Monday, October 30, 2006


I firmly believe in the fallen nature of mankind (which includes you women). Not that everyone is evil, but rather just sinful. What I mean is that while we are not all always willfully wicked, we are often wicked by our very nature. Perhaps this has not been your experience, but for me it is a natural thing.

I used to think that I was a “good guy,” and perhaps I am, but there were still things that I did that hurt other people. We are all guilty of these things. Maybe it is judging someone, or not helping someone when they are down. Maybe it is just being rude to someone. You might say “well there was this one time that I was really irritated and tired and this old woman was taking an hour to pump gas and I yelled at her. So what? I was having a bad day.” The point is not that you do not have a justification or rationalization for your actions, the point is that sometimes our actions hurt other people. This is what I mean by being fallen: unable to act holy and righteous all of the time.

Maybe you can act righteous some of the time, maybe even most of the time, but no one can be without blame all of the time. That would mean not only never saying a harmful thing, or doing a deceitful act, it would also mean not thinking an impure thought. Who can say that? Who can say that they never saw someone and thought, “who does she think she is acting like that?” Or saw some teenagers and thought, “these kids are a bunch of hooligans.” I challenge anyone who thinks that they are without blame to pay careful attention to their thoughts, and measure them to the standard of, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

As for me, well among the sinners, I am the chief. I know others have claimed to be the chief, but I cannot vouch for them. I only know what I am guilty of and the list is long. Here is a short list: lying, malice, hatred, being judgmental, cheating, conspiring, slander, greed, slothfulness, lust, and bigotry just to name a few. Of course I am guilty of the BIG one—greed.

So I don’t mean to say this to bring you down to my level, or to make myself feel better about my faults. No instead I say this to mean that we are none of us better than anyone else. A drug addict and a judge are both guilty of being human. All of us are. But this world view has its advantages.

If you see people in this way, you need not be so disheartened when they fail, and conversely you can celebrate when they succeed. If I was to summarize this in one sentence, it would be: Be quick to forget another’s transgressions, and slow to forget their achievements.

Buries Bones

Just a short little poem that I wrote many years ago. I keep saying that I don't like poetry, and then keep using it anyways, hmmm... maybe I do like it.

When finished with a bone
A dog whishes no one to be shown,
So it is, that the bone be buried
Into a deep, dark, dank hole it is hurried
No one again will upon the bone gaze,
To the dog the bone is but a haze,
Still the bone hath existed.
Have you the help of holes enlisted?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hunting Coyotes

Yesterday they finished cutting the corn that grows around my house and now there is little but dirt surrounding my home. We have a significant number of coyotes around our the area we live and they make a lot of noise, and also eat my cats. I have not had a single cat reach two years of age since we moved here. Last year around this season I spent a bit of time trying to kill one, but I believe I lacked sufficient weaponry. This year my father-in-law lent me a rifle equipped with a scope with which I have been successful in shooting blue jays and pigeons. Now that I have regained confidence in my marksmanship, I hope to kill a coyote or two.

Last night I was enjoying a film when I heard a noise of some sort. When I looked out of the window of my living room, there was a coyote standing no more than ten feet from me on my lawn. He looked at me and I at him, and then he scrambled off into the night as I scrambled for my rifle. I went outside to see if I could still get a shot off at this animal but I could only hear it running around in the field across the street with what sounded like other coyotes.

My wife immediately did a head count of our cats and after a few minutes managed to find all but one of them. Pedro was missing. Worried that he was the latest victim and still angry over the recent loss of Kip to the beasts, I remained outside for over half an hour, waiting for the animals to walk near my house so that I had enough light to shoot them.

While I was waiting, trying to stand perfectly still, a number of things went through my head. Even while my body is still, my mind is always racing ahead and I was conjuring up not only this account to share with you, but also other images that were romantic and suspenseful.

At first I thought that I heard the animals feasting on Pedro nearby. I would have testified under oath that I heard the crunching of bones as they gleefully devoured my pet. Then I imagined the animals waiting, watching me from the shadows. I could not see them, but they could see me. Several times I became paranoid enough to peer around the garage to see if in fact they were standing with their backs against the wall ready to ambush me.

