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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Uvalde's Mirror

And so the finger-pointing goes on.

Too many guns!
Not enough armed teachers!
Red flags ignored!
Slow response!

I won't debate any of the above, here, rhetorically, or in comments.

First, I'm not qualified, and second, like Melville's Bartleby, I would prefer not to.

I will say this, that no-one is talking about the root cause of the problem... alienation, and a carefully nurtured cult of individualism, and non-belonging, watered with angst and fertilized with anger.

Was it Benjamin Franklin who said that we've got to hang together, or we'll surely hang separately?

I think he would have found wry irony in our fashioning our own noose.

For further reading, I'd like to suggest Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone , which looks at the deterioration of the American social fabric through the lens of decreasing participation in bowling leagues. First published in book form in 2000, before the almost complete fracturing of community by the Internet, it's all the more relevant today.

Barb added her thoughts, that there is really very little disciplining of children in these years; a spanking is considered by the government to be tantamount to child abuse, and I have heard tell of kids going unpunished after physically assaulting teachers.

We've got troubles; it's up to us, and not our elected officials, to solve them.

Oh, right. The sonnet.

Our nation's fabric has been rent
way past social distance,
for we've gone where we always went,
the path of least resistance.
Once we had bowling and bridge,
a BBQ for all the block,
but now it's Netflix and the fridge;
front door's got a double lock.
We might wave to our neighbours,
but have we heard their heart's?
We claim to have a Saviour,
but still we keep apart
from His edict; we resist,
"Two or more, I'm in your midst."

The only music I can think of for this is Ed Ames' Who Will Answer?

Please give it a listen. It's really a song for our time, and he's got a lovely voice.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is HEAL.

You can't heal by making rules,
you can't heal in public speeches.
Better to be rum-soaked fools
lolling on Caribbean beaches.
You can't heal by written word,
or by heartfelt YouTube talk.
You can't heal with sharpened sword,
but only if you walk the walk
and use your life as an instruction
of danger we won't face, but see
of convenience as destruction
of what should be community,
so put aside the screen and start
a healing with in-person heart.

Sylvia approves this, and...she sez: "Be doggy, be part of a pack, but I'm NOT sharing my ice cream!"


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Lord Of The Dance

Chose dancing clothes and party hat
with care, and wear them well,
for this might be the outfit that
you soiree in, in hell.
It's no sin to hold dismay
at this state of affairs,
but better far to be quite gay,
not putting on false airs,
but meeting monsters with a smile
and wave and friendly "Hi!",
while you're knowing all the while
that you will never die,
but rise from this, the worst of graves,
dancing with the One who saves.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is KNOW. Yeah.

This week has SUCKED. So please forgive the attitude, but I will go down fighting, red in teeth and claw.

Know this clearly, all who hear,
know this, and avert your eyes,
know that there's a time for fear,
and know ye that somebody dies.
Know that there is nothing gentle,
know that there are guns and knives,
know this is the fundamental
way we're fighting for our lives.
Know there will be no surrender,
know so long as I have breath
that I shall be pleased to render
hate unto a cancer'd death,
and when on Heaven's streets I tread,
even God will bow His head.

And here are The Dubliners, with Lord Of The Dance.

Can you dance while eating ice cream?


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Los Conquistadors

 You don't separate brothers.

Cocoa and Latte wound up at Animal Humane when their owner had to go to a care facility. They knew, I think, that they might be parted, or worse.

And then Barb showed up. "Two Chihuahuas? Sure, no problem!"

They enjoy their life, and so do we.

This is Cocoa. He likes to walk upright (remember, he's nine years old). Please pardon the background... we're cleaning!

Chihuahuas running to and fro,
Chihuahuas dancing hither, yon,
Chihuahuas always on the go,
Chihuahuas rise before the dawn
sounding like a car alarm,
"Let us out, we mean RIGHT NOW,
or we'll do your ears more harm,
leaving you to ask just how
two tiny dogs could come so fast
to rule what had been ordered place,
to upend first unto the last
and ensure you call it grace,
and thus by now it should be clear,
it's our world, you just live here."

When you look at the south end of a northbound Chihuahua, you'll see the Chihuahua Bounce, an insouciant hip-swingy prance.

It's catching. Daughtrie, our somewhat ancient Blue Heeler, now walks like that.

So does Barb.

With Chihuahuas, it's always Manic Monday.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is VISION. Easy.

The vision of Chihuahuas
is quite easy to see,
just give them enchiladas
and then please let them be,
for they have not been bred to share
their food, or of blessings bestowed,
and they truly do not care
what other canines think are owed.
Belle the Wolf has now been tamed,
The Killers are embarrassment,
for the Dogs Who Won't Be Named
are not in the least content
until they rewrite God's own laws
and the world is subject to their paws.

