"Hey! Hey!" DinkyDau Billy shouted, as he slid to a stop in the parking lot of The Holy Land Quickee's. Leece and I were sharing a Mississippi Mud at the outside table, and taking in the very pleasant morning.
"Hey yourself, Billy!" Leece exclaimed, "where are you off to?"
"I'm doon some arkeeology today," he confided, "kinda like Indiana Jones!" Billy was excited.
"Really. Where is this taking place?" I asked.
"Out south and west of Swink," Billy gushed, "it's unbelieveable. They's all kindsa artifacks there."
"Wow!" Leece exclaimed again, "is this some kind of Indian mound?"
"Yeah! Yeah! That's it!" Billy replied, "I think it's the Oakley tribe. They's talkin' about Oakley out there alla time. Hey. Hey. I gots ta go! See ya!" And with that, he hopped back on his Ghisallo and hied off down the road.
"Are you going to tell him?" I asked Leece.
"I don't think so. I think you should."
Leece snickered and shook her head in resignation.
"Hey. Hey. I wuz talkin' ta a coupla Smile Hi bidnesspeople the other day," DinkyDau Billy told us.
"Yeah?" I responded.
"Yeah, they wuz talkin' 'bout Senate Bill 200, in the Colerader ledge," he explained.
"SB200. Oh, that's the one that Dobson is going nuts over, isn't it?" Leece asked.
"Yep. He maintains that it's going to result in public bathrooms being unisex, and upstanding, proper Christians are going to be subjected to homersekshuls of either sexshul persuasion, and maybe some what ain't sure of their sekshul persuasion, peeing and poopin' in the same room with 'em." Billy snickered at the thought.
"I've seen a bunch of those forwarded emails about that," I shared, "you know, the ones where the forwarder is too stupid to remove the hundreds or even thousands of preceding email addresses and inane comments about 'send to everyone in your address book or God will strike you dead where you stand. The fact is, Dobson is as full of crap as a heifer in the local feedlot. SB200 doesn't say anything like that."
"Scare tactics," Leece observed, "they're good at that. They rely on people not looking these things up themselves. After all, it's Doctor Dobson himself. Who could possibly doubt someone with those well-established credentials as a Real Christian?"
"You gots it, "Billy agreed, "and when it's a real hot button item like homersekshulality, it gits 'em all riled up. It's worser, I think, than takin' God off the nickels."
"I don't understand the Christian obsession with homosexuality," I said, "I mean, I can see where they can consider homosexuality a sin; they can get that from the Bible. But they do not seem to be able to separate the person from the behavior. The behavior may be a Biblical abomination, but is the person an abomination? I don't think so. Besides, does the Bible consider basic homosexuality a sin? Or is it the criminal and sadistic type of homosexuality that was practiced, or allegedly practiced, in places like Sodom and Gomorrah?"
"Yeah. You'd think practicin' Christians would be able to separate the person from the act. But they don't. They hate homersekshuls with a passion of Biblical proportion. Did Christ hate homersekshuls? Did Christ hate anyone?" Billy posed the Questions.
"Well, it must be OK. Look at that Westboro Baptist Church and their 'God Hates Fags' website. They're Baptists. Men and women of Christ," said Tookie, somewhat facetiously.
"What do you mean, 'allegedly practiced', " asked Leece.
"You gonna play the old 'sola scriptura' argument?" Billy queried, "that's a dog that don't hunt. 'Sola scriptura' is a paper tiger. Preachers use it to avoid thinking. Congregations use it to avoid thinking. Whose view of 'sola scriptura' do you accept? How many different biblical commentaries are there? How many translations of the Bible? How many interpretations?"
"In any case, it's just another example of why people don't like the Church, and don't like Christians. How can you accept a church wherein the people practice hatred and loathing? How can you accept a church wherein the people express hatred and contempt for other people? And, do they hate homersekshuls who abstain? Who are practicing abstinence?" Billy was on a roll.
"Oh, it applies to a lot of Christian activities, " Tookie observed, "like how so many of them vapor lock over the very idea of drinking. Christ guzzled wine, and he appreciated good wine, too. Look at the miracle at Cana. Some idiot once told me that they all drank wine because the water was bad. Like a guy who could make several barrels of pretty good wine out of bad water couldn't just as easily make several barrels of good water out of bad. They must think we are all as stupid as they are." Tookie was obviously not filled with Christian charity at the moment.
"The idea that drinking is a sin is not supported by Scripture," said Leece, "but the idea that drunkeness is a sin, is."
She was right, of course. Drunkeness is just a form of gluttony. Which gives one pause for thought...consider all those Christians who rail against drinking, stuffing themselves to bursting at the last church potluck. Who is sinning, and who is not?
