Vixens, Protectors, Iran, Bell Curves, and More–All Mixed Up by One Airborne Provocateur

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading this delightful fantasy novel Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey. Oddly enough, Sunday has recently established itself as my day of reading fantasy, that is, my day of reading rest–given the amount of Bible reading I accomplish the other six days.

This afternoon, I couldn’t stop smiling as I read from this angelic gem. One particularly pause-causing line was the lead female’s (an adept/spy-who-specializes-in-serving-Naamah-by-satisfying-wealthy-and-powerful-patrons’-S&M-bedroom-proclivities) announcing, “By this time, I was suffering a tedium so deadly I would have gladly scrubbed the Marquise Belfours’ chamber pot, for the distraction of a scathing punishment at the end of it.” (Move over, Christian and Anastasia…)

At this juncture in the tale, the vixen is being protected by a smooth, sapient equivalent of the water held back by what we call the Hoover dam. His enemies pray the levee doesn’t break. And, if that doesn’t do it for ya, ladies, let’s just say that he knows his place.

And at that moment, the thought hit me: This is the perfect fantasy. In this fable, we have a woman being free to be completely enslaved to her wiles, as she is being protected by a man who is bound to exercise no restraint in the defense of the weak.

But today’s post is not merely marketing material. Today I want to begin to capture my thoughts on the blossoming peace in the Middle East. Today I want to finally write down how I am so happy that I will be able to tell my children what it was like to wake up after a night of waiting for a war that never began.

I had such mixed feelings that night. Iran–not elusively-defined terrorists but a real country–had attacked America. Every bone in my body was opposing itself as I read the news. Half of me wanted nothing but peace. “President Trump: Please just do whatever you need to make peace.” The other half wanted nothing but the end of the uncertainty inherent to this clash of civilizations that began long ago, but has been officially boiling over since 9/11. “President Trump: Put. Them. In. The. Ground. Sheol. The grave. Deep. Permanent. End it. Win. Please!”

Then the airliner was shot down. Huh? Could this be it? No way was that us. Plenty of chance it was Iranian incompetence. 

Finally, sleep.

Then morning came and with it a group of men declaring for the children-grown-older-in-power-positions-in-Iran that Iran, led by these incompetent imbeciles, was standing down.

What must that have felt like for the Iranians? And, unlike Canada’s inclusion of a turban-wearing man in their optic a few days later, we went with the truth. It was old, white men, though white-hat-less men, who, not just announced the fight was over, but, in the manner of the announcement itself, clarified that one backwards civilization in specific needs to just, “Stop before you hurt yourself!”

Who could have imagined it? In response to the pinpoint–and I mean precision on a level that is hard to imagine ever being produced with anything other than a scalpel held by a hand that was trained in its use for a decade–in response to the pinpoint killing of a small handful of men bent on orchestrating evil, in response to the pinpoint killing of a small handful of men by remote control aircraft half-way across the accurately mapped globe, in response to this, an Iranian version of a tween on the ground was so afraid (afraid of what? afraid of his own government’s response to him if he’s doesn’t shoot? afraid of America?) that he shoots a fire-and-forget 11 foot missile, itself built by another civilization, at an airliner! What?!

Peace. That’s what.

And manifested by who? The noisy and wily Squad? No. By the unapologetically fair-skinned President of the United States of America. Cowboy as all hell, but hat’s off.

She Scooped the Ice Cream

I remember that you welcomed me home from work with a hug. It was a Saturday night. I had flown one call.

I was late the night before and that made you worry.

The roads were better tonight–the ice near entirely gone.

Your son popped out of what I can only guess was another not-quite-discernibly chosen hiding place. He had had on his favorite basketball jersey, baring his skinny arms, as this time there was no t-shirt underneath.

I’ve been gone for too many long day shifts, I thought.

I told him I wanted to talk school work before he took his shower and went to bed. Then I began to take off my boots.

You listened patiently as I explained to him the “in’s and out’s” of following instructions and the particular importance of neat work.

Before my lecture was finished, you got up from the table. You opened the freezer. At the table, I continued to instruct and correct.

You walked to the silverware drawer and returned with the ice cream scoop in hand. It was the second one I bought for you. Do you remember how embarrassed we both were when I couldn’t stop myself from noticing that you had absentmindedly placed the first one in the dishwasher after all? Whoever would make rules for cleaning an ice cream scoop?