Meanwhile my cats (I had six before Kip went MIA), were enjoying a snack of cat food that my wife offered to lure them into the garage in order to perform a roll call. Besides that, one of them, Debbie, was playing with the cuff of my pants, and biting my big toe. When this became unbearable I kicked her away from me even though it risked revealing my presence to the coyotes.

This went on for about forty minutes with no sign of a coyote. I stood as still as I could, thinking it a challenge to remain in one place holding my rifle all the while. At the end of this time period Pedro came running into the enclosed area of our patio. He was alive after all.

My anger subsided and after only a few more minutes I returned to the warmth of my house, slipped into bed and tried to forget my feud with the coyotes. Still, one day soon I hope to shoot one. I feel like I need to shoot one for some reason. I don’t know if it is because they have killed so many of my cats, or if it is some kind of macho motive. Either way I will not be satisfied until I have killed one. Like the white whale, I must kill a coyote. Perhaps if for no other reason, just to say that I did it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Falling stars

I said before that I don't like poetry, but here is another one, that I sort of like. This was written when I was a teenager, and my greatest aspiration was to find someone to love.

I gaze longingly above,
Towards the vast stars; I love,
To hold, the hand of such is bliss;
In losing that feeling, I would miss
My soul, falls lifelessly,
As driftwood, floating aimlessly.

Just once would I like,
For a star to take flight,
And fall from the majestic sky,
And behold it to mine eye.
Fall to my world bright star,
I can see you, not so far.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Book's Cover

Why do I like Sports?

I was wondering why it is that I like sports. I love the Dodgers. I followed their season from day one, and even before, and for what? They made the playoffs (HAPPY!), and then got eliminated (sad). Why do we do it? How many times has your team broken your heart? Only one team can win every year in every sport. If you are a world soccer fan (as I am) you can look forward to only seeing your team compete at the highest level once every four years, if they qualify! That is torture. I don't care how many times your favorite team has won, it still hurts when they get eliminated. So I ask again, what is it about sports that attracts us?

We know that we are more likely to be disappointed by their performance than satisfied. It is like dating someone who is bound to let you down. Hmmm... Maybe that is it. Maybe we know that, and that is why it is so exciting when they win. Like the Red Sox coming back after being down three games to none to beat the Yankees. Like the Dodgers hitting four straight home runs to tie the game in the ninth and then Garciapara hitting a walk off in the tenth. Maybe all of the failure makes the successes that much better. We remember watching Gibson limping around the bases after sending the ball over the wall, The Rocket striking out batters twenty years younger than him, Lance Armstrong winning again after recovering from cancer, Jordan playing against the Jazz with the flu and still sinking basket after basket. These are the moments that we remember, the winning moments, when we felt like it was us who threw the ball to Taylor in the back of the end zone, saved the penalty shot in the finals, beat the goalie five hole to win the cup.

Sports allows us to have heroes. The Greek gods are dead. The gladiators are gone. The Titans extinct. We need heroes. Sports gives them to us. We crave competition. Is it so different from the coliseum in Rome? We yell the same things Romans probably yelled then. "Kill em!" "Get em!" "No mercy!" "Don't give up!" "Keep fighting!" We love the huge hit, the crash, the violence. Is it society? How? It has always been there. From cock fights, to boxing matches, to sports, it is always about one besting another. It is part of being human.

So why do we continue to follow our favorite sports teams? Race car drivers? Boxers? Because we believe they can win, and when they do we share in their glory. We get to feel what it is like, just for a moment, to feel what it is like to be a hero. Nothing can beat that feeling. It is better than any drug medicine or the street can provide. Winning feels good. We can't get enough of it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Cycle

This is the first poem I even wrote. To be honest I am not much of a poetry fan, and looking back now, I am not very impressed with my own poetry, but I thought I would share this one because it was my first. I came up with it entirely in my head while I was tending to animals on our farm when I was about 12. It is pretty lame if you ask me, but perhaps someone else will like it. Well here it is...

The Cycle

It is the superior man that falls the hardest,
At having lost his blood boils with jealousy and rage,
If his superiority discontinues he himself discontinues.

Life in its darkest form,
He falls at the mercy of Life from the clouds so high,
Onto the barren, jagged, untamed rocks of the Earth.