Here is a link to Markham's brief comments about her stay in The Smile Hi City:
Day 26: 297 miles
Note her comments about the cheap gaudiness of the Royal Gorge tourist trap. She didn't like it. This is a common reaction these days. More and more people are going for a higher quality of tourism. Heritage tourism. Nature-based tourism. Birding. Cycling. Tooling about on a Vespa and taking the time to smell the roses. Rushing about from one fake gunfight to another, or from one rack of plastic arrowheads to a rack full of rubber "Real West rattlesnakes" is not nearly as big a draw as it used to be.
As with the La Junta link to the registration database, just click on the link above to go to the town page that will allow you to enter your phone contact information into the new Code Red system. There is a basic explanation of the system on that page.
A Manzy batter takes one away from Swink Quickee's catcher Leo Borlock.
The Holy Land Quickee's Dante Estrada takes 2nd in a slide in under the gun.
Swinkster Bailey Rorick gits one...
And we couldn't help noticing this little beauty out in the parking lot.
City of La Junta Code Red Emergency Notification System
Click on the link above to go to the city page that will allow you to enter your phone contact information into the new Code Red system. There is a basic explanation of the system on that page.
Commerce City Beacon
Commerce City Beacon - Commerce City,CO,USA
By Dorothy Miller When I was in high school in La Junta I had several Italian girlfriends. Some of their families had lived there from the time of La ...
Commerce City Beacon
Commerce City Beacon - Commerce City,CO,USA
La Junta had a busy theater too and when I graduated from High School I worked at the Fox Theater as an usher. It was fun. We had lovely green uniforms. ...
Commerce City Beacon
Commerce City Beacon - Commerce City,CO,USA
Most of the cowboys I knew in my hometown of La Junta were what we called "drugstore cowboys," who never rode a horse and since they were often found around ...
Commerce City Beacon - Commerce City,CO,USA
I remember the USO from my hometown of La Junta because my sister went there to dance. I wanted to go to those dances but I was too young and by the time I ...
We were sitting at the table outside The Holy Land Quickee's, having a morning cappie and nibbling at a shared package of Granma's Chocolate Fudge cookies. They're great dunkers.
"Hey, Billy, how're you doon?" asked Leece.
"Not very," our stalwart replied, "I still gots my knickers twisted over no more WondeRoast. No more Ringofish, either. An wut's more, I bin talking to summa them former employees. Seems they had no idea they was gonna git the axe. They come to work on Saturday morning and that was it. You outa here, dude. Nice workin' witcha."
"Huh. Isn't that exactly what they did out at the pickle plant?" I asked.
"Yes, I believe so," agreed Leece, "they just came in and dumped the news on the unsuspecting victims, and that was that."
"Wow. That's cold, isn't it?"
"Cold isn't the word. Hey. Hey. I gots more news, too. You remember The Great Tractor Fire?" Billy was off on a tangent. Or maybe he was sailing on a different tack altogether.
"Yes, we do," said Leece, "how could we forget all the drama?"
"Yeah. Yeah. Well, I bin researchin'," he shared, "over at the courthouse. I bin lookin' into who owns what land."
"Why? What land?"
"Well, at the fahr district meetin', that Wallace feller said he dint want Joey Gacnik on 'his' land."
"Well, lotsa these 'landowners' down these parts don't really own the land. They lease it," Billy said.
That was certainly true. It was also certainly true that while leasing land gives one some wide-ranging rights, it isn't quite the same thing as owning it.
"So I went to find out who really owned that land. It don't look like it's Wallace."
"What, it's BLM land or state land?" I asked.
"Nope. Looks ta me like it's city land. Kin I have summa them cookies?"
I gave him a chunk. He nibbled away.
"Yep. Looks ta me like The Smile Hi City really owns that land." He nibbled some more.
That was interesting. It was..."The Peoples land." Is that kind of like "The Peoples' Munny"?
"Hey. Hey." Billy was chewing thoughtfully on his fudge cookie.
"When is he gonna clean up that diesel spill on The Peoples' Land?" Billy wanted to know.
"Good question. I'm sure it will be cleaned up promptly and surely it will be cleaned up as required by the EPA and other state and Federal agencies."
"Ummmmhmmmmm..." ruminated Billy,"Kin I have another cookie?"
Leece pulled a package out of her bag and gave it to him.
"Billy, you seem to be wallowing in despondency this morning," Leece observed, as we walked up to him on our way back from Daylight Donuts.
"Yeah. Yeah," he agreed. He had a real hangdog look, and his eyes had the bleary look of someone coming off a three-day binge. But Billy was still on the wagon.
"So what's up?" she asked.
"You see the signs in the windows?" he asked.
"Yes, I do. It looks like we are going to lose another long-time Smile Hi City business."
"Yeah. Yeah. They ain't gonna be no more WondeRoast," Billy whined.
"Well...it's a sad thing, but you know, you can always root around the dumpster behind KFC..."
