Category Archives: Modest Proposals

Imagine This!

Some folks may not like this.  So what.

IMAGINE THIS!

I sit here, now, imagining

That nothing was or is.

That nothing ever  mattered

Nor nothing ever will.


Imagine there’s no people

Nor light, nor darkness too,

No time or anything to do.

 

Imagine if there’s never

Nor ever will be you!

Just kill yourself then, Brother

And make it all come true!

 

Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!

 

It’s just a dream that’s all

And we’re all imagined

Shadows on some wall.

A wall that’s just a shadow

At the bottom of some cave

Where no light’s ever entered

Nor nothing’s made or saved.

 

Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!

 

Imagine what you cannot do,

Nor never thought, nor never will:

No God, no stars, no planets

No one to love or kill.

 

It’s just the perfect answer

For all the things we love.

Or hate if that’s your fancy.

Below or high above.

 

No heaven high or hell below,

No safe earth in between.

Simply nothing!  That’s the riddle

And the answer, don’t you see,

The Cheshire’s smile does mean.

 

Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!

 

My song’s about now over;

Well, really not begun.

Never really warbled

And never really sung.

Like a rainstorm in the desert

Or sunshine in the night

Drowning burning devils

In new agonies of fright.

 

Ah, ahhh, ahhh, Hahhh!

 

peg 06/11/2018

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

For a long time I have wondered about her: Mary of Nazareth, Mary the Mother of God.

We were in Nazareth a couple of years ago and I saw the church built over the stream from which she drew water when a young girl, and probably helped her mother with the washing.  That stream running briskly through the church is still a healthy , and clear and clean, and happy swift flowing  thing.  It sings, one might say.

Within two hundred yards down the hillside, on a plaza near a few restaurants, next to an open square near a busy road is a square concrete building; a lumpy thing.  It’s a public building, gated and fenced.  Closed.  Inside the gate, inside the fences, there is a hollow space a few feet below the level of the ground outside.  There’s a sign outside which identifies the gated, closed, barren space as part of the City of Nazareth’s water supply.

Some water supply, filled as it was when we were there with cigarette butts, empty plastic drink cups, bottles and wrappers and the odd pigeon scraping the dust.

I payed no attention to that place when I walked up the hill to the old church to see the well where Mary, the Mother of God and my mother, too, drew water when she was a young girl.  But, I certainly gave it a long look on the way back down the slope; and since.  The day I remember vividly, and I could walk to the place with no difficulty I am sure, since scarcely a day goes by that that whole trip to The Holy Land doesn’t repeat itself in my mind.

And, I wonder.

Here’s why.

Once a week for most of the year Mariellen, my young wife, and I gather here with a few friends to pray, read and speak about matters spiritual, and how they affect our lives.  We read the “lessons” from the previous Sunday’s liturgy, read some paragraphs from a spiritual book written by a good person and reflect on where the two things meet in our minds and hearts, and souls.  We gather under the aegis of a group we all belong to called The Families of Nazareth.  (Ask me sometime!)

Anyway, part of the time spent during this meeting is used to reflect on what we have read, and share our reaction to it; sometime in the form of answers to questions we all get, questions which are really meant as hints or props to help us think; or simply what we have, in fact, had occur to us as we went along.  It’s always interesting, and often very enlightening.  We love the folks who join us.

One thing, though; there is always a question, a prompt if you will, to think about Mary, the Mother of God, as we Catholics and other “un-reformed” Christians refer to her, and how she “fits” into the scheme, the subject, the matter we happen to be considering each week.  How does Mary matter, more or less in this instance or situation?  How may her life, her character, her role in salvation history (or just plain history) make a difference for each one of us, or everyone for that matter?

Tough questions, right?  You bet.  Because almost every week, almost everyone there mumbles their way through something remembered from Mother Mary Holy Picture’s disquisitions about Mary while in the sixth grade, or simply glides over the thing with a whisper and a cough.

Me, too.

Until this morning.

My lovely wife and I were saying our prayers, early.  Well, actually we were together “doing” the Office of Readings, the first of the prayers each day in that thing called the Divine Office.

And today, the light went on.  I read this:

O Lord, my heart is not proud *
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great *
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly I have set my soul *
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms, *
even so my soul.

