You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Pete’s Error
By Arthur Chapman, born 1874

There’s a new grace up on Boot Hill, where we’ve planted Rowdy Pete;
He died one evenin’, sudden, with his leather on his feet;
He was Cactus Center’s terror with that work of art, the Colt,
But, somehow, without warnin’, he up and missed his holt.

His fav’rite trick in shootin’ was to grab his victim’s right,
Then draw his own revolver — and the rest was jest "Good-night";
He worked it in succession on nine stout and well-armed men,
But a sickly-lookin’ stranger made Pete’s feet slip up at ten.

Pete had follered out his programme and had passed the fightin’ word;
He grabbed the stranger’s right hand, when a funny thing occurred;
The stranger was left-handed, which Pete hadn’t figgered out,
And, afore he fixed his error, Peter was dead beyond all doubt.

It was jest another instance of a flaw in work of man;
A lefty never figgered in the gunman’s battle plan;
There ain’t no scheme man thinks of that Dame Nature cannot beat —
So his pupils are unlearnin’ that cute trick they got from Pete.

Yeah! Go Lefties!
In the first grade my teacher, during writing class looked at me with my pencil in my left hand and said, "Your on your own". Add to that twenty-two years in the medical field and my handwritning is quite "unique". Once, the bank called me because someone had forged a counter check to my account. The reason they could tell? They could read my name on the check;)

Friday, September 27, 2002

The Friday five

1. What are your favorite ways to relax and unwind?

TV without commercials, we have a Tivo clone from Dish and it has spoiled me. Now even if a program is on at the moment I am watching TV I’ll still record to watch later.

I usually have several books going at the same time. I never go anywhere without at least two with me. I carry a large laptop bag everywhere that would put most mothers’ purses to shame.

Anything computer or tech related, my oldest son and I are looking at getting into a Linux/XP dual boot system just for the fun of it.

Cycling; but I just never found the time this summer and the fifteen extra pounds I have proves it.

2. What do you do the moment you get home from work/school/errands?

The Christmas before last Bev surprised me with a new recliner. Actually, she told me she couldn’t make up her mind between that and a camera. I knew she was sick of the ratty old one and it would more useful than a camera but I wanted to pick it out. My youngest son cuddles with me while we watch TV and I wanted one big enough for the two of us now that he is growing. Who knows how much longer he will want to sit with “Dad” so I wanted to make the most of it. We ended up with this monster recliner. The sales clerk said it was made to fit a six foot eight, three hundred fifty-pound man. When I sit up in it my feet won’t touch the floor, but Zack and I and lay hip to hip comfortably. Therefore, the first thing I do is kick back in the “giant” chair.

3. What are your favorite aromatherapeutic smells?

Anything my wife is wearing.

4. Do you feel more relaxed with a group of friends or hanging out by yourself?
My web heading doesn’t say Husband, father, Loner, Geek for nothing.

5. What is something that you feel is relaxing but most people don't?

Out of the saddle, crank dancing the pedals up these creek bank steep Kentucky hills on my Trek road bike.

Disease of the Day

Common Cold
by Ogden Nash

Go hang yourself, you old M.D,!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
In not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.
By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!
Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.
Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.
A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Got one... sniff.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

All Grown up and no place to go


Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?

by Edna St.Vincent Millay

I remember belly crawling up the hallway. When I get to the living room I slowly make my way to a spot under the end table where I curl up tight. I point my face toward the TV and smile. My parents are making out on the couch above me. I don't remember what show was on, I didn't care. I was up, and I wasn't supposed to be.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Music anyone can play

I've been following this story for a while and I've got to say as ridiculous as this may sound, er, or not sound as the case may be, I side with Mike Batt on this. When Cage wrote, er, composed? this piece the idea centered around "found" music. The pianist would come out, sit down at the piano as if prepared to play and the do nothing for four and a half minutes. The music, er, sound or whatever came from the noises the crowd made as they patiently waited for the pianist to do "something". So four and a half minutes of found music "live" would be completely different from one minute of silence on CD. Right? Er, yeah that's it.

