Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Musings while Mowing

If you say “Thank you” to an apple tree, the tree will assume that it’s being thanked for its apples because producing and sharing apples is what’s expected of an apple tree. But if you thank it for something unexpected… like if you say, “Thank you Mr. Apple Tree for this fine patch of shade. It’s powerful hot out today, and I’m much obliged to you for offering me this cool place of respite from my labors,” the tree will not only be pleasantly surprised, but it will likely produce better apples in the future… better than it would if it were only thanked for its apples.
Now of course if you have a particularly suspicious apple tree, it might assume you’re playing mind games with it, in which case it may drop an apple on your head rather than improve its fruit quality. If this occurs, DO NOT attempt to humor your way out of the situation by yelling “Eureka! I’ve discovered gravity!” A.) because Newton didn’t yell “Eureka!” when the apple fell on his head. Archimedes yelled that when his bathtub overflowed, and B.) because this tree is clearly in no mood for your bullshit. Trees that have been toyed with in this manner have been known to drop entire branches onto their victims.
By the way… Our apple tree is producing its best fruit ever this year, but the plum tree is scattering immature plums all over the lawn. Jeannie even found a plum branch on the ground the other day. Clearly somebody besides me has been talking to the plum tree. Jeannie denies making any insensitive remarks. The tree is remaining mum on the subject.
Oh, the title?! Yes, these things occurred to me while I was riding around on the lawn mower today. And no, my mower doesn’t have a fuel leak, but thank you for your concern. Anyway, since this is, “Musings while Mowing” I thought I’d end today’s episode by giving you a couple of my lawn mowing tips:
1.) If you have a large onion in the pantry that’s beginning to turn, don’t put it in the compost pile. Toss it in the yard instead, because nothing smells better that an onion being mulched by a Briggs and Stratton on a hot August afternoon. .. A smell so nice, you’ll run over it thrice!
2.) This next tip is more of an operational tip, but it’s an important one. If you have a riding mower with a cruise control switch, use it. I know, we men think we can do it all and we love to press that gas pedal. But when you’re mowing the lawn you’re multi-tasking, and the more things you try to do at once the less you can focus on any one thing. So, take advantage of the cruise control function if your machine has it. This will result in less spilled beer while you mow.
Well I hope you’ve found these suggestions useful. Happy mowing, and don’t forget to pass out those unexpected compliments.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Mourning After Dallas

The tragedy that unfolded in Dallas last night is not a competing tragedy with the reoccurring deaths of mostly black men killed by mostly white police officers. It is a part of the same tragedy. It is a tragedy of two races distrusting, disrespecting, and profiling one another; with members of each judging the whole of the other based on the actions of a few. The original sin cannot be undone. Forgiven or unforgiven, it can only be moved past. Only when America mourns equally for the lives lost on both sides of this tragedy will it begin to stitch the wound that continues to rip open with each violent incident. And until we do the deliberate work of stitching, the natural process of healing cannot begin. We must all be doctors today. Our needle and suture must be empathy and respect... Empathy and respect for one another.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Radical Corporate Terrorists

Trump won’t say it. He won’t utter the words. Neither will Hillary, or Barack. None of them will… “Radical Corporate Terrorists!” There, I said it; a phrase you won’t hear from apologists of free market abuse. They’re too politically correct to admit that some greedy capitalists are strapping exploding debt to people across the country. They’re terrorizing the middle class; reducing their numbers with every explosion, leaving them so sift through America’s ruins with the desperate poor. 

Radical Corporate Terrorists have infiltrated every county in the nation. When a student signs up for college they say, “here’s your exploding debt vest. Put it on, or you can’t attend”. When a person gets sick they blow up their insurance agreement and say, “Sorry, we don’t cover that. We cover other treatments, but not that one; not the one you need to survive… But if you’ll strap on this exploding debt vest we’ll keep you alive a little longer. But keep in mind that when it blows up it will financially devastate your family. It’s your call. We’re just here to help. Please fill out our survey”.

Every couple generations Radical Corporate Terrorists blow up the entire housing market, sending shrapnel flying in every direction, injuring everyone except those living at the penthouse level. The penthouse dwellers wander down after the fires are put out and purchase whatever they please for pennies on the dollar and rent it back the financially injured at inflated rates… because they can. And because their God, Money the Almighty, says they are the chosen ones. They have the right. Glory awaits them.

I’m tired of being politically correct. I want a government that will fight Radical Corporate Terrorism. I want a candidate who will acknowledge that “Radical Corporate Terrorists” are here, now, planning and carrying out attacks every day. I want to fight the real enemy for a change.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bad Poetry Friday

(While walking the dogs this afternoon my mind wandered and voilĂ , a poem was born.)