It’s from Psalm 131.  I’ve read the thing a hundred times, if not more; and mostly had a “Yadda, yadda, yadda” reaction to it.  Not today, though.

I had two reactions….

The first was this.  I watched the young girl in Nazareth long ago walking up the hill to the stream and it’s cool silver waters.  As she walked she was having that conversation with God, her Father.  Sometimes, I can remember having such conversations the better part of a century ago when I was a simple kid.  But, you know, I outgrew them. It’s only Kid stuff that grownups never need to continue.  That’s what they are: toys for the mind, that should be put away.

But, as I completed those eight lines something changed inside.  I was listening to my “Mother” speaking to me, telling em to repeat the lines…not as a prayer, but simply as a statement of fact.  And I understood, at last, who she was/is, and what she wants of me.

The second strophe spelled it out clearly for me:

I will not enter the house where I live *
nor go to the bed where I rest.
I will give no sleep to my eyes, *
to my eyelids I will give no slumber
till I find a place for the Lord, *
a dwelling for the Strong One of Jacob.

After all, isn’t it only what she did?

And, look what that led to?

Do yourself a favor and go and find the Office of Readings for today, the feast day of Mary, The Mother of God.

That’s one of the places where you can find it.  But, there’s others.  You can even find it in Latin, and about every other language there is, maybe even Eskimo.

Anyway, when you get there, pay special attention to the reading, the excerpt from The Book of Job.  It practically brought a tear to my eye.  Job’s ending is a bit like Scrooge’s ending I sometimes think.

And don’t forget the Second of the two readings, an excerpt from a sermon by a bishop named St. Laurence Justinian.  It’s all good, as they like to say these days, but the last sentence is especially good.

THE PROPER USE OF TOOLS

 

“Worse deaths there are than slaughter in the classroom, and few worse than annihilation in the womb!” Anon.

“Name some tools,” I asked myself the other day.  I stopped and looked around me.  The place was full of them.  I was merely sitting in my living room, and as I looked the number of tools I saw took up quite a bit of the space, almost I thought crowding me, to whom all of the tools belonged.  Pliant servants all they were and would be from time to time of my wants, needs, desires, whims or plans for good or ill.

It was my will, whim, decision and deed which occasioned each and every one of them being there; my needs, desires and purposes which would cause their use.  For my ends they existed.  And until I formed a need desire or purpose for them, at rest, silent and dumb would they remain until they decayed, not ever once knowing they had existed.

I do not own many tools.  I own those I need, or think I do need or might need, from time to time, and only those tools.  My home is a small place, and so I have rid myself of some of them as I had no longer a need for them.  Some tools, though, even though a need no longer exists for them, I still keep.  Call my keeping of them a sentimentality; and even though I haven’t in my life of late kept them for any practical use, they are triggers of memory, frames, if you will, of times, people, incidents in my life whose recollection I find pleasant.  For that reason, these tools are useful to have around, pleasant to be around and for me serve, still, some purpose.  Frames themselves, don’t you think, are tools, and in some way whatever the frames contain; containing, in the case of the frames on my walls and other places, and bringing to mind, in the case of what is within the frame, the memories, the experiences, the lessons of another time and place.


In a sense, almost anything can be a tool.  Are we not all familiar with the word “tool” being applied to people?  I used to work in one of the law enforcement agencies that have multiplied almost like a plague in recent years; and it was most common to refer to those men and women who, for whatever reason, chose to cooperate with us as “tools”.

And, just as almost anything can serve as a tool in an emergency, or merely a moment of need or inspiration generated by need, almost any tool designed for some use will serve almost as well in another way when the right one isn’t handy, a way one simply was never thought of;  or a case when one simply doesn’t know how to use the “proper” tool for the task or believes that they have discovered a new and sublime use for something that wasn’t a tool and now has become one.

But, until used in some way for some purpose, whether as intended, or by accident or improvisation, tools are actually little more than immobile, mute, dumb and lifeless matter.

That is what brings me by the long way to part of the reason I write this thing, this thing about tools and their use.


Tools get blamed when they are really no cause of wrong. If we stop to think about it, only a poorly made, or poorly used, tool can injure, can cause harm.  The tool is not to blame, though it has been the unwitting and really innocent cause of a mishap. But, drop a dish that shatters on the floor, and both dish and floor are subject of abuse for our carelessness, or the slippery soap, the too hot dish water. How silly would they be who then remove all their dishes, or tear up their floors, or turn off their hot water heaters after such an incident.  This never will happen outside of Bedlam; never in a sane world, you say.  And, very rightly so.

