Let’s Trade

Superman said, “I’ll lick your ice cream and you can lick my ice pop.”  Batman replied, “That is so disgusting, as I don’t want your lips and tongue all over my ice cream and I can buy my own ice pop if I want one.  You are more like a dog than a superhero, and I am sure that your tongue is full of nasty germs, because you have a bad case of halitosis.   What is that lemon, with all the flavors that are out there, why would anyone ever choose lemon?”  Superman came back with, “You compared me to a dog and I will take that as a compliment, as there is nothing more loyal than a dog.  I heard that a dog’s tongue is cleaner than a human’s is and if I wanted your ice cream, I would just snatch it away from you, and eat it before you ever saw anything.  Licking is part of life and the first thing that a mother does with her new born puppies is to lick them, in order to clean them and show them her love and this is the first form of communication that she has with them.  I am not surprised that you wear that mask all the time, as I doubt that any girl would ever want to kiss you.  If you don’t want to share, that is fine with me, but I never realized how insecure you were before, and if you want to remain friends you need to get over your trust issues.”

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #92.

Getting Dumped On

I am not referring to a lot of snow coming down in my area, or a nasty breakup, as this is more about the people who want to tell me their problems, or others figuring that I should be responsible for resolving something.  This gets frustrating as I am not walking around with a big sign that says, “Tell me how I can help you”, as if I am working as a Walmart greeter.  I have my own problems and maybe I am acting selfish, but I don’t want to hear about other people’s problems.  If I was on a plane and the pilot turned on the emergency system to drop oxygen masks and I saw that the person sitting next to me needed help with that, I would offer them assistance even before I put my own oxygen mask on.  If I went on a cruise and the ship was sinking, I would help others to get into the life boat, before I attempted to get in, so it is not like I lack compassion.  I try to avoid talking about my problems and I feel that other people should learn how to do that.

Don’t look at me to fix your lives, or resolve your problems and stop dumping on me.  I am not your therapist and everything is entirely within your control.  Don’t underestimate your own abilities and remember that God helps those who help themselves.  Stop thinking of me as being your refuge from the storm, or your shade from the heat, as the only way things will ever get done, is if you are willing to put in the work.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #91.

Ice Fishing

Yes, ice fishing is a real thing that people do while they are freezing their tails off.  It’s dead of winter, and I am out here alone with nature.  There is plenty of fresh air and absolutely no bugs, which makes the fish want to bite on my bate, as there is not much else for them to eat.  People often wonder why I would want to be sitting out here on a frozen lake when the temperature is just 3 degrees and what the attraction is about spending 3 hours of my time looking down a hole, one that is often unproductive.  I could stay inside and bitch about the weather, or go out and take pleasure in conquering it.

I take this old clunker of a car with me on my trips, because if it falls through the ice, it is no big loss, except for all the memories that we shared together.  I remember getting my first nookie from Susan in the back seat when we saw Jaws at the drive in back in 1976.  Susan was so afraid of that shark and its large teeth, that she cuddled up with me and I promised that I would protect her.  Like all virgin boys I always wanted to have sex with a girl and when she sat so close beside me, I figured it was time for me to make a move.  She saw me looking and it was awkward until we started kissing.  The windows got all fogged up and we stopped watching the movie.  Susan told me that she was getting thirsty and asked if I would get her a soda and I said, “Sure, but what will you give me?”  Susan turned all red and she looked angry, but she finally relinquished and said, “How about if I let you touch my boobs, will that get me a soda?”

I always keep a rubber raft up on the top of my car, just incase it sinks, so I will be able to protect myself from drowning.  There is no better experience than reeling in a 25+inch walleye or a big 10-inch bluegill on a 2-foot pole with 4 lbs. test line through the ice.  If I don’t have any luck catching fish, I can always take my barbecue grill out of the trunk and cook up some brats or burgers and wash them down with some ice-cold beer.  The temperature is what it is, but once you spend enough time out here, you get used to it.  When the fish start biting, it is just like being in heaven.  The one good thing about that old jalopy is that once I put the chains on the wheels, it will go anyplace in the snow.  It also has an excellent heater, which comes in handy when I pack it in for the day.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #89.

