Warning. Old man musings ahead.
I once again attempt to write a little bit every day now that running an election has passed. I am divorcing myself from any concerns with the ruling party. In fact, the new me will regard politics, political parties, and people who hold reforming political views with thinly veiled contempt.
The week has rolled around on me once again, and I wonder where the time went. My mind is still telling me it is spring, but the faded greenery out the window testifies that spring is long gone.
Just got the news that an old political foe from years back has died. I mourn his passing even though he was a pig-headed academic lefty and loved citing factless facts as … well … facts.
I didn’t get the cataract surgery. My GP wouldn’t approve of the proceedure until he nails down why my heart will suddenly take off at 150+ beats per minute. The episodes don’t last long, and seem to be a bit worse if I am not careful with my diet. So I am wearing a cardiac monitor for 14 days or until the glue gives out on the sticker, whichever happens first.
We haven’t had the first frost yet, and the grass is still requiring a weekly mowing. I have been getting out a bit more and have upgraded my outdoor tools to ones that are small, but powered. A folding stool now goes from place to place with me as I attempt to clean out old flower beds and remove them. The time of posy gardens has come and gone.
And I sit here wondering what has happened to me. I used to love trying to make the mundane interesting. To grab your attention and hold it while going on about my dyspepsia and other ailments.
My head is in a fog. I don’t know where I want to go with writing. I have lost my audience. I need a new bright bauble to chase. I lost my mojo ….
Well, now I am thoroughly disenfranchised. Perhaps I always was and just did not know it. I have become a sojourner in a land I once called home.
God’s people have always been sojourners, even In the land where God called one tribe of people to live in. Indeed, the US is not my home if I do in fact belong to a particular tribe of God’s people. But the recent turn of events in the US has driven that home with the stark realization that rabid people have taken over the land.
I no longer can trust the press for the truth. Perhaps we never should have trusted them. But now I am ‘red pilled’, to use modern vernacular. My eyes have been opened. I should be wary of people who desire to lead me, whether they be the county commissioners or the President of the United States.
Though we have been given discernment over evils effects, we have not been given eyes to see the evil in men’s hearts. But when a class of people begin to call evil good, and good evil, you can know which spirit is walking the land. And it is indeed an evil spirit. An ill wind that blows. A bad omen to ponder. And no good can come of it.
If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.
And if it not be possible, what then? Either pick up the sword and be slaughtered, or meekly go to the slaughter. Not real pleasant options, are they …
The compound láðspel (literally, ‘evil tale’ or ‘evil news’) comes from Old English. It is in fact the almost exact opposite of the much more familiar Old English term gospel (which means ‘good news’).
A watchman speaks again:
Some eras we are blessed with respect for the government because it has earned the respect it gets. In less blessed times we give deference the government because it will brutally crush you if you openly disrespect it. The church will survive in either scenario, but in the latter case, it must remove its banners, sell off its buildings and gather in the places the adversary is reluctant to go.
At this late hour it does not matter to me, my watch on the chill ramparts is almost over, and I may soon fall into the cozy warmth of blessed slumber.
But if you are young and just beginning your tour of duty, walk your post thoughtfully with measured steps. It is not a time to be careless with your words or living. You may no longer wear your badge of faith on your sleeve, but must rather wear it hidden in your deeds. The enemy is at the gate and he is ruthless even as he preaches his malignant words of love. The era peace is over.
Morning dawns and I awake to it without effort. It has been awhile since that happened. As much as I hate to admit it, the slumber of a laborer is sweeter than that of an idler. But it doesn’t take much labor for me to tire. Six hours on a tractor seat was a piece of cake a couple of years back, but now two hours and I am dragging.
But at last, the unmowed wilds have been leveled to golf course flatness, and the windrows[i] are ready for bailing if I was inclined to go that far. As it is, I will just leave the windrows to dry a few days, then go over it again with the mower and grind it into an allergy inducing powder.
But the major nag has been taken care of finally, and after doctoring myself up with steroid inhalers and antihistamines, I lugged my aching body to bed and slept the sleep of the just. It doesn’t take much to become just in this family. A little production is all that is needed.
So the fall goes on. Next up is the eye surgery … I am almost ready for it. My vision is so clouded that I hate driving and make Snookums drive when I can. But I really hate all the scheduling it requires. Physical exams, telephone exams, lab tests, surgery on one eye, post-surgery visit, surgery on the other eye, post-surgery visit.