No one calls for or has called for the abolition of automobiles, the destruction of roads, the grounding of airplanes though thousands die each year in the case of autos, and every crashed airliner and loss of life from them.  No one but a madman wishes to halt commerce by the sea.  The Titanic did not sink because of some perverted decision by the vessel itself to collide with an iceberg the size of a small mountain.  There were a thousand reasons for that disaster, and all of them had to do with human beings, with us.

It was the designers, the engineers and architects who used their tools to build the ship, tools that were top of the line, cutting edge tools, and the captain and crew who used these inadequate tools to deal with sailing in dangerous waters, who brought about the tragedy.   Well, we say, such things will happen when we use things in places we shouldn’t, or misuse something nor made for use in a time or place for which it is not required, prepared or about which we should have known, but of which, for any number of reasons, we chose to ignore; simple ignorance being one of them, but pride, impudence or bull headed determination being not far away in many cases.  Or, we should say that.  Don’t you think?

But, we don’t.  Like a headstrong toddler we adopt the attitude my daughter had when she was still in diapers, the “My do it myself!” way of thought, and steam full ahead into an iceberg; dying in the doing and taking millions with us.

And, the fault wasn’t ours. It never is, you know. Is that a reason for shoulders?  So we may shrug them?  Or fingers so we may point them?  Or fists so we may shake them? Or hats?  Hats??  Hats, so we may cover our own guilt beneath them while pointing fingers and pounding fists.


Why blame a gun, a tool?  And, why organize a march of hundreds of thousands to demonstrate against tools?  It’s the top of the mark for silliness, really.  Isn’t it?  It is so silly that one is almost persuaded that a sentient being couldn’t possibly think of or take part in such a thing.  They must be being put to use by others.  They must themselves have become tools.

And, it is especially so when there are more reasons than you can throw a stick at as the cause for all of these kinds of things at schools across the land.  I’ll not go into here what may be one proximate cause; the abyssal poverty of education and lack of discipline and control at all levels in schools.

There are other causes, causes cultural and civilizational, personal, familial and philosophical.  We all know them or can guess what they are.  All one needs is to pay attention to, to think about what we have allowed into our minds and homes in type, form and presentation of entertainment, sport, culture, commentary. Begin there. All forms of media have become vehicles for programs and spectacles which might well have provided most of the material for a standard season’s spectacle in a Roman arena.  No longer do the children go to their rooms when something like that is presented. Why, the child’s room is as well-equipped as any with whatever is needed for a front row seat to anything.

In a world where men and women may no longer be, or remain (a fiction if ever there was one) men and women, where marriage is more honored in the breach than the observance, where children are raised by experts in the equivalent of cattle holding pens while Mom pursues a career, and Dad pursues Susie Secretary, where the old are put away to die when not tolerated in some back room or garret, it is the children who are left adrift, unsure and, I think, at some deep level afraid of what is becoming a life alone.  Well alone, except for “devices” and vices.

But, isn’t everyone these days defined by their devices; and most of us by our vices? Shame is a dead word. And with shame have died politeness, good humor, ease, manners and charity.

More marriages today end in divorce than are made each year, and the loneliness and soul hunger bred by that one fact alone is the cause of great woe and sadness and, yes, anger in the hearts of many; things which shape a life, and no doubt end many.  Those who because they are or were witness to such a thing avoid their own chance and begin a series of liaisons, a sort of serial marriage ceremony where a courtship never takes place, the honeymoon is all there is and everyone is simply changing partners.  They don’t even dance.  They simply hook up, like tools; a male plug in a female socket used when needed and put away…or, worn out, simply dropped like a fewmet.

It isn’t hard to pass that kind of attitude, that kind of world view, on, like passing on an infection, virus, or plague.  The newspapers and news programs are full of stories about such a way of life where people have become tools, used, used up, put away, dumped and forgotten, from the red carpets in Cannes or Hollywood to the school shutdowns.


The Walking Dead!

That should be an icon of the age.  The nation is full of them.

A few years ago, I saw one of the programs in that series about people who had died and were still dead, but in some way walking about, interested only in killing people still alive, using any means to hand to accomplish the task.  It was painful to watch, really, on a number of levels.

