the paparazzi don’t lie…do they?

“I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.”
Mahatma Gandhi


(visiting the Mayor and the New Sheriff—the Mayor does not appreciate the Sheriff
recieving more time and attention than herself, while demanding she occupy the same chair)

I’ve been away, over in Atlanta for the past few days,
working at the main Woobooville headquarters.

Working of course with the Mayor and her new Sheriff.

And it appears as if a bit of damage control is in order due to a few pictures that have
surfaced in a few of the tabloids.

Now if there is any truth to the pictures, well, that will be left to the viewer to
decide—however one report is that the Mayor has taken the 5th.

One image appears to show the Mayor attempting to derail, or as some unnamed
sources are claiming, actually do away with her new Sheriff.


(the mayor and the new sheriff—is she attempting to adjust the speed or merely
checking for safety…you decide)


(the Mayor denies all wrong doing)

Naturally, the Mayor is vehemently denying any wrongdoing.
She denies attempting to take a teething ring that did not belong to her while
at the same time dumping her new Sherrif from the Mamaroo.
The Mayor reports that she was actually checking to make certain that the speed was
indeed appropriate for his safety…while also claiming that she was merely
safekeeping the teething ring.

Later the Mayor took advantage of a photo op in an attempt to boost her poll ratings
with one of the local clans.
Here we see the Mayor showing her support for the local Cook Clan by attempting to treat
a cornhole board as an indoor slide…
her aides had to step in and quickly correct the mistake of sliding vs bean bag tossing.

Next, some photographer caught the Mayor, with all of her chief aides, eating out publically.
It appeared she was conducting a working business dinner while busily signing some important documents.

The reporter noted that at some point during the outing,
part of one of the crayons the Mayor had been working with was oddly and mysteriously missing.

Further investigation revealed that the tip of a crayon had actually been bitten off.
Perhaps it was just coincidence but the Mayor showed traces of orange wax on her teeth.

Again all wrongdoing was vehemently denied.
The Mayor claimed that any shade of orange near her mouth or on her teeth was
merely some residual BBQ sauce.

She quickly asked for the bill and left the restaurant.

The Mayor’s office is now claiming that her personal account has been hacked by some
foreign nationals who have obviously sold off some compromising pictures to the
highest bidder.
These images were published in a tawdry rag of a magazine showing the Mayor is a rather
risque pose donning a new swimsuit.

Unaware that her mic was hot while dining out at a new restaurant that was proud
of its pickled asparagus, all the while posing for another photo op,
the Mayor accidentally expressed her alarmed disdain for the pickled asparagus.

All the while the Sheriff is trying his best to keep his new boss on the up and up…
while maintaining the law and order in Woobooville.

But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, the Mayor remains securely at the helm.
She works hard running a tight ship while all of her constituents continue to give her their
full and entire support…even her new Sheriff offers his all,
given his often precarious position in her life.

tis the season…to be giving

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
Charles Dickens

Tis the season of gifts…
buying, wrapping, giving…
Yet most of us know that not all gifts are those which can be bought nor wrapped.

By now I suppose most of the country, if not the world, is well aware of the major
power outage that afflicted the Atlanta airport this past Sunday—
an outage that caused a global and near catastrophic ripple effect.

There were hundreds of flights canceled in and out of Atlanta,
the airport touted as the world’s busiest, while other flights simply
had to be rerouted making final destinations more than complicated.
This lone power outage caused severe inconveniences for worldwide holiday and simply
regular travelers.

There were passengers stuck in planes on tarmacs as airport officials scrambled
what to do—deplane folks and shuttle them to the dark airport or what.

Thousands of folks were stuck in that dark and rather scary airport while others
braved walking miles along streets in an unfamiliar area in search of food, shelter or
a rent-a-car…of which there was nary a room to be had at any inn and no
transportation to be found.

The News did pan their camera over to a very busy Waffle House.

The individual stories were and are endless as now hundreds of pieces of luggage are
seen to be sitting in the Atlanta Airport hoping to find their way either
home or to the necessary point of destination…
all much to the chagrin and angst of their owners.