I Believe I Can Fly

I realize that I am not actually able to fly, but damn if I don’t look super in this costume.  One time I did leap over two feet off the ground to catch a Frisby, but leaping is not flying.  There is a certain power that you get when you put on a costume and nobody knows this better than Darth Vader, as he needed that helmet to breath and without his evil looking suit, he looked like a feeble old man.  Dorothy would have never made it back home, if she didn’t believe that she could do it, so believing is half the battle and the other half is the actually flying.

Alice said, “I’ve a right to think”, but the Duchess responded, “Just about as much right as pigs have to fly.”  Dumbo could fly and he weighed a lot more than I do, but he also has much bigger ears.  The elephant believed the magic feather gave him the power to fly.  Some things seem unreasonable and when the Wright Brothers had their first successful flight, some newspapers refused to print the article, as they felt that flight was only possible for birds.  If man didn’t have faith in their ability to accomplish the impossible, then they would have never been able to make it up to the moon.  I wonder what it would be like jumping for a Frisby on the moon.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #88.

Baby and Me

Gloria pushed her baby in the stroller and began talking to her little man like usual.  She started mumbling, “He is such a naughty man and although I do enjoy his attention, this flirting that he always does is getting to be too much.  Maybe I should consider being the bad girl that he wants, as I think that I could settle down with a man who I don’t really need in my life, and just choose to have him for my pleasure.  He is very attractive and it should be a good thing that he wants sex, as that would certainly spice up things in the bedroom.  I think that lots of guys would like a woman who is willing to initiate sex, and maybe I should plot a sexy ambush, before I jump his bones.  I just don’t want to be a one-night stand again, as that is how I ended up with you.  Good talk baby, we should do this more often, as you are the best gift I ever had.”

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #87.

She’s the One

I am jumping for joy, as I have found my dream girl.  I don’t know everything about her yet, even though we have gotten very serious with each other lately.  We both have needs, dreams, beliefs and expectations that should be discussed to avoid any future conflicts.  I feel like I am ready to ask her to marry me, but marriage has to be more than romance.  If we are going to spend the rest of our lives together, we must be compatible.  I am going to ask her to take the soulmate compatibility quiz with me tonight in order to determine if we would have a successful marriage.  If the results turn out positive, I will ask her father for his permission and then get her best friend to with me so I can get her the perfect engagement ring.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #86.

Not in the Clique

The other kittens don’t want to accept me.  They spend all of their time together and they will not welcome me into the group.  I realize that there is some type of pecking order here which I have not figured out yet and I have no idea which one of my new housemates is going to become my friends or my competitors.  I am usually cautious of anything that is new and I will try to stay a healthy distance away from anyone with whom I have not had a positive experience with yet, but the other day when I arrived, they all hissed at me.  Maybe they think that I am going to eat up all of their treats, or they won’t like me using their litter box, or they are just jealous because I am so damn cute.

I am trying to have patience but the rest of these cats need to learn how to accept change.  There is no way of telling how things are going to work out between all of us, but I am willing to give this place another week before I am out of here.  I don’t mind being a stray, as there are plenty of lizards around here for me to eat.  I don’t care either way on whether or not they let me into their clique, as these cats have serious social problems and it is not my job to fix them.  I don’t want to be the target of their aggression anymore and I would be perfectly willing to stay here if you could just control the more belligerent cats, as this place looks like it could make a nice home.  I am OK with sharing this space with the other cats, but all of this hissing and growling needs to end.  We need to find some type of balance, especially while I am trying my best to acclimate to this new environment.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Clique and for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #85.