It’s painful to watch the zombies today who wander around, through the malls and the parks, slouching in the playgrounds singly or in packs; painful and not a little frightening.  From time to time one hears of such “packs” descending on a store, a railroad station or a bus stop, and simply destroying things or other human beings, or cleaning it out like vultures stripping a corpse.  Children.  No, once children, now zombies.

More of them are raised without fathers these days than ever before.  Fathers, who are the source of rules and law and discipline, the first teachers, are being driven to extinction.  And, if they go, so do we.

It is a fact as clear and proven as the sun in the sky at high noon that those who have killed so many in schools and classrooms throughout the country are, to a person (a zombie?), the products of fatherless homes.  They were not formed with love and patience and fatherly discipline in the image and likeness of fathers to respect and obey others and authority; to know the “right thing to do”, to grow from child to man, and not eat dirt, or scream and rant, or hate and, eventually, rampage and kill.  Poor, misshapen things, they are.  And, long before they should have been, they are dead in any of several ways; dead inside in their soul, and dead outside to the world, which, really, has ceased to care for them, and they for it.  It is a fair exchange. Why should it be any different, really?

Well, the world has stopped caring in many ways, but most importantly in this way. It has ceased to care except for the angry marchers and the loud voices of the children, assembled by the ones who created the swamps and and wallows, both physical and intellectual, in which they live, and now gather them to scream their rage and frustration as they are told to scream…like two minutes, no a day of hate from some horrible prediction from not so long ago of what now is…by their masters.  It’s a kind of un-care.  To scream for the destruction of a simple dumb tool. I find myself wondering what hats they will wear who rage in ignorance.

And, in some hole in the ground, or a dungeon deep, the latest zombie lies or will lay; un-wept for, unknown, and ignored in a zombie hell, fatherless for eternity.  The Walking Dead!


I am no kind of craftsman, engineer, or worker at anything other than the simplest tasks.  I am most definitely not a Homo Habilis.  Left to me, our ancestors would have remained as we began, scrambling up trees away from predators and picking berries from the bushes after carefully and cautiously sniffing around for dangerous creatures waiting to eat us.  As I said above, I don’t know how to make them, or repair them, but I know enough to know a tool when I see it, why it is a tool and what is its proper use.  I also know that a tool may not be for me or someone who cannot be trusted to use it well, or properly.

But, I know we had ancestors, and where they came from, and how they lived and what they did.  And more to the point, why they did it.

The use of tools, the proper use of tools must be taught, and the skill to use them properly practiced.  That’s as true for a hoe as it is for an axe at it’s handle’s end.  That’s as true for a pick axe as for a pistol; a mallet or a machine gun, a telescope or time bomb.  But a tool used incorrectly, though damage may be done to it and whatever it is ill used on is innocent of the ill use, and punishing the tool, destroying or banning its use and possession by anyone skilled in its use is, simply, stupid.

It makes no sense whatever to forbid pick axes because maniacs have sometimes cleaved the odd skull with them.  It makes even less sense to gather in crowds and shout slogans ordering officials to ban pick axes, no matter that Uncle Buck, or little Jimmy his son, were lately found to have been pick axed off this mortal coil by that madman Jim Bob Scruggle, a zombie so he thought.

If you want to march and show your disapproval of death being wielded against innocent lives by tools misused, march then against the people killed in clean (sometimes) rooms by quite sane, they will themselves be first to tell you, doctors and nurses engaged in sending hundreds of thousands to their dismembered death before they draw an independent breath; killed and sold for parts to pharmaceutical firms; a kind of proxy cannibalism.

Or, fill the streets in protest against the multi-billion-dollar traffic in pornography, a disease which, if left untreated, will eat away the souls and lives of everyone under the age of forty.  The chance of that happening, though is less than microscopic.  Too many folks named Sandy, or Bambi, or Stormy, or Jake, Jerk or just plain Joe are the willing tools of the devils behind the damage done, and billions more need it to forget how miserable life today is.

Or, finally, raise a voice against the toxic nature of education today, from nursery school to post-doctoral studies, and the death of civilization thereby; civilization and culture aborted in favor of rights and choices.  I think one of the worst forms of death is the slaughter taking place today in class rooms.

