around me are studiously looking at their books, I take a handful, crunch it, rattle the bag, walk over to the stacks, and back to my table, a repeating cycle of about 35 seconds, over and over.

I don't know that I could be oblivious enough to the sensibilities of the others around me to make it happen. It'd be hard to prolong it, since my natural thing is to do my munching with great discretion. I'd rather chew in slow motion and with keen attention to my jaws, that no one would know I had a mouthful of something. OK, but in this telling of the story, I throw caution to the wind. "Crunch, crunch, rattle, rattle, giggle, chuckle, laugh." To the stacks and back. Another guy, the type of actual me there, with his back turned, thinks, "What is it with this crazy guy," and immediately tags me with a ridiculous name, to himself privately of course.

Except, and here's the kicker, in this little picture he appears! There actually is the Crunchy type at this out of town library! He may look different from the other guy, since you can't depend on body doubles, but he approaches me, wild-eyed, and literally with a bag of cereal. He breaks character, since his character is observant but with a heavy dose of obliviousness. He breaks character long enough to call me to one of the unofficial stacks, a netherworld within the library mysteriously beyond the numbers of the decimal system, and explains to me that this is his territory.

My character is such that I would want to know that he's all right. His character has that far-off look that "I'm beyond reach." But in that private area, where we both set down our cereal and look into one another's eyes, and all is revealed, I determine he is all right and knows his own mind. We talk over our respective parts in the psychological scheme of things. We clasp shoulders, I give a friendly wide-handed pinch to his elbow. He tells me in a good faith voice that he hears there's an opening at the Knoxville library, which would really be contradictory to our prior understanding of our parts in the psychological scheme. But am I doomed to be simply me? Couldn't I trade roles? Why would I want to?

I set my cereal down. He runs his hand over his face, top down, transforming his visage from present with me to oblivious and fairly blank, at least feigned. Then back into the public stacks he goes!

The picture -- The Marx Brothers picture I almost forgot. Of course that represents two apparently identical types meeting and scoping one another out. A quick thrust of the fist would solve the dilemma, but sometimes life demands a more slow motion, feeling out approach.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheated Out Of Being A Musical Prodigy

As I said yesterday, I'm on a road trip, which involved going to a different state to see family.

Among my family is one of those nieces I haven't seen very often. I saw her when she was first born, in her crib. Then a few other times over the years in her home when she was bigger but still definitely a child. Then at Christmas several times for minutes at a time. She was at the kids' table, then off to play with the other kids, while we adults sat around. And a few other times. She's the first person I ever saw who had an iPod Touch.

Anyway, the years since the time she was in the crib and now that she's getting ready to go to college have been bridged, just like that. And somehow, I don't know how, she became something of a musical prodigy, proficient and comfortable at instruments, and conversant in the finer points of musical knowledge. One of the lessons is, if you think you're smarter than a kid, just wait till they grow up and show you. I'm very impressed.

So she has definite plans. She practices all the time. She studies in a remarkable way, good enough to end high school with a 4.0 GPA, and, in short, she's everything I never was ... but let's face it, probably should've been. Enough about her, let's talk about me.

I really should have been a musical prodigy. I got a guitar way back when, 1969, and I suppose I could have really mastered it, if only things had worked out differently. I don't really remember what got in my way, but it must have been something. Then I got a second guitar around 1970, then my present guitar in 1972. My first guitar was a piece of crap. My second guitar, I cut holes in it, after the logic that if one hole made a nice sound, a bunch of holes would be better.. But all in all, I never really got that good at the guitar. I certainly wasn't studying it in a systematic way, being generally content with knowing a few chords and being able to hit a few bass notes. I rose to a pinnacle just below mediocrity and stayed there.

I actually composed songs for a while way back when. And I thought they were pretty good, although none of them ever made it big. The best I can say, my four walls enjoyed what they heard, and they still have the peeled paint to prove it. This is actually true, and I might have mentioned it, but one of my songs was called "I Get Weak." It was a coincidence that a couple years later Belinda Carlisle came out with a song with the same title. So obviously I was on the right track as far as titles went. The theme of the song was the weakness I felt whenever my beloved was near. I can remember I rhymed the "her bed springs squeak" with "I get weak."