The news reporters were all on scene that night, in the dark, interviewing those
most inconvenienced passangers…with each person, each family,
having an individual tale….yet most of those interviewed seemed to be taking it all
in stride….thank goodness the snow storm had been the previous week.

Some reported that they had witnessed folks trying to “break into” vending machines
and food kiosks within the dark airport as it seems many folks were hungry….
I won’t even speculate about bathrooms.

There were the tales of exit doors being sealed due to no power.
There was a sense of being trapped or simply lost while thousands wrestled with
whether to stay put in the dark and wait, or venture boldly out,
if they could even get out, with or without luggage in tow,
in order to find some sort of plan B.

This is not to mention the thousands across the globe now finding themselves stuck
in airports or cities as their flights were being canceled or rescheduled by the droves.

Schedules and plans were now disastrous around the planet—
all because of a single power outage at a single airport, in a single city,
in a single state, on a single night…..
amazing how there is such a far reaching effect in such a single event…..

There are a lot of different directions a post could be written when something
like this happens…
notions that ‘we don’t need terrorists when we simply have ourselves….’
or perhaps a post about ‘how the tough get going when an inconvenience strikes
while the weaker among us crumble’

or maybe there are just the tales about human resiliency and resolve….

Yet despite the endless possibilities to write about,
I wanted to focus on the simple notion of giving….
wanting to keep our senses within the season of just that…giving.

I’m certain that there were a myriad of tales about the generosity of others during
this “crisis”….from the kind and gracious hotel and motel staffs,
to airport employees offering comfort to the panicked, to the average local citizen who drove toward to airport to see who they could help…..

But one tale in particular caught my eye.

Rather late on this particular Sunday night got, I received a local Atlanta news update
on my phone, alerting everyone that locally founded and headquartered Chick-fil-A was coming to the rescue by trucking in thousands of sandwiches, fries and drinks to those thousands of stranded passengers.

You might not think that such an alert was a big deal until you understand
that there is not a single Chick-fil-A store open nationwide on Sundays.

For you see, the late Truitt Cahty, the founder of Chick-fil-A who first began this
chicken sandwich business in Hapeville, Ga, right near this very airport
way back in 1946, was a very religious man.

Mr Cathy was often asked about his success and he always attributed it to God’s grace.
His go to manual of operation, he would explain, was simple his Bible.

He took God at His word.

If God said to rest and worship, keeping the Sabbath holy, then by gosh that was what
Mr. Cathy was going to do.

I myself am a firm believer that if you honor God,
God will in turn honor and bless you.
Mr. Cahty’s business success is testament to that very fact.

Chick-fil-A has taken a lot of flack in recent months, in part because of the
heavy Christian influence it holds as being a key part of its daily operations.
It has been picketed and protested because it does not condone same sex marriage.

Never mind that they will gladly and happily serve anyone, anytime despite a customer’s
beliefs or sexual orientation, it’s just that as a whole, the organization simply
does not condone the lifestyle choice…and that’s ok but….since we have become a
society that will not allow anyone to hold a view counter
to the madness of culture, places that choose to honor God and keep His word are
often maligned, sued and scorned into submission—but not Chick-fil-A—
it will honor God as it will continue to serve everyone and anyone,
albeit 6 days a week.

So when I read the update that Chick-fil-A would be providing food on this late
Sunday night—
meaning that folks would have to scramble to open restraunts, get employees on site,
fire up fryers and grills in order to quickly transport hot meals out to thousands of hungry and unhappy folks, I for one found tears of gratitude in my eyes.

Truly, it tis the time to be giving…

For the full story—click the attached link….

http://start.att.net/news/read/category/news/article/delish-chickfila_broke_tradition_and_opened_on_sunday_for-rhearst

chasing monsters

“We are each other’s harvest;
we are each other’s business;
we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

Gwendolyn Brooks


(the setting sun in a western Georgia sky / Julie Cook / 2017)

Like most folks I imagine, here on the east coast, I awoke yesterday to learn that a horrific tragedy had unfolded while I had slept..taking place out west.
In Las Vegas to be exact.