Of course the boards and unions and politicians whose lives depend on keeping the death of culture and the end of civilization a flourishing concern will wear the hats they wear, and fill the news with horrible stories about how horrible things used to be before the enlightenment, and why everyone is better off today with the good things we have, and the better things to come.  If only we let them, because they are really the only ones who know, do their damnedest.

And don’t worry so.  Take away their forceps and folks at the abortuary will find a novel use for needle nosed pliers.

It’s A Record!

You know, there’s probably a few thousand folks around the country thinking that; and perhaps a few hundred thousand folks around the world (God, I hope it’s only that many.) thinking the same thing.  Somewhere north of fifty is the body count, and a couple of hundred people in every hospital for miles around waiting to see if they’ll increase the count.  And, there they stand, on the corner watching, worrying, waiting, counting, and, perhaps, grimly smiling in their best “I told you so!” manner…

Some V.P. at one of the TV stations lost her job because she simply gave voice to what was going through the minds of not a few people.  “Somebody’s got to pay!  Somebody’s got to be responsible!  Why not “them”, the ones who believe in all of this stuff, anyway.  Live by the sword…”

I mean, what’s the problem?  We set a record for cripes sake!  So, we lost a few one toothed rubes.  What was it that guy said, the English one a couple of centuries ago, about Irish babies?  Same thing.  Who dies doesn’t matter.  What matters is we set a record, or, better still set a record and in some way “provide a benefit to the country”.

And, as usual, there are plenty of folks who, understandably upset at the method employed for record setting, are calling for more gun control, calling for the government to step in and prevent such things from happening again.  They did the same thing when the last record was set in Orlando a couple of years ago, and before that when some teenager in Connecticut  set the Youth Division Record in his school a couple of years ago.

Be that as it may, though, it is the truth that all of these folks died not because guns were allowed out in public and got over eager, or carried away by “record fever”; as if they were in some competition;  some Orlando versus Las Vegas thing.

No.

Put a gun down and it stays there; stays until hell freezes over.  The next gun setting a record for body count, whether it’s rubes or boobs, lawyers or liars, will be the first.

You see, that isn’t the problem.  Motive is the problem, and guns, inanimate objects, mere tools that they are, are incapable of forming a thought, however twisted it may be, or developing a motive.  Do we remove hammers from carpenters who bludgeon their wives, children or co-workers with them?  No, we remove the carpenter from the hammer, and either execute them or lock them up for life.  Hammers remain in circulation.  More are made every day, and sold to anyone with enough money to buy them.  And knives.  And bricks.  And sharp spades.

The current and latest record holder is dead, but, I will bet a ham sandwich that like them, the other two I mention above, he was as mad as the Mad Hatter; “barking mad”, frothing at the mouth mad.  And, I will bet another sandwich that absent guns, he would have done what he did with matches and kerosene, or a hammer, a bow an arrow, or, as is becoming a trend around the world, a large truck on a crowded street.

I cannot understand what drives some folks into a rictus of fear driven indignant frustration, what has them wide eyed and sputtering about the need to control guns.  Is it the desperate straits we’ll be in until the last gun is safe behind bars, or melted into something really useful, like a door stop;  and, possibly, until all present gun owners, many of whom were probably fittingly present in Las Vegas the other night, are sent to some quiet place for re-education?

Well, yeah!  And there’s the rub.  It will never happen. But, some folks won’t stop crying and trying.  Well not some, but an awful lot of folks; the brow knitted, hand wringing, teary eyed, do gooding, banner carrying, folks with a cause.

Yesterday I got myself into a discussion on a “social media site”.  You know the one.  Maybe you’re a subscriber, too, along with a couple of billion other people. Just shows you how much spare time there is in the world.

Anyway, folks were going on about guns, and how they cause all these deaths, set all these records, and no one seems to do a darn thing about it, seems to want to keep them out of the hands of screw ups all over.  They always say, “Write a law, or change one, and let the government control what guns there are, or anything else, how many there shall be, and who shall use them and when and where and how.  One of them had written, when I asked why should guns be controlled the following, and my response appears below it:

 “Umm, because people with guns who take a life seem to have more rights than their victim. Seems obvious to me…. right to own and carry a firearm gets talked about way more than the right to assemble in a public or private place without threat of violence.”