One of my songs, unfortunately, contained a serious error, which I didn't realize till it was done. I confused the words "stigma" and "stigmatism." The title of the song was "I Have A Stigma On My Eye." I don't remember the other words to the song, but later I realized it should have been "I Have A Stigmatism On My Eye." I've had several stigmas attached to me through other issues, but to say I had one on my eye turned out to be inaccurate. (In truth, I never had a stigmatism -- which is one reason I got the word wrong -- but I thought it was a great idea for a song.)

When I was sitting there being dazzled by my niece, I started thinking of some of my musical victories, all these songs I used to write, but chose not to mention them. One just came to my mind, and this goes back to when it was not part of normal conversation to speak of farts. Nowadays everyone talks about farts and farting, and I really don't like to hear it. But back around 1971 I wrote a song called "Farts," that was mostly a tribute to my Cousin Roto. But in the song he died, although of course in real life he is still very much alive. It's a weird coincidence between "Farts" and "I Get Weak" that a bed was mentioned in "Farts," too. Something like this, he was on his dying bed, which I said (the bed) "up and died, and my friend, his soul did depart. But from beneath, I heard him squeeze ... one final fart."

Anyway, what do you supposed happened with this song? Well, I'm being somewhat confessional today, and that might be my downfall, because maybe you remember this happening. But I went to a talent show one night at my college when I was a student and did "Farts," and was literally booed off the stage. This was back before farts were mentioned in polite company, so it was the same as if I had crapped all over the floor and did the happy dance in it. They literally despised my genius, discouraging me further from whatever shot I had at being a musical prodigy. I left the Union that night hoping they wouldn't recognize me on the street.

I'm proud of the accomplishments of my niece. Of course I wish I would have known about it all these years. But they grow up fast if you're not there to see it. And she's a prodigy. But can you imagine how much greater she might have been if I had been there to guide her along?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homonally-Driven Music

I'm off on a road trip, so I loaded up my iPod with oldies, which struck me today as being very hormonally driven music. It's forever young, even if I the listener am not.

One biggie I heard was the O'Kaysions, "I'm A Girl Watcher," a beautifully lascivious song. Lip-smacking good, I'm here with the others, leering in my private fantasy world as another one comes by. Little does she know, she's puttin' on a show for me!

Excuse me for a private moment, there's another hot one coming by! But when you get to be my age, if they're under 70 they're all hot ones, and they keep on walking by. I survived that song with most of my moral stature intact.

Another great one is "Spill The Wine" by Eric Burdon and War. This is also a song I've always loved, even if sometimes I listen to it without really listening to every word. If you catch every word, you hear, "I was taken to a place, the hall of the mountain kings. I stood high by the mountain tops, naked to the world in front of every kind of girl. There was long one's tall ones, short ones, brown ones, black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones..." Naked to the world in front of every kind of girl! Wow! Oh, to be young again, or at least Anthony Weiner...

And when's the last time you've heard "Judy In Disguise"? The music break appears to include an actual orgasmic moment. Check it out sometime, if you dare. I had to clean off my iPod and let it cool down.

Most of the songs you could do something with. One of my favorites is a song called "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes." As to growing love, hey, I don't have a dirty mind. But Rosemary sounds very attractive in a 1970 hippie-girl, earth-girl kind of way, "She ain't got no money, her clothes are kinda funny, Her hair is kinda wild and free. Oh, but love grows where my Rosemary goes and nobody knows like me.
She talks kinda lazy, and people say she she's crazy, and her life's a mystery. Oh, but love grows where my Rosemary goes and nobody knows like me." In 1970, to me anyway, that was the ideal woman.

Other than hormonal music, I heard a few other good songs that I'd like to comment on:

"The Boys Are Back In Town," by Thin Lizzy. This is an exciting song that brought up for me the ideal of the poetic presence, and what kind of immediacy it can have. If I saw the song as a movie, I'd probably be more concerned about how dated everything appears. But with just the song, the music and lyrics, it's still an exciting song. The boys hanging down by Dino's, it's a great image. How about this lyric: "And that time over at Johnny's place, well this chick got up and she slapped Johnny's face. Man we just fell about the place, if that chick don't want to know, forget her." I'm singing it out loud, too, like it's a living issue I'm in on, "FORGET HER!" (This one was kind of hormonal.)