"KFC! KFC?" Billy was fired up. "Ain't no way. They's too much grease in that stuff. It don't keep in the dumpster."
We didn't know that. That would explain the drop in dumpster divers behind KFC during the warmer months.
"...or go out to Walmart. Most people really like the Walmart fried chicken. Baptists especially. Look how hard it is to get a fried or roast chicken out there most early Sunday afternoons," she continued, not missing a beat.
"I'd have to agree with Leece," I told Billy, "I've heard some of the churches in town actually plan their let out time on Sundays so as to give the congregations time to beat the Baptists out to America's Favorite Place to Shop."
"Huh. Is that theologically or Scripturally supportable?" he asked, ever the inquisitive scholar.
"I don't know," I confessed, "but that's the way it is."
"Well...it ain't gonna be the same. They's the Ringofish, too, and deep fried pork chops. This is a cultural disaster," Billy agonized.
"Don't tell those ranchers you like deep fried pork chops, Billy, especially with the Pinon Canyon thing still going on," Leece warned.
"It ain't gonna be the same," Billy moaned.
Nope. It isn't. There go the Mississippi Mud ice cream sandwiches, too.
This little device eliminates all of that. It's the slickest thing since flush toilets and electric curling irons:
Tookie, out of school for the summer, had ridden over for a cappie. Instead, she was sipping on a pint of milk. Leece was unsympathetic to Tookie's social requirements. Tookie, somewhat miffed, was making a big deal out of nibbling from a bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans as she sipped her milk. She nibbled each bean with a 'so there' smugness that Leece ignored.
"Hey! Hey! You pickin' on pastors agin?" Billy asked.
"No...not really, though they will undoubtedly think so. They have a hissy fit whenever someone doesn't buy into whatever predigested theological pap they pump out. Look at the snit they were in over the changes in the religion page in the paper," I replied, "they really need to get their big girl panties on and get used to the idea that a fast-growing number of people doesn't buy into their insipid 'teachings' and vapid 'devotionals'."
"Yeah. Yeah. Seems so," Billy nodded, a more difficult task than you might think, given his dreadlocks and the fact that he was dunking a cookie chunk at the same time he was nodding and trying to slurp his cappie. Billy is nothing if not coordinated.
"I would have thought that the theological brainpower of the community would have been using the religious opinions page to comment on something like that Evangelical Manifesto," observed Tookie, "or perhaps a review of Thompson's 'Women in the Ancient World'."
I couldn't help snorting a bit of cappie up my snoot as I sipped.
"Toots, you gotta be kidding. Most of these guys seem to subscribe to that so-called 'Titus 2' model. You being a woman, or soon to be one, should be learning to keep your mouth shut, to peel potatoes and keep the kitchen floor clean, and sew buttons on. When a man wants your opinion, he'll give it to you."
Tookie bit down hard on a 'spresso bean.
"I prefer the 'Janine Metcalf model'," she retorted, "who, along with John Wesley, has a much better handle on what 'inclusive' means regarding womens' roles in the church. Exegesis is a wonderful thing, though it apparently gives a lot of people a real pain between the ears."
Metcalf is the author of "Ablaze with love: The living legacy of our Nazarene foremothers". She has a more global view than the old 'keep 'em barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen doing up Sunday school lessons for kindergartners' than do many of our deep thinkers in the church.
"Well, we better get going," said Leece, who had been strangely silent this morning.
"Hey. Hey. Leece. Dude. You bin strangely silent this morning. You OK?" Billy was concerned.
"Oh sure. I was just minding my manners and taking the Titus 2 model literally, and keeping my mouth shut while you great brainpowers debated my fate in the church."
"Oh, that's OK," Billy observed, expansively, "shucks, you can reed and write and even do sums in your head. You can chip in yer two sense worth ever so often. Just make sure you gots dinner ready later on. You gotta set an example for Toots Sweet here."
Billy had no idea how close he was coming to meeting his maker sooner than anticipated.
Stan is shocked that someone would take issue with Brother Ron Skorick's rather narrow-minded and downright testy - and very exclusivist - viewpoint as he expressed it a few months back. "Surely you're jesting," Brother Stan says.
Nope. Not at all, Stan. Not at all.
Stan goes on to illustrate how Christianity is not exclusivist. But Stan is speaking theoretically. He is not speaking of reality, of how Christianity is practiced today. If he were, he would be addressing such things as the decline of the Christian churches - the established denominations as we know them - in this country, today. He would be bemoaning the greediness of the prosperity preachers. He would be weeping over the crassness of the televangelists. He would be gnashing his teeth over neo-Pharisaic bastardizations of Jesus' teachings. He would be reaching out to his brother Christians in the Mormon church, and the Jehovah's Witnesses, both groups being avowed believers in Christ as Redeemer and Savior. Surely Brother Stan does not parrot his brother Christians in disparaging the Mormons and JV's as 'heretical cultists'. Does he?