I answered this way: “I don’t own any guns, never have.

But I was issued a gun, and carried it for 33 years. On more than one occasion I was glad I had the use of it. And on many more occasions I was glad I had possession of it. It was a magnificent argument winner.

I also know quite a large number of men and women, and children, who own and use guns. Not a one of them has caused an injury or death to anyone else by gun. And there are millions of people like them.

Many, many more people are killed by automobiles each year than by guns; killed by leaping from bridges and tall buildings than by guns, killed, dare I say it, by abortionists, than by guns.

Yet we have not outlawed cars, bridges, tall buildings (or sleeping pills, or cigarettes) or abortionists.

Perhaps, what we really need to do is outlaw pre-meditation.

Then we have only to solve the problems posed by cars, bridges, buildings, pills and tobacco…and, of course the current bette noir, opiods.

Shall we outlaw knives because thousands each year are injured or die by knife? How then would we carve Tom Turkey? And pillows? Shall they be done away with to prevent the death by suffocation of demented elders or annoying spouses?

I offer a revision of the “Guns don’t kill people…” line: Guns don’t kill people, sin kills people!

Outlaw that!”

My interlocutor answered: ” Only one of the items you listed has the sole purpose of inflicting harm upon another living thing. Can you identify which one?”

How shall I answer? Do you know which of the many things exists solely to harm other persons? Cigarettes? Abortionists?

 

 

The Two Shall Become One

 

 

I was thinking about my marriage the other day. If you know me well, you know that I am a re-married widower. After eight months in that state I married Mariellen, the woman who sits at the other end of the couch from me now. While Sheila, may she rest in peace, was dying she found time to concern herself no little with making sure I would be well matched and cared for once she had died. So, she advanced, in her subtle wife’s way, Mariellen and me. It is a story some of you may have heard. And, she had help from higher powers. That is a story fewer folks know, but no less true for all that.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it is one of the greatest truths in the universe, the truth about marriage, sacramental marriage, marriage until death do us part… When Sheila had finally finished her work here on earth I gathered the kids and said, “The best part of us is gone.” I was talking about the family, of course, but more. I was talking about who I was with her, what we were together, our sacramental, blessed, matrimonial union; the married-for-life singularity we had been for the past 34 years, 3 months, 11 days, 11 hours and 47 minutes since we became a new “person” who had formerly been two and were now one.

The Catholic Church teaches us that upon his ordination to the priesthood a man is changed ontologically; his very being, his humanity is changed. I’ll accept that. I’ll probably start a philosophical/theological argument here when I say I wonder if something along the same line doesn’t happen to both a man and a woman who “pledge their troth” in the Holy Sacrament of Marriage. The two shall become one!  The words are the title of this little exercise; stolen directly from the Bible.

That’s exactly it!  We, Mariellen and I, are one flesh, before God for whom we are no longer two but one and, we have become one person also before the law and civil authority. So should we be, because we, and all married men and women, are the wellspring of life, culture and civilization, the promise and guarantee of a future, and, through the family, the first and firmest link in society; any society no matter where and no matter when.  We are that society’s basic building block, the beginning of everything human, the foundation of everything human, the “home” of humanity, its self understanding, its promise of a future and its first and firmest link and with the past.

Undo marriage, fail to affirm its unity of persons into one new person, and you unravel human kind, human culture, human life begun as two-become-one by the very God who created us; who said: “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make him a helper.”  There’s a note to this verse in the Catholic Bible: [2:18] Helper suited to him: lit., “a helper in accord with him.” “Helper” need not imply subordination, for God is called a helper (Dt 33:7; Ps 46:2). The language suggests a profound affinity between the man and the woman and a relationship that is supportive and nurturing.

What happens to one of us happens to both of us through this oneness of being-in-marriage. And what one of us does, we both do. And what is done for, with or to one of us is done to us both. Not only to us, the man and the woman, but to everyone. We are no longer two, but one, flesh and feeling and life and love.

I’d like to recommend to your attention an article which first appeared about a year ago in the journal First Things. It is well worth reading, studying, learning from, because marriage is under attack these days, weakened, treated poorly, debased and derided. If it is done away with, as many wish it to be with all their plans for “expanding” it in every direction, and marriage, real marriage, neglected and cast aside, we will have cast aside our humanity, I think, and become beasts.