I was still teaching the boy as you set the spoon down beside the two bowls and put the ice cream back.

What’s the rush, I thought?

But I didn’t ask. Instead I hoped to guess right. I hoped it was his long-awaited bedtime.

I hoped my hands would soon feel your soft skin and find themselves bumping clumsily into your own as you removed your soft clothes. I hoped my eyes would see in yours that you were waiting for me to take you to our bed. I hoped my ears would hear and feel your impatient and impassioned breath. I hoped my lips would feel your tongue respond to my own. I hoped my body would press eternally into yours. I hoped.

I hoped.

One Interesting and Singularly-Themed Divination of Two Uncertain and Possibly Meaningless Instances which Occurred on the Road in Iowa

First up was the oddity that as I looked to see if there was anything to note about the passengers or vehicle passing me, I was surprised to be the recipient of a smile and thumbs up.

For an unknown reason, anytime I suspect that an occupant of another car is communicating to me, my heart skips a beat. I must be on fire, I think.

But, no. That’s not what was happening here. This was some sort of encouragement. But for what?

Was this Iowan so sheltered that my Colorado plates being in Iowa were simply exciting? As in, “Good for you! You got out!!”??

No. That just didn’t make sense. Plenty of people pass through this state.

Hmm. Not on fire. (Confirmed by the fact that another car has passed me–sans attempt to warn me of fire.) Not my foreignness. What could he have seen?

I know.

A- was in the backseat reading.

No tablet. No phone. No movie. No video game. Just a boy and a book. Yup. That’s it.

A smile and thumbs up from a stranger passing me on the highway. Why? Because I’m raising a boy right.

Secondly, I saw a bald eagle. It was just lazily riding the waves of the wind. At first I couldn’t be sure that it really was a bald eagle. But as I returned my eyes to the road, I saw a new scene. A blanket of red, white, and blue–47, 48, 49, and, yes, 50 bright stars to boot–warmed the wintry landscape. And I could tell that, even when I wasn’t looking, men and women were constantly sewing and mending this mantle by dim, fading candlelight in one great period of darkness.

Then I was sure of it. It was a bald eagle if ever there was one.

Dear Evangelicals, Now You Wan’ Ta’ Get Nuts?!

Dear Evangelicals,

“Now you wan’ ta’ get nuts?! Come on, let’s get nuts!”

You probably missed it, because the speaker was *shh* a Catholic, but the Pope just said, “We are no longer under a Christian regime because faith – especially in Europe, but also in large parts of the West – is no longer an obvious prerequisite of common life, and on the contrary, often it is even rejected, mocked, marginalized and ridiculed.”

As you know, the Bible writer’s believed you’d be persecuted for your faith in Jesus. But that’s not what the Pope was talking about here. No, he was talking about the world-over response of folks to people who say something that means nothing. Most recently, one example I believe he is talking about is Evangelicals’ political pronouncement: “God uses imperfect people.”

Evangelicals love to hide behind this statement. You seem to believe it is meaningfully a “mic drop of mic drops” with which to naturally conclude your squirming, vacillating defense of your loyalty to the idea that President Trump was a good choice.

But all the world over, if it has the time to spend on your ideas, only laughs at you. They reject you. They mock you. They marginalize you. And they ridicule you. And, in this case (among others), they are absolutely right to do so.

Saying, “God uses imperfect people” is the same as saying, “legless reptiles are snakes” or “large bodies of water are oceans” in response to, “I think it’s poisonous,” and, “Looks wet to me.”

You haven’t defended anything. That’s why so many folks think you’re irrelevant.

Defend Trump, I say. Defend him. Defend your choice. Defend your savior. Defend your vote. Defend your mind. Defend, defend, defend. That’s where you make your money. So do it.

Or maybe you don’t know how.

Pete

Sunny Sunday Edition of Self-Motivation, Captain Style

So just how does a pilot, a combat veteran, hero extraordinaire to boot, (and a good smile) motivate himself in these troubled times of doom and gloom? I’ll tell ya.