Arthur P. Dale was hunting for whale,
out in the open sea.
Said Arthur P. Dale as he looked o’er the rail,
“Now where do you think they be?”
Then up from the bottom, the jaws of one got him.
No man was more flummoxed than he.
And he woulda fought ‘em, yes he woulda taught ‘em
a lesson or two… or three!

But Arthur was bested, it was uncontested; 
Hors d'oeuvre a la abductee.
And though he protested while being ingested,
t'was nary a chance to flee.
Now Arthur P. Dale is stuck in a whale, 
out in the open sea.
Tonight he lay pale, somewhere near the tail,
a victim of hyperbole.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short Nonfiction

by R.L. Johnson (abridged version) :

Monarch underestimates the anger of the peasant class. Monarch's head ends up in basket. New leader pledges to do better, but soon falls in love with power. Head, basket, repeat.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

I stopped by my local Safeway this afternoon to pick up a small Easter Ham. Then things got weird. As I hopped out of the truck… One should always hop at Easter time. It’s in the Scriptures. No, I don’t remember where. Ask Donald Trump... Anyway, as I hopped out of the truck, the sky opened up and sunshine flooded the parking lot. Three people dressed like Sailor Moon walked past me, and the sound of a French horn playing You Are My Sunshine filled the air. Yes, that happened... But wait, there’s more.

Inside the store I headed straight for the ham and then quickly to the express register. After placing my carefully selected Black Forest Ham on the conveyor belt, everything came to a stop. The cashier was searching for a key to open up the lottery scratch ticket case for a woman. The line grew longer, but this lady wasn’t moving without her scratch tickets; so, unable to find the right key, the cashier borrowed one form a nearby register and the wheels of capitalism began turning again. The lady purchased what appeared to be a few of every kind of ticket in the case. So far everything inside the store is normal, but, when the cashier tried to hand Scratch Ticket Lady her free Safeway Monopoly game piece, the women abruptly gave it back announcing that she didn’t want it because she’d, “never win”. I don’t know if anyone else in line was entertained, but the irony amused me enough to make the wait worthwhile.

After getting my ham and my free Monopoly game piece, I headed toward the door where a man asked me, “Do you play that Monopoly game?” He had a hand full of tickets so I figured he wanted mine too, but without thinking I said, “My wife does”. Then he gave me all of his tickets. I didn’t know what to say so I just said, “Thanks. I’ll tell my wife a nice guy at the store gave me these”. Then he started laughing, “Nice guy!” he said, “I need to do this more often… Nobody ever calls me a ‘nice guy!’” Doubly amused, I continued on.

Next thing ya know I’m back outside and the French horn music is audible again. This time I see where it’s coming from. There was a busker woman a few doors down, sitting on a chair, playing her heart out to an empty sidewalk. I never know how much to drop in a busker’s case, so I appreciated this one making it obvious. She was sitting outside The Dollar Store under a sign that said “Everything $1.00”. So I walked on down and got me a song for a buck.

...And as it turned out, that “French horn” wasn’t quite a French horn. But it was from the French horn family its owner told me. I don’t remember what she called it, but it was like a French horn except its big bell stuck straight out instead of curling around like a sleeping dog. Speaking of sleeping dogs, it’s time to take mine for a walk.

Good Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Red Hot Pokers

Today as I was ripping out old stalks and leaves without mercy or precision from the dozens of Red Hot Poker plants (kniphofia uvaria) that grow around our house, I realized… These things must be suffering from some plant-form of Stockholm syndrome. I mean, they’re held captive within the confines of my yard, neglected and abused, yet they grow like crazy. They’re peed on by the dog, gnawed on by the donkeys, and everything short of water-boarded by me. The ground is dry and rocky in the summer, and half flooded and rocky in the winter. The only thing they can count on are the rocks. Believe me, the grass is both figuratively and literally greener on the other side of the fence.

A four-man landscape crew with implements of perfection and a full array of plant-spa services show up every week across the street, and the Red Hot Pokers never cry out. They bloom and attract hummingbirds for me each summer, gathering moisture from God only knows where to keep the hummers happily humming. They grow so well I’m constantly hacking them in half with a shovel and replanting chunks of them in places that other plants have given up on… and the chunks flourish. As fast as they grow they could easily grow themselves into a giant “SOS” that could be seen from a passing airplane… but they don’t. They could commit suicide like so many other plants in my yard have… but they don’t. A hydrangea shot itself in the head just last week.

Yes, they’re definitely sick. Not from pesticides, or chemical fertilizers like the poor lush green perfectly pruned plants across the street. No, they’re clearly sick with some sort of mental disorder… but in their weird way, they seem to like it here… and we like having them.