The most casual glance toward, the briefest look at, the slightest taste of what passes for culture, what composes society, what orders our behavior, what guides us in law, what have become our standards and “approved” behaviors among men and women, children and families today, what we choose to be entertained by, to “tolerate” in our homes and elsewhere, should show the intelligent observer how well on our way to that state we are.

The State of the Nation II

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Elect Em, Buy Em

(They’re All for Sale, Anyway)

This ain’t politics, really. It’s economics.

Here’s a question.  Well, here’s a couple of questions.

What do you do with folks who live in places like this: places with people who jump at the chance for something to remind them of their “obligations”; who like Homeless Jesus statues in front of the churches in their rich neighborhoods to embarrass themselves and the high rollers and big spenders they live among when they come in their Caddies and Rollses and long dark Lincolns to be seen in church once or twice a year?  Homeless Jesus statues are even better than pictures of starving babies, or real bums on benches.  They never ask for money, or a meal.

These folks, they’ll feel “compunctive” for an hour or so, until they get back to the Club, The Bent Elbow  or The Green Albatross, for a few befores and a half dozen afters, and an hour or two with Big Jim Cornerstone, home from Upstate for the weekend talking over deals and the “help” they need; and maybe pushing an envelope across the table with a nod and a mention that help’s a two way street.  And, Jim nods and says, “I got your back in the Committee, Billy, my boy!” before he leaves.

Was that a stagger or a swagger on Jim going out the door to his car?

What do you do with a pol who goes on the payroll of a big deal company making drugs that have to be “regulated”, and picks up a trip or two from a company that wants to build a power line and needs to go to a nice resort in Arizona or some place to find out how the power line will impact her neighborhood back in Upper Michigan?  At $500.00 a night, plus the round trip up front with all the swells, and points.

What do you do when stuff like that happens…on both sides of the aisle?  Even in Philly, of all places; it being the home of brotherly love and all?

What do you do about an AG who finds out about all of this and then says there was nothing wrong?  Do you think the AG got a call from someone who said unprintable stuff and suddenly discovered that he’s an AG up a tree with no way down, alone in a desert with no water, in the middle of an ocean on a leaky boat without an oar?

No pol I suppose is ever going to feel bad about a thousand a month they get, regular, from XYZ MFG., you think?  They’ll never feel bad about their vote on XYZ’s plan to fast track the new factory they want to build between the VA Hospital and High School, because, well, that’ll bring 300 new jobs to town.

And, the runoff will add 300 tons of dirt a day to the Neversocruddy River.

You think a pol will ever say, you think that ANY pol has ever said, to themselves, “This ain’t really mine.  I only take it so’s I can stay in office and help the fools (oops, folks) who voted me in, and keep that jerk Bruntkowski from ruining the district and the state if he ever gets enough money to beat me.”  And then they stuff it in their pocket, or hand it to Tommy the Bag, and have another snort and light a cigar and smile and say, “Don’t worry. ”  Just like Big Jim from Upstate.

You think?

Here’s something to think about.  How about buying a few of our own?  I got an idea for a kind of Buyer’s Club.  I think this is real Poly Sci, not that other stuff that they charge you a couple of hundred “G’s” for in college, and you learn how to hold coats for real pols, and hand them stuff they never thought of sayin’ to say to the squares at the Town Meeting.

I’ll start small, someone from the School Board who’ll go for a Ham sandwich. But, he’ll be mine, and will say no to stupid stuff, of which there is a lot…like Common Core and uni-sex bathrooms…in schools all over the place.   I don’t care what he thinks.  As a matter of fact, if he’s a real pol, he don’t care what he thinks.  He may not even think at all; to want to think, or to be able to think.  I only need him to raise he hand at the right time and shut up the rest of the time.

You can’t convince me that Joe Biden thinks or even can think, or that guy from Indiana who was a Veep a couple of dozen years ago was able to think.  Reid can think?  Boehner?  Pelosi?  Gimme a break.  They’re owned, and they love it.   The difference between them and Tip O’Neill or LBJ is that they were sold, Tip and LBJ shopped themselves.

None of those pols in that Philly story think about anything except the next envelope, or the next free ride, and what stupid people like you and me who ain’t got any green to spread around have to put up with in the back of the bus, with our kids in a school with one bathroom for everyone next to a smelly factory.