Three minutes, ChiChi supervision.

The Killers are twin sisters, Ridgeback-Pit mixes. They were the first to surrender to Cocoa and Latte, crawling, humiliatingly, on their bellies.

Sylvia's ice cream, though, won't be rushed.

Unless the Chichi's will have it.


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Your Dying Spouse : The Loneliness

For a while, I called this blog Your Dying Spouse, with subtitles. But dying can take awhile, and I got bored.

Still, you may have a spouse or a mate or a neighbour who's for the high jump.

That individual is lonely beyond your wildest nightmares. (Now, this isn't my situation; I'm truly blessed, but I can see over the wall.)

It's loneliness born of a forced withdrawal from life. The river flows and you're on the beach with a plastic pail and shovel...and, yes, the childish image is intended, because well-meaning folk can confuse compassion and condescension, and make the experience infantilising. ("How are we doing today?"...ugh!)

DVDs and books can help, but they always seem to have a point, a lesson, and a satisfying ending.

As Gilda Radner put it..."Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end."

When life is like that, a person needs more... someone else nearby, who can share the reality, and help validate the rest of Ms. Radner's comment...

"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

This can't be done alone. The perspective is too narrow, too personal.

If you want to help, what can you do?

You can do wonders by just showing interest, by being there, treating that person like a full adult.

Don't know what to say? You don't have to say much, beyond a sincere Howzit Going?, and What Have You Been Up To?

My God. Just to be asked by someone willing to listen, and care!

Maybe life has tightened to simple necessities and a bit of make-work...as mine has... but even those have to be somehow imbued with meaning, with value. If making one's own dinner comes at a cost, it's nice if someone recognizes it.

And stay awhile. Put in a couple of hours to watch Lord of the Rings, and turn a focused message into something that satisfies Delicious Ambiguity. Maybe more than a couple of hours, but escaping with a friend from The Sentence, even for a short time, is a pearl beyond price.

Maybe you will want to justify it by What Goes Around Comes Around. Fair enough.

But know this, that the good that goes around is appreciated far more than you'll ever realize.

Please ask me how it's going,
please ask, "What have you there?",
'cause when you do you're showing
that you really care.
Come by and watch a movie;
it won't take long to do,
and it would sure be groovy,
spending time with you,
for although I'm dying,
I still have much to give,
and I'm really, really trying,
dear God, I am, to live,
so please, dear heart, pick up the phone,
because I can't do this alone.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is BOTH.

It takes two to fix-trot
(or did you expect 'tango'),
which I would have said were it not
that its only rhyme is mango,
which is a taste that I enjoy
as additive or by itself,
and I'm glad Coke did employ
to place it on the groc'ry shelf,
or was it Pepsi? Could've been,
they sort of seem the same to me,
and I am not really keen
on studying to Nth degree
which is now ahead in stores
in the eternal cola wars.

Ok, five minutes. And yes, one of the cola giants does have mango flavouring. It's pretty good.

Music from the Foo Fighters, with Walk, from the movie Thor.

I'm never gonna die. Strong words, and untrue in the temporal, but my heart will go on, and that's a song for another time.

Sylvia's always up for LOTR, but she prefers Adam Sandler.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Good Loser

I am a sore loser. Bet that was a surprise, yeah?

I won't beat cancer in the long haul, but I can win ugly every day 'till then, by accomplishing most of my goals (say, writing sonnets as blog comments) even if I am on my knees at nightfall.

Even if my skivvies are soiled, and there's blood on the floor.

Anything for the win.

Show me a good loser,
and a loser's all I see,
a goody-two-shoes poser,
and that is not for me.
You've got to fight the good fight,
and if you fail, just smile
Then go out in the dead of night,
catch a small crocodile.
Drag it, snarling, back to camp
and set it in the winner's bath,
drain the oil from washroom lamp
and prepare to laugh
as you hear a scream and splash
before nude hundred-metre dash.

Here's a fitting clip from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is FAST. I'll be quick 

Skittering across the floor,
pirate-shouts, Avast!
Chihuahuas racing out the door;
short legs, but they move fast,
barking others from their way
as they madly race
to see what on this brand-new day
they are going to face
with hearts aflame and eyes afire;
a monster, maybe or a dragon?
Whatever, dude, it will retire
from Chichi's onslaught, tails a-waggin'!
Behold, there! Under grim duress,
it's the man from UPS!