Let's look at an example of Christian exclusivism that is a little closer to home. Remember Brother Tony Bolen's first contribution to the religion page? That one where he went off over the very idea of a Christian pastor standing in a prayer circle with heathen non-Christians? He even foamed and frothed a bit over the Christian pastor actually joining hands with the heathens. Heathens, you see, don't count, and we don't want to touch them or mingle with them for they might corrupt us. What does Christ think of that? How can someone come to Christ if his representatives in the form of the pastorate recoil in horror at the very thought of even touching a non-Christian?
But Riley really shows how out of touch he is when he states that calling Christians "judgmental" is a demonstration of ignorance. He says that "...the Church, except for certain of our own ignorant, has never claimed a right of judgment on this issue." How many comprise that 'certain of our own ignorant'? Ask why so many of the unchurched refuse to enter churches today. Yes, Riley is correct when he says that Christ was inclusive. Christ was inclusive. Christians, however, all too often tend to be quite the opposite. Refusing to see this is one reason why the church is declining in these United States today.
I really like Thomas Jefferson's comment to Mrs Samuel H. Smith, on the nature of pastors and priests. Jefferson, you will recall, is the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, and was a major contributor to the Constitution:
"My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there."
Many of our local clergy seem to illustrate that perfectly with their attitudes and their writings.
Then, in one of his letters to John Adams in 1814, Jefferson said:
"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."
So much for the author of the Declaration of Independence's views on Biblical inerrancy, especially regarding the King James version. Jefferson apparently did not buy into the view that God handed an autographed copy of the King James version, both testaments, to Adam and Eve as they were headed out the gate of the Garden of Eden. I wonder, however, what TJ would have though of the Interpreter's edition of the New Revised Standard version?
You would think if these local pastors were going to write something, they would at least write something sensible.
Iowa hands out volleyball team awards
Junior Emily Hiza was named Best Defensive Player. The Swink, CO, native played in all 109 games at libero. Hiza collected 493 digs and averaged 4.52 per game, which ranked seventh in the Big Ten. She was also named to the all-tournament team at the Hawkeye-Holiday Inn Challenge.
From the Hawkeye Sports website:
Photos courtesy Mike Fazio
CSU's Pearson is one of the nation's top heptathletes
"One of the things I've seen this year is she's finally started to realize how good she is," said Tim Cawley, the assistant coach who works with CSU's multi-event athletes. "It's one thing to have the talents and the tools, but it's another to realize you have them. Now that her confidence is starting to meet up with her talent, she's starting to have some really big scores, and she's starting to enjoy herself and really starting to have a lot of fun with it."
She does good work. Here is an excerpt:
About the photographer
La Junta, Colorado, United States
I am an aspiring photographer just beginning my journey into the wonderful and stressful world of wedding photography. I have shot 3 weddings for friends and a family member. I currently am available for most dates in 2008. If you have any questions let me know!
Click on the link above for more info and some samples of her work.
"Man, these things is the best burgers in the Valley," Billy exclaimed, "you gice orter have one!"
He was right about them being the best in the Valley. They were almost as good as those monster burgers you could get up at El Cid.
We ordered a couple, and got a couple of root beers, and sat down with Billy.
"How's it doon, Billy?" asked Leece.
"Purty good. Hey. Hey. Wutcha think about Rocky Ford's fiscal fiasco?" he asked.
"Well, it's a shame," Leece said, "and I hope they can get it straightened out, but they may be too far in the hole. Time will tell, I guess."
"Huh. Huh. Wuddya think about their new water slide?" he went on.
"Water slide?" I had no idea.
"Yeah. Yeah. They blew $90,000 on a 20 year old water slide from somewhere up in the metro area," he confided.
"$90,000? What are they doing spending that kind of money on a water slide when they can't even keep the copshop or fire department going?" Leece was mildly incredulous.
"That's the question, ain't it. And, it's been in storage for the last three years over at the fair grounds," he revealed.
"Why?" I wanted to know.
"Cuz it don't fit their pool. They gots ta modify the pool before they can install it. Besides, it's twenny years old, man, what kinda shape ya think it's in?"
"Huh. Good point. I think the WipeOut at our pool is coming up on replacement. You know, those things are exposed to chlorine-treated water running over them, and dripping over them, all summer long. Some of them may be all year long. That takes a real toll, even with regular maintenance," Leece shared.
"They get to the point where you are spending more on upkeep than it's worth, and don't forget, you need a couple of pumps. You have one in service, and a spare. The spare let's you keep it in service if one pump goes bad, and anyway, you get the in-service pump overhauled every year and rotate them," Billy went on. He had apparently studied the matter. "Hey. Hey. They can allus keep the thing in storage at their new 4-H building, along with their po-leece cars and everything else that's falling apart." Billy can also be quite cold.