In Mr Ashby's Advanced Music Theory class in high school we learned about found music. He had us take a piece of music paper, hold it against a concrete wall and rub the side of a pencil lead all over the paper. Then we went through and at random picked bumps out of the staff lines and made notes. The result was what you would expect; atonal noise.

So if Will Wheaton is right and "50,000 monkeys at 50,000 typewriters can't be wrong" then is it possible that some where out there is a concrete wall that has Beethoven's Ninth hidden in its roughness? Is it possible that in all my randomness and out of focus mind wanderings I might somehow find something worth while?

God I hope so.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Found item :)

Iraqi TV Guide

8:00 Husseinfeld
8:30 Mad About Everything
9:00 Suddenly Sanctions
9:30 Allah McBeal
8:00 Wheel of Misfortune and Terror
8:30 The Price is Right if Saddam Says its Right
9:00 Children are Forbidden to Say The Darndest Things
9:30 Iraq's Funniest Public Execution Bloopers
8:00 Buffy the Yankee Imperialist Dog Slayer
8:30 Diagnosis: Heresy
9:00 Just Shoot Me
9:30 Veilwatch
8:00 Everybody Loves Achmed
8:30 M-U-S-T-A-S-H
9:00 Veronica's Closet Full of Long, Black, Shapeless Dresses
9:30 My Two Baghdads
8:00 Judge Saddam
8:30 Captured Iranian Soldiers Say The Darndest Things
9:00 Achmed's Creek
10:00 Movie of the week: The Last Iraqi Martyr

Watch the months fly by

You can get a interesting lunar gif file Here. I set it up as a desktop item.

The Friday five

1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people?

No, I am really bad.

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why?

Blog comments would be great, but none of my friends Blog. Meeting in person is the way we use the most. Which explains why so many friends move in and out of our family's life. There just isn't enough time between work and family time to keep up.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it?

I have several. I never use them. The medium has just never worked for me. Again none of the people this would work best with have it, so that makes a big difference.

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away?

My best friends live in the house with me; my wife and kids. My daughter and her husband live about an hour away, but we see them every weekend.

5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"?

Out of sight, out of mind. Life is just too busy right now. I have enough trouble just keeping up with what is in front of me. I don't like it, but that is just the way it is right now.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

The Truth about the weekend wedding

The wedding we went to this past weekend ended up being very nice. I say that now because before the wedding I wasn't so sure how it would come off. There wasn't any problem with the Bride or Groom, they're a wonderful couple. The Groom I've known for ten years I guess. It wasn't any of the family either. The possible problem in all this was me. Now it's not what you may be thinking. In fact I doubt very seriously anyone can guess my problem so I'll just tell you. I was the minister who married them. This was my first and most likely last wedding. You see I am not, or at least I wasn't a licensed minister.

My wife and I were layman youth pastors for about ten years. The Groom is one of my "adopted" sons from that time. We knew he was getting married so when I got a call from him wanting to ask me about the wedding I figured he needed an usher or at most would ask me to sing. When he ask me to marry them I was speechless. He said that even if they had to go to the court house to make it legal he still wanted me to do the ceremony in the church. I was still at a real loss for words but told him I would do what I could to see that wasn't necessary. So began a weird journey to become a "real" minister.

The first thing I did was call the court house to find out what the legal issues were. I found out that being "bonded" was no longer required, you could just use your license, which of course I didn't have. Next I looked into becoming bonded. In hindsight I now know I was talking to the wrong people,but they didn't have any idea who I was supposed to be talking either. I was told I needed a license to be bonded and I could not get them to understand that not all denominations license their Ministers. We just kept circling back and forth, but the answer was always the same: I needed to be licensed, and I only had six months to become so.

Enter Yahoo! One morning while checking the news on the MY Yahoo page, in the side bar a question was ask about someone performing the marriage ceremony of a friend and how could you go about it. The answer given provided a link to the Universal Life church . All you have to do is sign, then respond to the e-mail they send you and you are a licensed minister. I'm thinking, "yeah right". Evidently though most of the ministers in the little marriage chapels down around the Smoky mountains use this. The website will even give advice to help you to set up your business.