The Fist of God

“The guy upstairs is mad”, said Peter.  George said, “What the heck are you talking about?  What Guy and I don’t see any stairs.  There is a ramp extending down to a dock, where some boats are and I see a lake and some mountains in the background and some low hanging clouds further out on the horizon.”  Peter responded, “You are not taking in the whole picture, as what possible explanation would there be for God to be shaking His fist at us, unless He is mad at us.”  George said, “Oh, I see it, that cloud which looks like an arm and possibly a fist on the end of it.  First off, it is not God, and you are probably suffering from some type of pareidolia.  People are always looking for patterns and this is a psychological phenomenon that comes from evolution and it helped our ancient ancestors survive.  There is nothing wrong with people who see or make patterns from some random stimulus and those people who are more religious, or believe in the supernatural, are more prone to pareidolia, so they assign human characteristics to objects.”  Peter said, “God may be angry at me, as I don’t pray, I don’t read the Bible and I may not be measuring up to all of His expectations.”

George said, “Fair enough and since God gave all of us 10 commandments to follow, let’s just see how you are doing on that.  I never see you praying to any other gods instead of your God, so I would say you are good on #1.  Moving on, God says that you should not make other images to worship, and since you are not all that artistic, I doubt that you have ever broken that one.  The third one is a bit tricky and it should probably be modernized so that instead of saying, “Don’t take the name of the Lord in vain”, it should say, “Don’t use the name of God to take advantage of others and benefit yourself”, and I don’t see you as doing this either.”  Peter said, “No, I would never do that.”

George said, “Three down and seven to go.  You may be guilty of breaking the fourth commandment as this one deals with keeping the Sabbath holy and you admitted that you don’t regularly attend church services.  This commandment also needs to be updated, as I see it you don’t actually have to go to church per say, it just means that you should reserve some time to think about God and you did this by seeing His fist in the cloud.  The rest of them are pretty simple, respect your parents, don’t kill people, if you are married, don’t cheat on your wife, don’t take things that are not yours, don’t go around telling lies, don’t sleep with your neighbor’s wife, his servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor, so basically you will have to stay out of politics and not become a lawyer.”

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #84.

Who Is the Other Mary?

Matthew 28:5 gives an account of the resurrection narrative, which is where an angel has appeared at the empty tomb and gives instructions to Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  There are many different ideas on who this other Mary was and since it happened so long ago, all of this is speculation now.  Mary is a common name for a female and I included four Mary’s when I wrote my second book Ancient Book Of Eli.  The first Mary was the mother of Jesus, the second was Mary Magdalene, the third was Mary sister of Lazarus and from what I could find there was this one person called Mary of Clopas and another Mary Salome,  I felt that I could switch this around and I had Salome being the mother of this Mary who was married to Clopas, thus making her Mary of Clopas the baker.  With her mother being Salome, it made sense for her to also be called Mary Salome.  It was this Mary who got married in the wedding at Cana and because I made Salome a cousin of Jesus’ mother, her daughter Mary was the sister of the apostles John and James.  I know very confusing, but it made sense to me.  I guess one reason that I wrote this book was to embellish on what could have happened and make more sense out of everything.  Below is my resurrection story, but the other Mary is not in it.

Mary Magdalene said, “The saddest day of my life was when I stood under the cross and watched when Jesus died.  Jesus always seemed to be in control of everything that was going on around Him, but while He was up on the cross, He looked so helpless.  Jesus was innocent and He suffered and died and to His very end, He was trying to save others by requesting forgiveness for those who were Salome crucified with Him.  When the Sabbath ended, I went to His tomb with Jesus’ mother Mary, His Aunt Salome and my good friend Susanna, so we could anoint Jesus’ body with burial spices that Nicodemus had given us.  On our way there, we started discussing how we could we be able to roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.  We decided that we would try to roll the big stone away ourselves, but if this proved to be too difficult, so we decided that we would go back and recruit as many disciples, as we thought would be necessary to help us.  We arrived at the tomb early Sunday morning, just past sunrise.  When we arrived, we saw that the very large stone had been split in two and was lying on its side, so we entered the tomb.  Inside on the right we noticed a young man sitting clothed in a white robe, which startled us.  Once our eyes adjusted to the darkness of the tomb, we realized that this was not a young man, but an angel.  The angel said, ‘Do not be so surprised.  You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified.  Why are you looking for the living among the dead?  He isn’t here!  He has been raised from the dead!  Look, this is where they laid his body.  Remember He told you that He would be turned over to sinful men, be crucified, and rise again on the third day!  Now go and give this message to His disciples, including Peter.  Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see him there, just as He told you before he died’!”