"Their public safety facility is falling apart. Why are they looking at $800,000-odd for a 4-H building is what I don't understand," I added to the mix.
"Their streets are falling apart. Last time I was ridin' over there I near disappeared in a pothole," Billy commented.
"Well...let's hope that despite the foolishness we sometimes deal with here in The Smile Hi City that we can stay on track. Mostly the council and the utes board and the city administration seems to do that. Hey. We have to go over to the soccer games here shortly."
"Yep. They gots a good rec program, hey?"
And so we went to take pictures of the soccer games, not having to worry over much about disappearing into potholes, and knowing that if by some freak of chance we did, the cops and the fire department would be there pretty quick.
Here is the excerpt:
"It’s somewhat pathetic, isn’t it, that rather than making our initial judgments on the merits of the Manifesto we choose first to skip the document altogether and go straight to the signatories to ascertain whether or not we will agree with its contents? This tendency is precisely what ails the evangelical movement. Loyalty to personality has replaced commitment to principle. Whether I allow my name to be seen with yours is determined more by your view of global warming, which may be different from my own, than it is by the distinctives of the gospel. It also betrays an inability to think for ourselves."
Yep. Edwards has it nailed. That's the first thing I noticed after the Manifesto was published. It is indeed "...a document with a clear articulation of the gospel in the Reformation tradition exhorting evangelicals to more faithfully live out the gospel in the culture as politically engaged followers of Jesus Christ."
It is easy to discern, based on the Manifesto, that God is not a Republican and that Jesus, recognizing the truth of his comment about rendering unto Caesar, in the broad sense, is not going to endorse Obama, Clinton, or McCain. And, I doubt that Jesus even listens to Tony Bolen's tiresome exhortations about Ron Paul.
Here is the link to the commentary:
"An Evangelical Manifesto: Timely or Timeless?"
Uber liberal columnist Mark Morford in the SF Chronicle has written a piece that suggests that the actions of the California Supreme Court to overturn the gay marriage ban is proof of "the twilight of the Bush Endtimes and the right wing hate machine is no longer the nasty Hummer of bloviated pain it once was ."
"Or is it? This is the big question now facing the intelligent and sex-positive world: Can they succeed? Will the forces of religious righteousness and repressed sexuality and violent Biblical misunderstanding be able to pull one last Rove-like maneuver out of the hat of conservative hate? Put more simply: Are the farm-belt minions still sufficiently scared of happy gay people in love? "
I don't care if gay people can marry. I don't care if they can't marry. I don't care if someone is gay or straight. But that last line shows the same kind of contempt for Hicks from the Sticks as we see in Lynn Allen's contempt for city slickers in her columns.
There's no difference in thought processes at all. Just opposite ends of the spectrum. She paints city dwellers as self-absorbed yuppie-types dumber than dogcrap, possessed of no common sense whatsoever, and with no sense of the world in which they live; this guy paints Hicks from the Sticks as fundamentalist, homophobic moonbats who think the world is only 6,000 years old and that the bible was handed personally by God (autographed, too), New and Old Testaments (King James version, of course), with the ink still wet from the Zondervan presses, to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
All you have to do to understand 'why' is to look at Rocky Ford.
According to Richard White of Grimsely-White, the accounting firm that audits both La Junta and Rocky Ford, "I would foresee in the future of Rocky Ford nothing very positive."
White went on to state, "You can't support recreation; you can't support fire; you can't support police. You have to run it like a business."
That's right. You can't run it on wishful thinking. You can't run it as a charity because people are on fixed incomes. If you are in a position of authority and responsibility for the city you have to look out for the city's overall well-being.
Does that mean you can cavalierly blow off the people on fixed income? No. Not at all. There are programs available to help. As a city official, you can use city channels to educate people on what help is available. What you should not do, as a city official, is put off raising rates while decrying the fate of those on fixed income, as though you can by some fiscal miracle take care of everyone. The Federal government can't even do that, though the Democrats haven't figured that one out yet.
And you can't use the rate structure, the failure to raise rates to keep the funds fiscally sound, to pander for votes, either. If you do that, sooner or later the lights are going to go off, and as people shiver in the dark, they will remember who put them there.
Rocky Ford is floundering fiscally. White told them, as he has for years, "You have to run it like a business."
Here in The Smile Hi City, "run it like a business" has been the mantra since Carmie Sarlo, and it has worked well. So long as the governing body remembers that, we'll avoid the fate of Rocky Ford. As for those who will have difficulty...well...what's a community for than mutual care and mutual help? The churches, for example, pride themselves on their Christian spirit. But does that apply locally, or are they focused on sending wheelbarrows of money to missions overseas? Or do we just insist that government do it all.
Bald eagle. Male half of a nesting pair. Unfortunately, the eggs are sterile, according to one of the Raptor Center workers.