They have seen much of time, life,
They await its end,
Exposed themselves by time, life, they take life away.

Then another pawn takes his place in the majestic clouds.
To continue the rising and falling of power,
The Cycle.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stopping Time

Stopping Time

I am not sure why, but for some reason, I really enjoy clocks. I am in fact obsessed with knowing the time of day. I have some sort of condition that compels me to know what time it is, always. I carry a pocket watch that is attached to my pants’ belt loop and I check it for the time a minimum of once an hour. I will sometimes check my watch and compare its keeping of the time with other timepieces to ensure that my watch is accurate. I often wake in the night and immediately check the alarm clock’s glowing red display, to know the time before drifting back to sleep again. It is a sickness I’m sure, but it does cause me to know certain things. For instance, I know that it takes me between thirteen to fifteen minutes to drive from my house to my favorite movie theater in light traffic. It takes me twenty-three minutes, give or take a minute, to get to church on Sundays and from twenty-eight to thirty-one minutes to get to the University. Strange, I know, but I can’t help it.
At home I have numerous ways of determining to time. In my kitchen there are two clocks. In my bedroom another two. I have three timepieces that I can check from the couch in my living room. The first is, of course, the digital VCR, which sits in the entertainment center across from my couch. This is very accurate and is easily visible in low light. Second, is a beautiful Coo-coo clock that I purchased while I was in Bavaria. This is by far the most attractive timepiece in my home. It is completely hand crafted-wood with a cute Bavarian cottage and dancing bears, which spin around to the music at the top of each hour. It is truly a work of art. The melody is lovely and the mechanics of it are marvelous. It turns out that the clock needs no winding at all. Three weights that hang from the clock keep it running beautifully. However, it does have a tendency to run slow, so I trust it less than the rest of my clocks, even though it is sightly.
The third clock is seemingly the least desirable. Don’t get me wrong, it is pleasant looking. It is a fifty-year-old Seth Thomas wall clock with three different chimes. It is a handsome clock and even has a system where it runs silently at night so as not to disturb me. From 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM the clock make no sound except for the soft tic-toc, tic-toc, of the arm. The problem is that it doesn’t like to run for more than a few days, at most. I have taken the thing to a repairman several times but without results. After its return it runs happily for a short while and then ceases. It became very frustrating to me. I simply detest clocks that don’t keep accurate time, and this one quit altogether. It stopped at ten minutes to two and has displayed that time for a month now. It was totally useless, until I recently found a purpose for it.
Something interesting happened to me the other day that made me alter my view of time keeping. I was sitting on the couch reading an interesting book and drinking a Pepsi, when my Coo-coo clock sprang into action. It gave five coo-coos and then played its song while the bears danced. I sighed and looked at it to make sure, but it definitely read five o’clock. I knew that it was a couple of minutes off but it was close enough. It meant that I needed to get washed up and get ready to go, because I was supposed to meet some friends at five-thirty. I didn’t want to go. Not only because I was comfortable but also because I was not in a friendly mood. I grumbled a bit about it to myself and then noticed my broken clock. It read, as always, ten minutes to two o’clock. That’s when I got to thinking. I wondered which clock I should trust. It seemed that the obvious choice was the clock that was running, and yet perhaps the choice was not so obvious. ‘Maybe the broken clock was correct this time’, I mused ‘it might be the superior timepiece right now.’ After several minutes of mental debate, and without consulting the VCR clock on the matter, I gave the edge to the broken clock and continued reading. I had a wonderfully relaxing evening of reading and lounging, and was in a delightful mood the entire time.
One of my friends called me the next day to inquire as to my absence. I explained to him that my clock was broken and so I missed our meeting. Being a reasonable fellow, he understood that a person could not be held responsible for tardiness or absence if he did not posses a reliable clock, and so excused my non-appearance. Since then I have found it very useful to keep the still clock on the wall. It seems to be an advantage occasionally to have a clock that refuses to give an accurate account of the time. Though I still check my watch hourly and wake in the night to spy my alarm clock, I enjoy to sometimes follow the guidance of my still clock. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when the clock stops ticking. I think everyone should stop the clock every now and then just to see what happens when there is no ticking or tocking.