“We fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, not saying anything to each other, because we were too frightened to talk.  We knew that the apostles were with Steven, who was one of the seven ordained deacons that helped to look after and provide care for the widows and the poor.  When we arrived there, we found the apostles hiding out in the upper room at his house.  Inside Steven’s house, we saw Peter, Andrew, John and James and I told them that I had seen an angel of the Lord, and we all reported the instructions that were given to us from the angel.”

“Salome and her husband Zebedee were at Steven’s house along with their daughter Mary and her husband Clopas, the baker.  Clopas had made honey buns topped with sugar frosting in the shape of a cross, which he said was to honor Jesus.  Clopas also made these rolls of pastry filled with grape preserves that were shaped like bunny rabbits, which were also delicious.  Joanna the wife of Chuza soon arrived.  After we ate this lovely breakfast, Peter and John went back to the tomb with me to see for themselves.  They saw the stone was gone and they looked inside the tomb and they saw the linen cloths that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in, but nothing else.  Peter and John were amazed at what they saw and they believed what I had told them, but shortly after that, they said they were going to Peter’s house, as they were confused about what they should do.  I remained standing outside His tomb weeping.  I was still seeking direction from the one that I loved so dearly.  I was burning with the fire of love, longing for Him who had been taken away from me.”

“Suddenly Jesus was standing there beside me, but I did not recognize Him, as I thought this man must be the gardener.  Jesus said to me, ‘Woman, why are you crying?  Who are you looking for?’  I replied, ‘Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where He is, and I will take Him!’  Jesus said, ‘Mary!’  Then I recognized this gardener to be Jesus and I exclaimed, ‘Master!’  Jesus said, ‘Don’t hold on to me, because I have not yet returned to my Father.  But go to my disciples and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’  I ran all the way to Peter’s house and said to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord!’, and I told them everything that had happened.”

What kind of Deadheads are in that video?  I guess they don’t know the story about how Benjamin Franklin developed a new and unique method for casting bells, one that could be used to improve the production process of large bells.  The method utilized steam to assist in the cooling process while the bell is still hot.  The steam causes a rapid cooling, producing droplet of dew on the bell.  This was called “dewing the bell”.  After this process, the bell was rolled on cotton cloth to absorb the excess moisture and Franklin called that rolling away the due.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #81.

Hippies on Camels

In 1978, the Grateful Dead began a spiritual and mystical journey playing three of their shows at the Sound and Light Theater in the shadows of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.  Phil Lesh took on this project, because he wanted to play at places that held power.  The Egyptian government approved the concerts after the Dead agreed to donate all proceeds from ticket sales to the country’s Department of Antiquities, which preserves Egypt’s ancient wonders.  Not everything ran smoothly, as one of their trucks got bogged down in the sand and had to be pulled out by camels, and due to an injury Bill Kreutzmann had to play his drums one-handed.

The renowned Nubian Egyptian oud (musical instrument of the lute family used in southwest Asia and northern Africa) player Hamza El Din, along with the Nubian Youth Choir, joined the Grateful Dead onstage during all three concerts that they performed at the foot of the Pyramids of Egypt.  The collaboration resulted in the hypnotic, polyrhythmic instrumental ‘Ollin Arageed’, which Hamza wrote.  This tune has a beautiful history behind it, as it supposedly played for a person only once in their lifetime, at the celebration of their first wedding.  The rhythm is composed of three different beats on the tar (Iranian long-necked, waisted lute family instrument), accompanied by a melody handclapping, feet beating on the ground, and, traditionally, singing and the noise of women’s jewelry in their soft movements to those rhythms.  On the second night, as they sang and danced to this, the moon went into eclipse, which must have been pretty cool.  Mickey Hart became good friends with Hamza el-Din, and over the next seven years, Hamza would perform this with the Grateful Dead live four more times at concerts in the US.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #80.