Four minutes, under Chihuahua supervision.

Sylvia says that victory is ice cream. Can't argue with that.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

He's Not Santa God

As for the telly, I only watch Trinity Broadcasting, bar the odd sporting event.

TBN has content that's quite good. Well, mostly.

There's still quite a bit of God repaying you in kind...give us money, and God will bless you with MORE money!

And...God wants you to be well. Illness isn't a physical problem, it's a SPIRITUAL problem (and for a love gift of $100, we'll show you how to activate your angels).

I can understand where these folks are coming from, and I do believe them to be sincere. But they are perilously close to turning God into a vending machine, or, worse, a kind of almighty Santa Claus.

The vending machine analogy makes God into something mechanical...put a penny in the slot, get your desire... but the St. Nick thing is way worse, because it implies that our actions can control God's behaviour.

I think that the reality is quite different.

We give to God, of our material wealth, or of our labour.

We receive strength and grace for the long journey home.

We want to be well, but wellness is not physical. It's peace with divine will, which purpose we know not, but which we choose to accept.

The metastasis in my left humerus has resulted in a fracture (don't ask how, I feel SO stupid!), and I have to move my left arm around with my right. As in, when I lays me down to sleep, I have to use the good arm to position the broken one on a supporting pillow.

But it's OK. The worse it hurts, the more I want to work hard, use my words as I can to soothe the pain in others.

Cancer has made me better than I thought I could ever be.

Cancer makes me want to hug the world.

And that, dear hearts, is recompense enough for all I have given, and lost.

Things may not be going well,
and life's fatally flawed,
but even at the gates of hell,
keep on praising God,
not like it's some mantra
that will help you escape,
rescued by a Santa
in a superhero cape.
Even as the flames lick high,
and you're marshmallow-on-a-stick,
do not pause to wonder why
God ain't like St. Nick...
just know and say before you fall,
"I am Yours, and You are all "

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is RUN. You're kidding, right, with pancreatic cancer? REALLY?

Ah, well.

Every day I got the runs,
and Imodium's my best friend,
for it isn't really fun,
what comes out the other end.
Diet sometimes seems to help
things from getting too darn runny,
but I then I'm giving out a yelp
and there I am, back in the dunny,
if, that is, I am in time
(no, I will not wear Depends!),
and thus the obligation's mine
to wash my briefs, as clean new friends,
and there is grateful thanks that's owed
that this is not a pay commode.

Three minutes. Must be my heart talking. Or something else.

Music from The Beach Boys, with Don't Worry Baby.

Sylvia's all for hugging the world in exchange for ice cream.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

God's Colouring Book

There's a scene in one of the Star Wars movies where our heroes are stuck in a watery trash compactor, and Luke Skywalker says that it could be worse.

There's a beast-bellow from the muck, and Han Solo says, "It's worse."

And then a slimy tentacle pulls Luke underwater, and the fun begins.

Yeah, it's worse. My voice is taken, and there's another metastasis, this one on my left humerus, which, when, you think about it, my being right-handed, is really kinda funny. Geddit?

Seriously, I can't raise my arm above waist level, and trying to put on a shirt is... interesting.

But I can still count it all joy. Yes, it hurts, yes, it's limiting, but there's something of a liberation in the pain, and in this durance vile. I can see beyond what used to be so important, so very solid... all of my ambitions and hopes and dreams.

I'm not denigrating them. They were worthwhile, but now I see that the good in them, good I will not see fulfilled in this life, is but the lines in a colouring book, to be filled in by God.

And meanwhile...

 Chihuahuas running this-a-way,
Chihuahuas running that,
with them there is hell to pay,
if you are a cat.
Chihuahuas running kitty down,
oh, kitty-cat is trapped!
And then they imitate the clown,
and kitty now is rapt
to see them bouncing in their play,
rolling, now, and once again,
and kitty cannot see the way
that their waggy tails remain
attached to them, the game all through,
and tries a grab on one or two.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is DENY. Yeah, ok.

I would rather set aside,
and in point of fact deny
that I want to run and hide
from knowing that I'm soon to die.
I lie awake because of pain
that really truly will not stop,
and wonder how my mortal brain
can handle going o'er top
of the bar do ably writ
by poet-friend, Lord Tennyson,
how to smile, and be quit
of an earthly benison,
and letting go my hard-gripped rope
cast my soul upon Christ's hope.

Four minutes fifteen seconds. Maybe there's something to this one.

In respect to the science fiction intro, here's the funniest scene from any SF movie (it's from the underrated 'Star Trek Beyond').

Sylvia counts ice cream as all joy. Me too.