Shock, disbelief, raw and numb…
were just a few of the words used to describe my initial bleary eyed
reaction.

Readying for the day I gravitated between the television and my phone just
trying to glean the latest news coming in as I tried making sense of what
I was hearing, reading and seeing.

My son and I had a day of traveling on our agenda so once in the car, with me driving,
he pulled up the local Atlanta Channel 2 Action New’s live feed so we’d be able to
see and hear the President address the nation.

All I could think about was here was one more president coming before a somber Nation,
once again, to offer words of solace and comfort in the face of madness.
How many times has Trump already done this?
How many times had President Obama done this?
How many times had President Bush……

Below the streaming live feed my son kept watching and reading the scrolling comments
coming into the station from its viewers. He read some of these to me….
and I was sickeningly appalled at the words he shared.

There were no words of bereavement, no words of sorrow but rather words and feelings
from viewers expressing disdain and mockery.

From disgusting, vile and derogatory remarks about the President and his family to the
notion that this latest massacre equated to mere payback to whites….
I was quickly reminded why I shun social media.

One viewer finally expressing what I was feeling—“is there a way in which I can turn
off these terribly offensive and insensitive comments and just listen to the President?”

My son turned his phone off as the comments were simply too distracting…
too inhumane really, too monstrous…so we continued our drive mostly in silence as our minds worked to absorb the enormity of these latest events.

Later in the afternoon, as I finally made my return journey home alone,
I did something I normally don’t do while driving…I turned on the radio to the news.
I usually prefer to drive in silence, lost in my own thoughts sans any music or chatter..
but today was different… I wanted to hear and feel what the Nation, my Nation,
was experiencing.

I caught the live press briefing from the White House.

There is a big difference when listening to something verses watching it—

With the visual imagery being non existent, the words take on more of their true
intended purpose.

The White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, came to the podium and offered words of both sorrow and condolence.

She began the briefing by talking about Puerto Rico and The US Virgin Islands and of the ongoing efforts to offer the necessary aid and support to help in the recovery efforts
for these islands following the deadly assault by the hurricanes.

Next her voice began to waver and crack as she began to speak about our common bond
as Americans and the unity of our shared humanity.

She addressed the current unfolding events coming out of Las Vegas.
She shared the various stories of the heroic acts offered during the melee.
The selfless sacrifices freely offered from stranger to stranger throughout the
surreal shooting.
The stories of those who offered their own bodies as shields in an attempt to protect others.
Such acts she noted recalled the verse John 15:13….
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Once finished she turned the remaining time over to the gathered reporters fielding their questions.

I don’t know.

One would think that the heaviness felt from this emotional observation would have been enough to take the wind out of the sails of that most caustic room of reporters.
One would have thought the enormity of what had recently unfolded, just as it continued
to unfold, would have been enough to soften even the most callous and anti-Trump
reporter. One would think, that while our Nation was currently experiencing a tragedy
of epic proportion, it would be reason or should and would be reason enough to have a quieting effect…
but it didn’t.

They did wait until the second question however before falling into their typical
patterns.
The questions began immediately over gun control.

Ms Sanders quickly reminded those in the room that this was a time of National
reflection, National mourning, a time of coming together in our collective
sorrow all the while as the investigation was currently active—it was all too fresh,
too raw and it was NOT the time nor the place to begin the questioning of or for
revisiting policy decisions or for the attacking of a president….the tit for tat of typical partisan politics.

And yet question after question, reporter after reporter began the litany…
There were those who pushed Hillary Clinton to the forefront of conversation with her
less than sympathetic knee jerk tweets regarding the NRA, there were those who revisited the President’s comments from 12 years ago regarding gun control….
on and on they went.

It all reminded me of a friend of mine who just won’t ever take to hearing the word
“no” for an answer.
She’ll turn and twit her query ever so until she gets the answer she wants to hear…
and that’s what this Q & A reminded me of—-someone determined not to hear the word or words “no” or “not now” as they turned and twisted their words over and over,
again and again as they desperately worked to have their affirmative moment…

And yet time and time again, Ms Sanders stoically redirected the focus to the current moment—
to the pain we are all experiencing….not to the what ifs, not to the would haves,
nor to the should haves….