That is more activity in three weeks than I have done in three years.
So life flows on by. I sip my coffee and ponder great themes and religious paradoxes, and idly watch political factions fight in a bar brawl of snarly charges and righteous comeback.
I wonder what kind of world will my generation leave … I don’t think it will be a good one.
- a long line of raked hay or sheaves of grain laid out to dry in the wind
In a return to the morning coffee posts where I stagger down to the studio while trying not to slop coffee on the carpet, plop down in my new $59 “Executive Chair” and try to write something coherent. Spell checking, and maybe some rough editing is allowed, but these are not orations nor dissertations. Just the observations of an old man facing his doom. The challenge is to limit them to 500 words, but ideally I will wrap them up around 250 words, más o menos.
As fate would have it, my brother and niece have come to stay with us. I presume permanently, but who knows? They visited earlier, and while here the Covid
madness stupidity hysteria settled in and even auto travel was proscribed. While they were here, they concluded this would be an ideal place to live, and after a brief return to their home in Colorado after everyone was too exhausted from all the hyperventilating to care, they made the move.
My brother then had a cardiac episode and went through bypass surgery and is now recovering from that. The niece went to work nearby in Temple, a twelve-mile commute from the house and near where my brother is going through cardiac rehab. Kismet again.
But for me, little changed. I mow when I can, take lots of naps muse on arcane religious texts and torment the budgie.
And blather on like people hang on my every word.
I am very happy with my retirement to the pampas of Central Texas … it was mostly a good move. But this is one of the things I miss about my old Colorado home. Nothing beats the serenity a drive up Cumbres Pass that descends on me when the aspens turn …
Farewell, Colorado. I’ll not likely see you again until I close my eyes for the last time.
I have had very few actual heroes in life, other than the obvious ones in most everyone’s family and a few tarnished icons during my recovery from the bad chemicals and ideas of the 60’s. But one character stands out to me as what I wanted to be.
I honestly do not know much about his personal life other than he did return to England to serve during World War II. And frankly, I don’t want to know. If you have some disparaging information about his personal life, save the juicy tidbits for more appreciative people. I like the characters he played with sophistication and reserve. A perfect gentleman. I didn’t care that it was all an actors skill.
I wanted to be like him, but it is rather hard to look sophisticated when you have acne and a ragged old ‘52 Chevy salesman’s coup. Niven would have driven a Rolls or some other exquisitely crafted car. He smoked cigarettes taken from a silver case which were carefully fitted in an ebony and silver cigarette holder. I smoked Lucky Strikes rolled up in a t-shirt sleeve when I could afford them, and cool required that they hang off of the bottom lip James Dean style. My school ‘buddies’ would have laughed me out of the county if I had used a cigarette holder and used a Ronson™ lighter. Any thing other than a Zippo™ was considered … well … a little sissyfied. And trust me. It was better to be killed that be called a sissy back in those days.
Niven didn’t wear t-shirts. It was either a military uniform, or a tux. He wouldn’t wear Levi’s, and if he had a leather jacket, it would be a brown pilot’s jacket, not a greasers black leather one. Not that I could afford a motorcycle jacket back then.
I don’t recall the movie, but one scene stands out perfectly in my mind. He was falsely accused of flirting with another mans wife, and the husband confronted him about it while he was coolly sipping brandy from a snifter and casually standing in front of a fireplace as the irate husband berated him. The man then punched him, and he carefully set the snifter on the fireplace before falling on the floor.
I just never quite reached that level of sophistication as hard as I tried. I studied verital wines. Continental cuisine, new the best hotels in every city (if the ads were to be believed, anyway). I did try to dress up one level in my early 50’s, but then I was long married, and sophistication is wasted on Snookums. They don’t come more pragmatic than her. So the suits went back in the closet, the Grecian Formula and Rogain bottles dried out from misuse, and I settled in to be an old fart. So much for my mid-life crisis!
I don’t know what triggered those thoughts today as I sit in front of the one-eyed blinking cyclops. Perhaps it was looking at some searches for studio furniture that triggered that old lust for breeding and sophistication. Today, sophistication is taking the time to slice a sweet onion and put it on my bologna sandwich to take with my morning pills.
But failed dreams aren’t such a big tragedy when you get older. Disillusionment is a theme with us. We discover that politicians become corrupt very soon after being sworn in. We discover that hucksters write the consumer guides. There really isn’t a dimes difference between a Ford and a Chevy. And winners write the history books.