Same eagle; different attitude.
Western tanager? He doesn't have a very red head, but he does have a blush. What about the black throat?
Same bird, different angle.
Can't tell for sure, but it's a big ol' beastie.
"Hello, Billy," Leece greeted our stalwart,"how are you doing today?"
Billy just mumbled something in disgruntled fashion.
Leece looked over at me, eyebrow raised.
"Hey Billy. What are you drinking, dude?" I asked.
"Diet Dr. Pepper," he replied, washing down a mouthful of greasy feathermeat.
"Huh. So why the plain brown paper wrapper?" I asked, "you look like a Skid Row bum hiding his Mad Dog."
"Plain brown wrappers is gonna be a thing a the past," Billy stated, "when The Edge finally closes."
Leece looked puzzled. "What do you mean?" she asked. I had an inkling. I kept my mouth shut for the moment.
"I can't talk to you about it," Billy told her, "it's too sensitive and I'm a sensitive kinda guy."
"What's he talking about?" she asked me.
"The Edge is a source of sex toys," I told her, "quite possibly the premier supplier in the Northern Otero Metroplex."
"Except for that preacher down the road toward Pebbler," Billy interjected. I let that one slide. Though he might be right.
"Sex toys? You mean..." Leece sputtered.
"Yep. Plastic penises and vulvas and other anatomically correct playthings," Billy said, "Swings. Whips. Chains. Handcuffs. Leather goods. Rubber goods. You name it. Quality goods, too."
"Ummmm...." Leece was kind of speechless. This was a rare thing.
"So, Billy, why are you so despondent about this. You aren't a collector of such items," I pointed out.
"Well, no...I'm not. But it's another business going belly up in the downtown area. The purchasing demand will just go elsewhere. I hate to see our classical downtown dry up even more than it already has."
"Oh...I don't know, Billy...maybe Walmart will take up that slack, too," Leece observed.
Who says she doesn't have a sense of humor.
I couldn't help myself. "Yeah, I understand most of that stuff is made in China, so it's right up the Walmart alley."
"And we wouldn't lose the sales tax, either," Billy pointed out. Billy is very much aware of the fine nuances of municipal funding.
We sat on the bench, passing the brown paper wrapped bottle of diet Dr. Pepper back and forth, contemplating the Whichness of What and the Thisness of That.
Opening Pandora's Box: Clergy Porn Addiction
"Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He’s not. He’s the next George McGovern. And it’s time people learned the facts.
Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton.
Never in my life have I seen a presidential frontrunner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost.
Yet Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he’s not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant."
You can read the whole thing here:
The Real Obama
"Warriors...in their own words"
Along with that, here is one of my favorite speeches and Shakespearean excerpts. It is Henry V's "St. Crispin's Day Speech", a work of fiction but a great speech nonetheless:
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
We plunked our butts down next to him.
"Hey. Hey. Wuddya think a The Great Tractor Fire?" he asked.
"Info from the o-fishul fire department reports is in the fishwrapper this morning," I told him.
"I saw that. But wuddya think on it?"
"Well, I think that it's pretty obvious that The Mysterious Cheraw Fireman who told Lusk that they had to wait for La Junta must have been an alien capable of teleportation," I said.
"Why so?" Billy asked.
"Because all the trucks from La Junta and Cheraw got there about the same time. Joey Gacnik doesn't mention any Mysterious Cheraw Fireman being there and talking to Lusk," I pointed out.
"So you think it was just Lusk getting all warped out of shape? What about that woman who was ranting and raving about the reports all being lies?" Billy was understandably curious. Everyone else should be as well. After all, Lusk raises a serious challenge to the integrity of a bunch of firefighters in at least two fire departments within our fire district.
"Looks like it. As for that woman, well, there's some real inbred thinking going on out there with that Cheraw fire department, and I don't doubt for a minute that there's one or two of those yay-hoos capable of sitting there and watching it burn while blaming La Junta. But I don't see that happening here, not from the fact pattern as presented," I went on, "Despite all the drama, I expect most of 'em are better than that."
"Figment of Lusk's imagination, then?" Billy asked.
"That's putting it kindly," I replied.
"Hey! Hey!" he hollered cheerfully as we walked up Colorado, having been down to Daylight Donuts.
"Hey yourself, Billy," returned Leece, also cheerfully.
"Didja heer about how they's thinkin' a goin' back to Whirld War Two type pennies?" he asked, "them steel pennies?"
"Yep," I answered, "looks like it costs more to make a penny these days than a penny is worth. Ditto for nickels."
It's true. The rising costs of copper and zinc especially have driven coinage costs through the roof.
"Hey. Hey. Why don't they jist quit makin' pennies?" he asked.
He had a point. As far back as the early eighties, pennies were not used on US military posts throughout Europe. They cost too much to ship over there. No one missed them at all.