This is not the way I wanted to go, but after trying everything else open to me I did sign up. Later I found out that to be bonded in the state of Kentucky all I had to do was go to the correct office in the court house with a witness who would say I was a minister. Then sign my name in this book stating I would not abuse the privilege on a fine of a thousand dollars. I had to give them like a seven dollar filing fee and then I was bonded.

My wife pointed out that now I have been the Groom, the Best Man, a Groomsman,an Usher, the Minister, and the Father of the Bride, at one time or another. All that's left is Father of the Groom, and since I have two sons I should be hitting for the cycle in a few years.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Drive this guy Insane

You have got to check This out.

Yeah, Go on and slam that door!

Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.
She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child...
It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.
Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.
The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
-- As often they had done before.
Hilaire Belloc

Yes, this guy was serious.

Friday, September 13, 2002

The Friday Five

1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why?

My favorite subject in school was Band. I was a trumpet player. One year I had four music classes out of seven subjects.

2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

Mr. Ashby, my band director. He cared more for us than any other teacher. He taught us as much about life as he did about music.

3. What is your favorite memory of school?

When I won the award for enthusiasm my senior year.

4. What was your favorite recess game?

Four corner dodge ball.

5. What did you hate most about school?

The way the kids treated each other, very cruel most of the time.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Time Away

I'm taking off work tomorrow. We are spending the weekend in Louisville to attend a wedding.

The site is slowly coming along. I did finally get the pictures working, but the software is a demo. The s will tell you so. I'm not happy with this editor anyway. We have been trying different ones out. Plus I'm going to resize the photo essay in Photoshop, maybe during our trip.

I should have worked on the site some tonight but the boys showed me how to play Neopets. This is nothing but a grand waste of time. I've set here for three hours doing nothing but playing stupid flash games and tomorrow I may waste a couple more before we leave. I am really good at the "Whack the Sloth" game! My Neopets name is Echomano. I have five books I am trying to get through, two sets of software I'm trying to learn, and I am no where satisfied with the site yet, but I can really get distracted by just about any computer game. My all time favorite was Final Fantasy X. I was heart broken when it was over.

What's your favorite waste of time?

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

" "

Edwin Arlington Robinson's "The House on the Hill":

They are all gone away,
The house is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill;
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one today
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around that shrunken sill?
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,

There is nothing more to say.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Starfish; as long as you can see

A man is walking on a beach. All along the shore, starfish have have been left on the sand from a recent storm. The man sees a boy picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water. The confused man asks the boy, "Son don't you realize there are thousands of starfish washed up on this beach? There is no way your can make of difference throwing those starfish back in the water" The boy reaches down picks up another starfish and throws it into the water and says, "I made a difference to that one" I've always heard that story in reference to perseverance in doing good, but today another darker meaning came to mind.

I plan to stay away from television tomorrow. I am not going to any memorial services. I am trying hard not to think about where I was a year ago, who I was a year ago. I want to think I was not personally touched by what happened.

I have an aunt who is a flight attendant with American Airlines. She lives in Manhattan. She is fine. A year ago we called and woke her up to tell her what was happening several blocks away from her apartment. I do not know anyone who died, except for a friend of a friend, whose name I don't know. I don't want to be affected, (not this one) but my head is full of it. I keep remembering every detail of that day. I can't remember the day before yesterday without writing it down, but everything I've done today has reminded me of what I was doing a year ago, before..

I don't want to be affected. It makes me angry that I have let those selfish cowards have any victory in my life. Then I remember Israel, and I think of the influence of one. We lost so many, too many that day. Israel hasn't went a week since that day that some (one) has not died. I can't keep (it) out of my thoughts and it happened a year ago. What if it happened every other day? I know, we lost thousands in one day, but they lose one, two, five, ten, at a time. The difference it makes to that one, is 9/11 all over again. If I was a family member of that one, if it was my one, it would feel as if thousands were gone. No logic or political argument would change it.

They have a saying in Israel, if you save a life it's as if you saved a whole world.... If you take a life... one... just one....