"Signs," by Five Man Electrical Band. This song the years haven't been kind to. It's absurd. The guy goes in for a job and sticks his hair up under his cap. The guy wants to hire him, so he takes his cap off and has his little moment of pique. Or how about the absurdity of a "No Trespassing" sign that says trespassers will be shot on sight. Just let a landowner try to shoot me on sight; that's an acreage I'll end up owning! Then our sign guy goes to church, and to the church's credit at least no one tries to throw him out. My sign would be, "No Longhairs With A Persecution Complex Allowed."

"Tequila," by the Champs. It's an inspired instrumental, but the real genius is putting the word "Tequila" in there a few times. Because everyone who loves it loves to hear that part.

"Leroy," by Jack Scott. This isn't an especially great song, just another rockabilly number. The thing it does for me, it recalls my near-miss with Jack Scott. I call this my "Jack Scott's Wife Story." I went to a concert where Jack Scott was going to be the featured performer, but I needed to leave early, since it would've been a very late night for me. So I missed seeing Jack Scott. But I did see Jack Scott's wife, and bought a CD from her. Isn't that a great story?

"Blue Suede Shoes," by Carl Perkins. This is a song so ingrained in my mind that I hear it and sing it without really hearing it. Today I was listening, and, I'm sorry, but I heard someone whose priorities are all screwed up. I know blue suede shoes would be a nice thing, but to say "You can burn my house, steal my car, drink my liquor from an old fruit jar," just don't mess with my blue suede shoes, to me that's crazy. I'm willing to give up my house and car but I want to protect my shoes?!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strongheart Dog Food Through History

You haven't seen much of me lately, and for that I apologize. But I've been away doing some very extensive research on one of the topics that of course I love, dog food labels. And now it's extended even to the history of dog food.

As I sketched it out over a year ago, I've been collecting dog food labels for quite a while, and have found the kind of personal satisfaction from that that really nothing else in life has brought. I hate to be too dramatic, but it might be what I was born for.

Here are the posts:
1) Strongheart Beef
2) Strongheart Liver
3) Strongheart Chicken
4) Strongheart B, L & B
5) Husky Beef
6) Dog Food Labels on eBay

At that time I listed only a few items from my collection and let it go at that, just gave you a taste. And I'm afraid that's how it's going to stay. Because one of my personal quirks is a terrible paranoia, and it really frightens me that someone is going to break in and steal my collection. So there's no reason to tempt anyone, especially with the combination to the safe right on my bulletin board.

Anyway, in the last few weeks, I've been away doing this research. I've been going through an old archive of dog food ads. There's a guy I met through a friend of a friend. Really, he's about as paranoid as me, but with some TLC I was able to soften him up. We went through several nervous weeks of feeling one another out, but finally I gained enough trust to see his archives. He allowed me to photocopy a few of his microfilms, which are below. It's some good stuff!

The first one shows Strongheart himself from 1922, the flesh and blood inspiration for the dog food. Strongheart was a movie dog. What I wouldn't give to own his skeleton!

Then we get into the actual dog food. We're going back to 1936 for this next graphic, advertising Strongheart for dogs and cats. I didn't know they marketed it for cats. But apparently they liked it, too, since it said they'd smile sweetly.

We'll leave the decade of the '30s behind (for now), and move into the '40s. Here was a good deal in 1941, before our entry into the war, 4 cans for 19 cents! I don't know if that's why Japan attacked us, because they resented our low prices on Strongheart.

Also from the '40s, 1947, this is a big ad, which I've reduced. You can't read it, but obviously they started adding Exerol to Strongheart. Exerol is described as "an exclusive enrichment process that adds all the vitamins and minerals that are recommended by government and private veterinarians..." Whatever it is, the ad explains, "Exerol itself is absolutely odorless and tasteless -- in no way affects Strongheart's luscious goodness."

From 1948, we have this little cutie. My own dog, Underbrush, looks sort of like him:

Moving into the '50s, we have this price for Strongheart:

That's not a bad price. 3 cans for 27 cents? I could feed the whole neighborhood if it was that cheap now!

Then 1954 is represented with this ad:

I like what the dog has to say, "I'M POSITIVE!", reflecting the general optimism we had in the Eisenhower years. 1954 was a big year. Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System and my brother was born.