Why doesn't Congress just tell the mints to cease and desist with penny coinage? They are nothing but an aggravation anyway. Round everything to the nearest nickel. It worked very well back then. There's no reason it wouldn't work very well now.
Nickels and pennies
Monte Vista native dies in Iraq
Sergeant Martinez was one of Brad's ballplayers when Brad was coaching over in Monte.
Rocky Mountain News:
Marine was our hero
Marine was our hero
When I arrived, I found a crowd of spectators standing around in the yard in front of the door to the apartment. They were having a good time. Cheers broke out as I parked and got out of the car. The cheers weren't for me; the crowd didn't even notice my arrival. They were cheering events within.
I walked up and looked in the door. Two women were rolling around on the floor, going at it like a couple of cats fighting over a bag of WondeRoast in the dumpster behind Ringo's. Hair was flying every which way. Real hair. Chunks of it. Being ripped out by the roots. Blood was being let with fingernails. It was better than anything you would ever see on WWE.
Mindful of all the witnessess, and not desiring a line of Constitutional scholars bemoaning my jackbooted thug tactics before either my beloved Jefe or the city manager, I said, "Ladies? Ladies? Please cease and desist forthwith."
There was no response.
Again: "Ladies? Ladies? If you do not stop fighting I shall have to apply reasonable force against you."
The crowd found this amusing. I'm not sure they understood a word of it. They would have understood, "Knock this mother #(%^Q^!_%# BS off. Now!"
But I was into witness management. I was being Officer Friendly. In truth, I didn't really care if they gouged each other's intestines out. I had had one too many fat chicks come in to sign harassment complaints that week, about following each other around flipping each other off and...the best one...'that fat bitch was looking at me...". I couldn't have them killing each other, however. The paperwork would have been horrendous.
Once more with the verbal entreaty to stop. I pulled my OC cannister and said, "Ladies, if you do not stop immediately I shall be forced to Mace you."
There is a saying having something to do with urinating into the wind...
I sprayed 'em. The crowd loved it. They cheered and applauded. The women came gasping and wheezing out of the apartment, falling on the ground and writhing and moaning and carrying on. I got them cuffed and into the car, and then to the PD garage where I hosed 'em off with fresh water. They looked and sounded like blowing whales.
When they could speak again, I asked them if they would be able to bond out. I wasn't going to write these jokers a simple city summons. They were going to the slammer if they couldn't post bond.
One of 'em told me, "I can't. My SSI check didn't come yet."
I had to ask: "SSI check? What does that have to do with bonding?"
"I have to cash it so I can bond."
"Why are you on SSI? You look healthy enough to work. You're healthy enough to duke it out with this other blubberbutt here."
"I can't work. I get headaches when I work," she said.
Yep. She actually got some quack to sign her off on that. And so at 23 years old, having paid absolutely nothing into the system, she was pulling down $1600 a month to sit around, smoke stems and seeds, drink cheap beer, and fight with other fat, stupid women with nothing better to do.
Worst of all, she truly believed she was entitled to that.
How did that come to be? I had seen single mothers struggling to make ends meet, living off food stamps and working minimum wage jobs flipping burgers or cleaning toilets in the local motels...and here we had this specimen being paid by the taxpayers to sit on her ample behind doing nothing.
Has the system changed? Not that I can see. If anything, its even worse, a madcap bureaucracy run by people who are more interested in their fat taxpayer-supplied pensions and benefits than they are in keeping the system on an even keel.
Will Barack Obama do anything about it? From what I have heard, he's going to want a lot more of my money, taking it through taxes, more taxes, and even more taxes, to fund stupidities like this. He'll probably get it, too, given a Congress full of Democrats. And Hillary is no better.
Here is an interesting commentary from The Washington Times (which should not be confused with the Washington Post):
Sigh. None of it makes any sense. Listening to either Hillary or Barack is enough to give me a headache. Maybe I too will then qualify for SSI. Probably not. I'm too white and I have too long a history of employment, even if it is snuffling at the public trough, and even if I tell 'em my favorite president was a Democrat.
Sigh. Well. Hey. Here's a pretty good essay on the difference between Democrats and Republicans. There's a few typos but it's readable:
How to tell a Democrat from a Republican
"Ain't the Lions helpin' out with this now?" asked Billy.
"I believe they are," replied Leece,"and perhaps one or two of the service clubs from the school."
"Good deal," Billy observed,"it makes The Holy Land look nicer."
He was right.
"Hey. Hey. Wutcha think 'bout 'Preachergate'?" he asked.
"Oh. You mean where the Democrats are into Whine Mode over McCain's radical right preachers as opposed to Obama's radical left preacher?" I asked.
"Yeah. Yeah. You think they's whinin'?"