Firstly, I have an unshakable hope and belief that “good will overcome”. While I must have received this hope from some influential adults as a child, I cannot pin down exactly when or where or who those noble folks were. I’d love to share that I could easily note that they were all Christians, but as you know, the situation is always complicated when it comes to these things. (And, truth be told, for whatever reason, some of the very people I’m trying to cheer up with this post are Christians who see the end of America and subsequently the end of the whole shebang looming on the horizon.) Either way, I’m happy the LORD put these torch-bearers in my life.

Secondly, I motivate myself by doing my best to recognize the problem accurately. This motivates me because once we identify the problem, solutions appear out of nowhere.

There is a problem, make no mistake. But you all are misidentifying it and, more than that, you’re letting others misidentify it for you. You should try to recognize the problem for your own self. It’s quite a ride. But don’t take my word for it. Read on.

The problem is not Trump. The problem is not the Democrats. The problem is not the Squad. The problem is not Islam. The problem is not the climate.

The problem is that we Americans don’t know what to do with our power. In other words, we’re leaderless. We have been for a long time. We’re just going through the motions, hoping no one will bother us.

Additionally, we can still recall what it took to get the power. We can still remember not having the power.

Put another way, I’m talking about the difference between fighting for the top of the mountain, and living atop the mountain.

To be clear, we did marvelous fighting–and for all the right reasons. But now we’re in some sort of bizarre mental depression. I see future historians describing the Great Depression as having two distinct time periods. The first was financial. The second, the longer one, was of the collective mind. That’s where I want to help you. I want to swoop in and fly you out of the depression.

This particular Sunday it occurred to me that I feel (whether accurately or inaccurately) that I fear another nation/tribe/group developing weapons, strategies etc. that could be used to defeat us. IE, bigger bombs, better economies and economic theories, better religions etc. But when I take a Sunday morning to survey the passing scene, I find this to not be indicated anywhere. Instead, I keep seeing 9/11.

I see men, from meaningfully another world, (to say “another planet” would only be slightly misleading, so “another world” must suffice) using our planes against us. I see men using our planes against us. I see “men” using “our” against “us”.

Our. Us.

Using against.

Our. Us.

Us. Our.

Our.

So solution-wise, we’ve hit pay-dirt. Can you feel it? We now know a great deal. We know that a bigger bomb doesn’t defeat or solve “our”. Neither does better engineering defeat “our”. A robust economy doesn’t defeat “our”. A hopeful outlook doesn’t defeat “our”. Even wishful thinking doesn’t defeat “our”.

Good. We’re making progress. We know now that there is no reason to lose hope, that there is every reason to keep excelling–in everything.

Okay. “Our.” What else do we have?

Hmm.

So these aliens snuck one in on us. Minor loss. One battle, not the war. But the way they did it reveals the war. The war is over the Way. It’s not over land. It’s not over oil. It’s not over past sins. It’s not over present sins.

Our enemies are people whose planes we could never use to fly into their buildings–not because of their more diligent TSA equivalents, but because they haven’t invented any planes. Our enemies are people whose books we can’t read–not because they haven’t been translated, but because they haven’t been written. Our enemies are people whose greatest weapon is their neighbor’s 72 year old repeating rifle.

Why haven’t they invented or written?

Horrible question. A trap set by the great Satan himself. That question is in no way our problem.

Ok. I’ll grant you it’s interesting to say. So I’ll appease us all and utter it again.

Why haven’t they invented or written?

Happy?

Why haven’t they invented or written?

I don’t know. I don’t care. You shouldn’t either.

But, returning to reality, I do know that this recognition that they use “our” against “us” motivates me like little else on this day.

Knowing this means that I know that they’re coming. Knowing this means that I know they’re on their way. It means they’re behind me. Knowing this means that I know they wouldn’t know which way to go without me. It means I can, in fact, tell “us” from “them” while looking out my car’s windows on my way to work, all the way to while I watch the international scene unfold on my phone. And it means that I can talk about who they are without the use of political designations or family associations–even in my children’s government mandated safe spaces!

To the enemy I say, “Here you go. I offer this post which contains everything you need to know about my intentions and strategy to defeat you. It’s free for the taking. (On circuit boards powered by lightning storing batteries, neither of which were invented by you!) Take it. As a gift. Because that’s all you seem to be able to do. Take or receive. Never create. Never give.”