Monday, September 09, 2002


Courage by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first ing when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

I found this poem above while reading my way through some of my favorite Lit sites. It is hung in my mind. When I was young I dreamed all the big dreams. I wanted to be a flame. If there was nothing new under the sun, then I would reach farther than the sun. Life would be my art and time would be my canvas. To live brightly, to be in the insecurity of the moment, the ever "now". To paint broad and wild swaths of experience on the backs of my eyes. To never stop, to never give in, to "rage against the dying of the light." But night comes and we must rest. The arm grows weary of the brush. Our Howling turns to noise and the ear grows dull with hearing. Or to quote a greeting card I had once. "Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's the day to day living that gets us down."

There of course is the magic. If it's the endless drop, drop of daily life that wears us down, it's the "little" miracles of daily life that are the most amazing. "The child’s first step, as awesome as an earthquake." So common, and yet a moment painted in bright colors on the backs of my eyes. "When they called you crybaby or poor or fatty or crazy and made you into an alien, you drank their acid and concealed it." Incredible violence of the soul. Ugly meaningless pain, yet what power is revealed to rise above it.

Grand we are , and amazing.

Weekend Fun

I had a fun weekend with the boys. We went to Six Flags in Louisville. The highlight was riding the Slingshot with Jason. The Slingshot is a steel ball they strap you into that is attached on both sides with bungy cords, which are attached to two 150-foot towers. These springs build up tension and you are shot a couple of hundred feet up into the air at 5g’s. All this time they are taping you on a video camera that’s right in your face. The better to pick up every stupid expression as you’re flipped end over end 150 feet up in the air.

Then we spent a couple of hours at Cart Country. It’s a Go-cart track that is over a mile long. Jason and I raced each other. Zack brought a church friend along and they raced each other. I had a flat once and almost took out this little girl putting along. I am sure her parents were really happy with me, but what are you going to do? Just so you’ll know, when you have a front left flat and you try to make a sharp left turn the art will slide dramatically off the track. Could be fun except for that dying thing.

Sunday I taught on the Biblical feasts in teen class. We were hung up while describing the Biblical calendar. Seems my class had never heard that Sunday was not the Sabbath before. Next week we have to finish Tabernacles and use the OT scriptures to show the date of the birth of Christ. Wish me luck, I only get thirty minutes if I am lucky.

Friday, September 06, 2002

The Friday Five

1. What is your biggest pet peeve? Why?

Brain dead teenagers behind the counters of fast food restaurants. Our order is wrong a good 50% of the time.

2. What irritating habits do you have?

I gripe to myself out loud about other peoples driving.

3. Have you tried to change the irritating habits or just let them be?

Yes I have tried. My youngest son said I am grumpy driver, and I guess I am, but I don't want him to be.

4. What grosses you out more than anything else? Why?

I work in a hospital so it takes a lot to gross me out.

5. What one thing can you never see yourself doing that other people do?

Finding any enjoyment in mowing the yard.

The Friday five


Best movie ever; Saving Private Ryan. At the end when Ryan turns to his wife and says, “Tell me I’m a good man”, my life changed. The road that Spielberg had been leading me down ran smack into my own indifference for what my freedom had cost. Now I make myself watch this film once a year around Veterans Day because I want to remember that the man standing in that graveyard is also me. “Earn this”, he said.

This week I met a man who had lost all the digits on his right hand and portions of both ears. He had been a tail gunner on a B-24 bomber in WWII. On their 19th mission to bomb a plane factory in Austria they were shot up pretty badly and limped back to a crash landing in England. His hand had frozen solid to the gun trigger.

I thanked him for telling me his story. He hadn’t volunteered it; I got it a piece at a time while taking a medical history. Then I thanked him for what he went through in that plane sixty years ago. He told me they where just doing what had to be done, and that a thank you was not necessary.

Thank you God that I never had to experience war. When I was a child in the sixties I grew up thinking going to war in Vietnam was a given, but by grace it passed me by. Now I think about the cost of freedom and I worry. I have two sons.

Tell me I’m a good man.