So I sit back and finish my coffee, and finish this missive … no matter what happens, God is not surprised. Sometimes we just got to trust that things will be OK.
It is said that a wise traveler in a foreign land avoids politicians and social unrest. I once was born to this land, a native sprout of its soil, but it is no longer my home. I must remember its fate is no longer in my hands. Yet I weep for its withered blooms of promise yet standing in the arid fields of liberty.
“Can humankind rule itself?” the authors once questioned.
“Apparently not” the faded blossoms replied. The people demand a King, and a King they shall receive.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?”
A rabbi once questioned his students, “How can you tell if you have been in the presence of God?”
One student replied, “It just feels good!”
The rabbi then asked, “How do you know that it isn’t that pizza you just ate that is making you feel good?”
OK. Yeah, it is rather low-quality Zen, but the point is that feelings are not evidence of the presence of God. Over the years I have witnessed many ‘miracles’, mostly inevitabilities that were unexplainably altered, such as car crashes etc. And they have all reinforced my belief. Indeed, we are encouraged to recall those times when faith wavers. But the true evidence is that we were we changed by the event. One does not stand in the presence of God and remain unchanged.
Those times have been rare in my life, but they have occurred. The major one, of course, was the event where I moved from belief in an insane god to a sane one. In the aftermath of my beatnik – hippie – brujo’s apprentice – child of the universe days, I was left mentally unstable to put it mildly. The potent combination of bad chemicals and bad philosophy had left its toll, and I stood on the precipice of suicide.
As I teetered near the edge mustering up the courage to leap, I had an encounter with God. I don’t often tell others precisely what happened. It was one of those things that you would have had to have been there to understand. But it really was a Pauline sort of road-to-Damascus moment, and I was changed forever by the experience. My path changed even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I was far to confused to see the subtle changes in my life.
It still was half a decade later before I finally truly broke free. I often tell people my After story was worse than my Before story. Many teachers came and went. An advertising account executive. A professional janitor. A huge Irish slob and a scrapper. An ex-jock used-truck salesman who was sleeping in the trucks he sold. Each one parting in time, leaving their unique gift of wisdom.
Then another one occurred at middle age, during a health crisis. I was again fully prepared to step across the abyss when God again intervened, and I was once again changed and set on a new path. That time it also took a bit of time before wisdom won the day. It was a good thing, because in many ways that second meeting was more critical than the first one.
And now I am sitting here changed and was wondering why it was necessary. It isn’t like I am going out to light the world on fire again. That time has passed, and I am now an old man moldering in his reveries. Then the reason became apparent when an old vice reared its head again, and I saw it for its empty promise.
No thanks. I’ve taken that bus before, and really didn’t like the itinerary.
So I sit and molder some more, and watch an increasingly insane world go by. I touch it lightly. I am just a traveler taking in the sights as I pass through.
Just about the time the news begins to overwhelm me, a refreshing piece like this comes along and restores my faith in the press.
Man loses penis to infection, doctor builds new one on arm
By Kayla Rivas
Published August 03, 2020
A British man who lost his penis to a severe blood infection now has a new one built on his arm.
Malcolm MacDonald, whose surgeons were able to add an extra two inches to his manhood, is now awaiting final surgery to transfer it to its rightful place, reports say.
The 45-year-old had a perineum infection that worsened into sepsis, and soon he saw his fingers, toes and penis turn black, according to a report by The Sun. He was “completely gutted” when his penis fell off in 2014, though his testicles were still intact, the outlet wrote.
He reportedly nicknamed the appendage “Jimmy” and can now find the humor in the situation while he awaits the final procedure.
“Of course it is mad – having a penis on your arm,” MacDonald told the outlet. “Not even I am used to it. But when you think about it, it’s actually amazing.”
Professor David Ralph at London’s University College Hospital has expertise in penile reconstruction and built MacDonald’s new penis out of a skin graft from his left arm, The Sun wrote. A tube and a hand pump are said to allow for a “mechanical erection.”
The man already has two children so he wasn’t worried about sex, the outlet wrote.
“It was always more about my self-confidence and simple things like using the loo,” MacDonald told The Sun.
When MacDonald was due for the operation to transfer the new penis to the groin area, he was reportedly unwell and it was pushed to a later date. The coronavirus pandemic further added to the delays.
The man hopes to have the final surgery by the end of the year, he said.