To us, I say, “Back to clearing the path. People need to know which way to go.”

Three More Days Until Home School

“No mistakes!” the boy beamed.

Scrunching up his forehead and sharpening his eyes, the man replied, “This one is wrong. And this one.” Then he turned the page over. “This is wrong. And this one isn’t exactly wrong, but it isn’t worded correctly enough to be right.”

Silence.

“Why did you say, ‘no mistakes’?”

“Because the teacher put a star right there.”

“Well, there are mistakes.”

“Well, the teacher doesn’t grade it. She just looks to see that we did it.”

I ask you, reader, do you know what it feels like to have Ignorance violently and maliciously knock you unconscious at breakfast?

“Well,” he began again, “Why did you tell me that there were no mistakes if you didn’t know?”

Crickets.

“Okay. How about, ‘What does mistake mean?'”

“Like when you accidentally make a mistake.”

“Well, you can’t use the word in the defin-”

“-something wrong!”

“Right. But it’s not really limited to ‘accidents’.” A pause. “So why did you say, ‘no mistakes?'”

“I was guessing?”

“Why guess?”

Silence.

“Never mind. How about, ‘If the teacher says, “No mistakes,” when they haven’t looked at the work, then what is that called?'”

A searching pause. This, reader, was then followed by a nine year old’s terrifying, confusing, distasteful, and yet somehow innocent identification of everything wrong with public schools.

“A lie?”

(In case you missed it, the beginning of my tale found a child–Hero? Villain? We do not know–in Fantasy Land, and he felt like a million bucks. Then the end of my tale landed our hero in the real world, where A- was repulsed by the thought of moral responsibility–not just moral responsibility but mere moral reality–and longed for that Fantasy Land of yester-minute filled with lies and no responsibility.)

My Dream Dad, A Review of Ad Astra, Starring Brad Pitt and by James Gray

The idea of evaluating my father seems odd to me at this point of my life (and his). Instead, I want to create a subtle distinction between evaluating my father and sharing with you characteristics of my dream dad. I want to do this today because of the feelings Ad Astra evoked.

Ad Astra is Mr. James Gray’s new, and remarkable, film starring Mr. Brad Pitt.

Ad Astra is also the perfect vehicle to bring my dream dad to life because it makes bold decisions–just like my dream dad would stare into the immensity that faces every man and boldly step forward, world watching.

Scenes in Ad Astra which are unbelievable at face value are presented with such force and gravity that the viewer can only be intrigued to see where all this is going–in the same way that my dream dad would behave in a manner that would continually intrigue me.

Indeed, the movie does go places, too. We travel with Mr. Pitt to Neptune in hopes of finding my father. Der, I mean, Pitt’s father. In fact, we’re looking for Pitt’s father because of his mysterious behavior, both generally in his having desired to antisocially voyage so far from terra firma, and particularly by his recent actions as leader of the “Lima Project”. Likewise, my dream dad is definitely a visionary and thereby a leader of unmatched proportions.

Most importantly, all along the epic and beautifully rendered space journey, the story is one of fatherly encouragement and belief in the son’s ability to do better than himself.

One flashback, near the film’s too-soon conclusion (much like my dream dad’s ‘conclusion’ will forever occur too soon), includes a four or five word sentence that can only carry its tremendous meaning in the gravity-less environment of our fantastic imaginations. But those few words are all my dream dad would need to say to let me know I was finally respected as a man.

And my dream dad would definitely let me know when I had achieved that high goal.

Do Not Fear Tyranny: A Guide to the 55-page Report—“Constitutional Grounds For Presidential Impeachment”

To save you time, I went ahead and read the 55-page document for us. (You’re welcome.) The following is the provocative and abridged version. It is, of course, meant to capture the themes and purpose of the original, while avoiding the length. This post also includes my reaction.

To begin, a couple of questions: Do you fear that tyranny is imminent? Does it keep you awake to consider how very near to becoming a monarchy are these United States, King Trump at the helm?

I didn’t think so.

Here’s the rub. Part of the document’s argument for America’s pending transition to tyranny rests on establishing the dual and (if true) symbiotic facts that the President has enormous (but not absolute) power and the House is the singular body of humans who have been entrusted with the awesome responsibility to “rise to the occasion” and impeach President Donald John Trump.