"Oh sure. C'mon. Rod Parsley called Islam a 'false religion' that 'we' are called on to destroy. And John Hagee referred to the Catholic church as 'the Great Whore'. That's typical of the religious right. Fundamentalists, again. While many will find their comments offensive, and for the most part rightly so, the bottom line is that they don't sound much different from that preacher in The Smile Hi City who thinks Ron Paul should be president, and they weren't damning America in God's name, and blaming the government for deliberately developing AIDS to kill black people. Wright did that, and more, and more than once, and very loudly. McCain's radical preachers look like posturing first year polysci students from a right-wing university compared to Wright who looks like an America-hating, racist fundamentalist hatemonger. I'm surprised he hasn't been screaming "Kill Whitey!" from the pulpit. He hasn't been far from that. The Dems are really scrabbling over this one having adopted a rather childish, predictably childish, 'so there' attitude about it," I said.
"They's not a lot a reasoned discourse there," Billy agreed,"and there ain't no 'right-wing universities'. That's an oxymoron."
"I'm thinking it's these so-called 'preachers' that are finally triggering a revolt in the American Protestant churches," observed Leece, "because what these guys are preaching is so far removed from Christ's teachings that even many fundamentalists are finding them grossly out of line. And there are so 'right-wing universities'. Look at Bob Jones U. Look at Bethany."
She had a point.
"I really liked the comments in this last issue of 'Relevant'," I said, taking up my comments from earlier, "American Christian fundamentalism may have its adherents, and you will never change their minds, but the damage they have done to the Church Universal may well be irreparable. Post-modernism and the Emerging Church have a great deal of appeal to people who are fed up with the politicized and extreme narrow-mindedness of fundamentalists and traditional church-thinking. And that seems to be most Americans these days, judging from the declining church populations, especially in the traditional denominations."
"I think we have been in an American Reformation for some time now," said Leece,"and 'Relevant' and publications like it, books by authors who write for 'Relevant', like Bell and McClain and McClaren and many others, are just the tip of the iceberg."
"And the 'Relevant' bookstore has some of the coolest t-shirts," chipped in Tookie, as she sniffed a lilac over near the flagpole, "did you see the story on 'Rosa Loves'?"
"Sure did," I replied, "but I gotta tell you I am somewhat miffed by both the magazine's bookstore and 'Rosa Loves'."
Tookie snuffled down a chocolate-covered espresso bean and raised her eyebrow in interrogative fashion. She was learning a lot from Leece.
Billy outright guffawed. "The biggest t-shirts they gots is XL,and all their tees is fitted" he snickered,"they must think they only people who reeds their stuff is twenny-sumthin's on organic food diets. They ain't gots no tees for slightly rotund ol' farts."
Tookie fell off her HotRock laughing.
I continued to be miffed.
Jeremiah Wright preaches "God damn America!"
"Hi guys!" Billy replied, "you notice how they rearranged the tables in this joint? It's much nicer now."
"Yep. I guess Juan Diego's is getting to be the place to be in The Holy Land," Leece replied.
"Wutcha think about that 'Evangelical Manifesto' thing they's gonna let loose on Wednesday?" Billy asked.
"I'm not sure. I've seen excerpts of it. I've seen one document that is supposed to be the whole thing but it wasn't properly attributed, so I'm not sure of it," she told him, the scholar coming out with that 'proper attribution' thing.
"Hey. Hey. Seems like they's finally figgerin' it out, huh? But you'll notice that some of the biggest of the big shots, like Dobson and that Baptist dude ain't signin' it. In fact, it doesn't even look like they were asked to sign it," Billy noted.
"Probably in recognition that it would be a waste of time," I observed, "because it certainly isn't in tune with their institutional agendas."
"Hey. Hey. I gots an idea. How all this unfolds, whether it takes off or it fails, could be the subject of..."...
"...a doctoral dissertation," interrupted Leece, who rarely if ever interrupts, "yes, I agree. I was thinking, 'An American Reformation' as the title. Where Martin Luther espoused his 95 theses against the Catholic church that became the basis for the Protestant Reformation, these pastors have espoused their own theses that could become The American Reformation, reshaping the American churches and getting them back on track."
"It will be an interesting process," I said, "pass or fail, to see what happens and how it evolves. I was reading in Relevant magazine, the issue that has the articles about the seven major problems of the day, about how many of the respondents see the failure of the church as way up on the list. Whether you can break the entrenched institutionalists like Dobson and the rest loose remains to be seen. And the people who go along with prosperity preaching sure ain't gonna like it; it will take away from their materialistic world view."
Tookie had wandered in, and plunking her butt down, said, "Perhaps now those people will pick up on what Christ meant when he said, 'Render unto Caesar...', huh?"
"Don't bet your last drachma on it," said Billy, somewhat cynically.
We sat there thinking about it as the delicious smell of our nearly ready burgers wafted over us.
Christian leaders to denounce politics of faith