At this point we enter the tumultuous '60s, a time barely fit for man or beast. But of course everyone still had to eat, and that included dogs.

We had go-go joints in the '60s, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, etc., and they even carried it through to dog food ads, saying, "Give your dog go-go-go with Strongheart..." The lettering for PICK-UP also represents the strong psychedelic style typical in 1962, and it even seems to anticipate "Tune in, turn on, drop out" and "Sit ins," a quick phrase like "Pick up."

I'll bring it back down with this rather plain advertisement from 1967. It's one of my best memories of the Summer of Love, the great bargains we were getting on dog food.

And last, I have one example of Strongheart advertising from the '70s, 1972 in particular:

You can see it's stylistically very 1972, and I love the 10 cent font!

Here's a big surprise to finish off this post. We're going back to 1936 for a rare picture of the actual Strongheart's grandson, Silver King:

At that time in 1936, Silver King was on his way to Utah, apparently to direct traffic as a demonstration of his talents. Silver King had met most of the nation's governors, and at this time in 1936, was set also to meet and shake hands with Utah's governor, Henry H. Blood. Silver King had some interesting dental work. Three years before, he'd had some trouble with his teeth. So by 1936 he had two gold-crowned fangs!

Monday, June 6, 2011

King Wiener Takes The Stage

All bow down and do proper obeisance to King Wiener!

He has been around as long as anyone can remember, having given us the very first children. And before that? He emerged from the clay and immediately started sniffing the air.

He knows no party, offers allegiance to no nation, submits to no creed. We might call him the Universal Pervert, but it is from his proud loins that we spring, one and all, and that is no perversion.

Every day gives us the good news, he is alive and well, and cannot be contained, except for quick visits in private quarters, sometimes prolonged, and even then he is in and out.

He is the perfect being, with the shape it takes, the size that is needed, the will to be, the drive to succeed, and the shamelessness to get the job done, ever reckless as to the consequences. Because his key thing is the drive of nature, of course intrinsically beyond morality, beyond good and evil. It might happen on a pool table.

All hail! And remember, Father's Day is almost here.

This post is brought to you by our friends at

You can read my post on "FEELIT" prophylactics.
It's basically this: I have an old friend who is their district manager in Utah and Colorado. And since pregnancy rates are way up in those two states, he's in danger of losing his position.

Jesus Talks In Red

I've been looking at The Good Book lately and noticed something very interesting, that Jesus talked in red.

Whenever an ordinary person is talking it's in normal everyday black, like most of us speak, but whenever Jesus says something, it's red. Making me wonder, How could anyone not see he was divine? At least red-speaking isn't normal where I come from.

And no one can say it's just because He was from Israel and Bible times, since obviously the others in the Bible spoke black just like us. It's only this one person who's going around everywhere talking red.

Was he a show-off? When he was in school was he talking red? That'd be very different. You're a kid in kindergarten, and every kid takes for granted that the other kids are going to talk black, then you have this other kid talking red. I actually think I'd personally be somewhat attracted to a red speaker, now that I think of it. Because he's going to be the odd man out, which some of my favorite people are.

I can imagine it might do him some good. We're all up there reciting our little memory pieces, like the Gettysburg Address. And I know Jesus is coming up after me, so I'm stretching my voice as best as I can, going for an extra lilt, trying to dainty it up the best way I can, trying to make it red -- and he's sitting there, merciful but about to show me up. Of course the teacher knows I'm a black talker and writes me up for trying to be something I'm not.

Then he's out sweet talking the girls, to the discomfort of us other boys. Or maybe he's talking red to some of the other boys, to the discomfort of the girls and to a few of the boys who are bullies. Think of how attractive that might be, a beautiful kid with long hair and the first snippets of a beard, and a very holy look, coming on to you in red. You lay back like, "Calgon, take me away!"

Then he grows up. He's working in his father's carpentry business, pounding boards and making dog houses, all of them affected in some unusual way by the same source it is that makes him talk red. Lots of trellises, ornate shutters, working chimneys, a guest room for out of town dogs. Everything he touches basically explodes in some kind of divine profusion. It's not unusual at all that he might be able to speak things into existence, his word being unique, red.

Jesus finally hitchhikes to Jerusalem to die. Pilate says, "You talk in an unusual color." Jesus replies, "My voice is not of this world. My sheep hear my voice. It's red."