The problem is that this part happens to be the opening part and, as such, is foundational.

This is, unfortunately for its purposes, problematic because it betrays that it has missed the true meaning of Trump’s presidency. The true meaning of Trump’s presidency, being confirmed more and more each and everyday–and according to the House report’s own definition and reasoningis as We the People’s impeachment of the current batch of United States Senators, Representatives, Justices. And, yes, President Trump’s tenure is our impeachment of the President too, no matter how nonsensical that may sound.

The majority has voted, not for Trump, but for impeachment.

It doesn’t matter who the president is, we say. It doesn’t matter who runs for office, we declare. They’re all corrupt. They’re all liars. They’re all bought and paid for. They’re all mere mouthpieces.

And we’re right. It doesn’t matter who holds public office, at this point. Government, not its citizens, has failed.

But don’t fear. There is no coming tyranny. There is no monarch in the making. Maybe difficult times. Maybe violence. But nothing that the same, age-old virtues, beginning with personal integrity, can’t handle.

Mayor Pete is Woke; This Pete is Awake

There is “NSFW” (that means “not safe for work”, Grandma and Grandpa–thanks for always reading btw), and then there is please never ever try to talk about what you are about to read. (PNETTTAWYAATR.) I’m serious. The following is a no win conversation. You just have to trust me. (It’s all true. But measuring by the “shame” I feel writing it, I wouldn’t say this out loud if my life depended on it. Ergo, we write.)

Disclaimer: this post is going to sound like it is written to “whites”. I’m going to act like I’m revealing a secret that I learned over the past four years while a member of a black church, attempting to socialize with the Black Community. But this post is not for the “whites”. It is for the “blacks”.

Let’s begin.

With the election cycle approaching full-swing, I finally feel like I have something to contribute. Perhaps it is because I have a namesake running. Speaking of, the big headlines about Mayor Pete right now contain the basic idea that the “blacks” (of the African-American type–not the new immigrants who playfully taught me that “No, Africa is not a country. But, yes, Africa is a jungle”) the “blacks” remain one of the last voting blocks to publicly embrace homosexuals with open arms.

To the untrained eye, Mayor Pete seems to be doing all the right things. He’s tackling the problem head-on. He’s headed to the South and he’s going to grin-and-grip. To the untrained eye, Mayor Pete is going to put himself out there for the individual blacks that he meets and whom he endears to himself to inspect and stamp “worthy of our trust”. The untrained eye is wrong.

With the “blacks”, Mayor Pete, woke or not, need not aim for some consensus of individuals, no. Consensus is what he’s doing with “whites”. But the “blacks” are not merely the “whites” with dark skin.

The “blacks” are, to their shame, a group. And Mayor Pete is causing conversation within the body. But they’re not talking about issues. They are merely conducting a sounding, no different than a weather balloon full of hot air. We’re not waiting for “blacks” to think through the issues–for instance, to think through whether they still believe the Word of God is the Word of God, no.

All that we’re waiting for is the leader of the “blacks” to declare Mayor Pete to be their guy. Naturally, the question is, “Who is the leader?” And that is a fascinating question. That is the question Mayor Pete would pay to know the answer to at this point. In fact, that is precisely what he is doing right now, whether intentional or not. All he’s waiting on–all we’re waiting on–with his little hurdle is for this “leader” to declare some sort of “Mayor Pete is da man!” or some other slightly Southern or grammatically-challenged sounding phrase of approval (like “woke” itself) to be released with which the millions of “black” sheep can echo, repeat, tweet, insta, snap, and fb all over the planet. (Interesting sidebar: Is there a black social meeja app, vis-a-vis BET? I can’t think of one.)

Lastly, here’s a little known, but known enough, reminder: The leader, the one with the gift of “utterance”, will prove to be a woman. I’m betting on Michelle.

Now you know.

(In any case, my bet is on Trump.)

All Good Books Share This One Quality

Hopefully no different than many of you, I am choosing to relax on this Thanksgiving holiday by reading.

Unexpectedly, and as tightly binding as the pure delight I have felt when finding passion flooding her eyes, one of the main character’s observations just now highlighted a fact I’ve cherished for many years.

Good books make you want to read more good books.