So, I’m going shopping today for a pol who’ll be mine for twenty bucks.  I’ll put an add on E-bay.  We get 500,000 guys doing the same thing, and suddenly we got a “Movement”  I got a good name for it.  I’m gonna call it “Representative Democracy”  Because, what we got now ain’t.  If it ever was.

Unless of course you’re a Fortune 500 deal.

Happy Easter!

WHY NOT THE MOUSE NEXT TIME???

Somewhere around this time last year, as Mitt Romney was in the third year of his second run for the presidency, and the Republican field had been narrowed to the population of several states from a number just a few short of infinity I decided that it might be necessary actually to vote for someone who existed, who was a real person.  And so, I thought about voting for Mr. Romney, tall, handsome, smart and honest.

I had not voted for a human being in the last two elections; choosing instead to vote for Michael Mouse.  I had even dreamed up a slogan for the little fellow’s campaign: MY MAN IS A MOUSE!  I spoke to my friends, and may have convinced one or two of them (which would have been, possibly, more than I had of friends) to join in with me and promote MM’s run for the highest office in the land.

But, then, I listened to other voices, people whose powers of persuasion moved me to reconsider my position.  “It is silly,” they said, “you are just throwing away your vote by going into that booth and writing in the name of a cartoon character.  It is a senseless and meaningless gesture.”  I tried to argue that given the man occupying that office (who still occupies it) , and the fellow who had occupied it during the previous eight years, and the line -up of opponents/prospective candidates available, voting for someone who was a cartoon character seemed to me to make more sense than anything else.

Still..

In the end I caved, flipped a coin, sort of, and settled on Mr. America.  I guess I was thinking of that old song by the Coasters, “Along Came Jones”, and hoping he would get elected and rescue Sweet Sue (that’s us) from the gunslinger.

Little did I know that I should have stuck with Mickey.  At least I wouldn’t feel as if I had wasted a vote.  Because the word filtering out from the folks who know is that Old Mitt didn’t want the job anyway.  He tanked it.  And, we know from sad experience that the guy who has the job really doesn’t exist.  Oh, I mean he is there, all right, but he really has no idea about running a country, or doing much else than “chooming”, organizing a community (whatever in God’s name that is) or body surfing; or standing around while Ambassadors and other guys get murdered…and then not saying word one about it because the “investigation ” is still going on.  I mean his most common vote anywhere was “present”.  Well brain dead people are “present” too.  So are ghosts according to some folks.

Turns out they both stink.  If fact, they all stink, from Chicago Slim in the White House right down to the most junior jerk in the House of Representatives;  where about the only thing they represent is their own wallet, I think.

Anyway, I’m back on The Mouse’s bandwagon and there I intend to stay.  This morning I was having a cup of Joe with the Little Lady down at the local Dunkin’ Donuts.  There were a couple of old guys over in the corner jawing about the, how many, damn near 500 stupid and selfish men and women we send down to DC  to do nothing much good to or for anyone, and one of them says, “I’m 73 years old and I don’t think I am ever going to vote for another person for anything again.  I’m just going to go into the booth and scribble down a name, any name.”

My heart leaped!  If two old and nearly useless guys like him and me can have the same idea, what would it look like if 30 or 40 million of us went behind the curtain and did the same thing; if no one was elected, if the country actually followed the predictions of the polls and said, “None of the above?”  For anything, even School Board President, Dogcatcher, Registrar of Probate, President?

Because, you know, none of the folks there now seem to want to do anything at all about anything, and the guy we just sent back to the Oval Office hasn’t got the faintest idea about what needs doing, except that we need more money to do it.

Actually, I take that back.  It seems that one person does have a good idea, which idea won’t see the light of day down there.  The junior Senator from New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte says all of those dopes don’t deserve a pay raise because they haven’t done anything for it.  That’s the first bit of sensible thinking I’ve heard come out of that swamp in about 12 years.

Now, if only they would return all the rest of the money we’ve given them for the past 12 years I might reconsider my support for The Mouse.  I know all of that dough might make our fall from the cliff just a little bit softer, turn it into a kind of velvety “smoosh” rather than a granite hard “SPLAT” when we hit bottom.

One thing that can be said for The Mouse is that at least he works cheap; a couple of nibbles of cheese now and then and he’s good for a week.