I think I would have just thrown my hands in the air and walked away.
They just didn’t get it—they didn’t get that this is not the time nor the place….

There is however a time and a place…
but today, right now, was / is not that time nor that place for bickering over policies
failed or not. It is not the day to point the fingers.
It is not the day to be accusatory.
It is not a day of politics.
Not the time nor the place for right or left or anarchist…

For today is the day we sort through the shock as we allow ourselves to grieve.
Today is the day we mourn the lives lost and the lives forever changed.
We allow the pain and yes we even allow the anger…
As we mourn another lost piece to the puzzle of our American innocence.
As we digest that life once again, will never be the same as we knew it.

Yet as a Nation, we seem to have forgotten to allow ourselves our own grief.
The press leads the way, our politicians follow suit as now an angry and hate
filled Nation begins the ugly rhetoric.

Did we better grieve or mourn more honestly before this social media of ours—

Before the distractions and the million of tiny soap boxes we each now
climb upon offering up our hateful and accusatory 2 cents as if anyone is really listening…

When was it exactly that we became this way…?

I ponder these thoughts as I hear of the gut wrenching yet heroic tales of selflessness
offered from stranger to stanger—
sheltering, protecting, offering aid to strangers in the crowd… each
caught in the middle of a nightmare.

As a Nation we must allow ourselves time as well as permission for our collective
sorrow, for the shock, for the disbelief and for our own very humanness…
rather than heeding the call by those now jaded and who have forgotten that we are
more than right, more than left, more than anarchist…eschewing their cries in the meida or on social media to gather the pitchforks in pursuit of the monster—
because in our haste, we might just be chasing after the wrong monster…

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort
and relieve your sick servants, and give your power
of healing to those who minister to their needs,
that those for whom our prayers are offered may be
strengthened in their weakness and have confidence
in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

(Book of Common Prayer)

read between the lines

It is hardly surprising that children should enthusiastically start their education at
an early age with the Absolute Knowledge of computer science;
while they are unable to read, for reading demands making judgments at every line.
Conversation is almost dead, and soon so too will be those who knew how to speak.”

Guy deBord

autocorrect_big2

Chances are if you’ve ever received a text from me or even an email or…
ashamedly I confess, if you’ve ever read a post of mine…
you’ve most likely had to read between the lines….

Because between auto-correct, misinformed spell check and a life long issue with a bit of
dyslexia…what you see is often not what you’re meant to get…
Certainly not always what was intended…

However because you know me, or you understand the gist, or you are great at deciphering,
you understand what I’m saying without missing a beat….

Most of us are good like that.

I am heartened by the fact that I have a dear friend who has a automated tag line
on her phone’s messages that reads
“sorry if my iphone decided to spell words entirely on its own!”

What a relief knowing that someone out there understands me and knows
I’m not a complete moron!!!

Yet how good are we at reading between the lines of the times in which we currently
find ourselves living???

Yesterday evening I caught a bit of the news, coming in on a story about a staged walkout
in NYC among the city’s high school kids, with many of the kids appearing to be
Jr High age as well.

It seems that this protest was sent out over social media.
Not having seen the Facebook posts or tweets, I don’t know the gist of the alert but
it seems as if hundreds of kids headed the call at a particular time
to defiantly get up from class, file out of school,
filling and clogging the streets, carrying posters while laughing and chanting.

It seem the walkout was staged to protest President Trump’s travel ban.

A reporter was in the mix, stopping kids, asking them various questions.

Reporter: “What classes are you currently skipping?”

Student: “Calculus”

Reporter: “What happens if the teacher fails you for missing class or for missing a test?”

Student: “F*%k the A@$ hole”

I don’t know…
I taught high school for 31 years…

phrases like “F*%k the A@$ hole” …if I read between the lines, tells me that
this young person has really no clue as to what they’re doing or why they protesting..
they simply skipped Calculus, that’s all….
Plus….

If one of my kids had told a reporter such flippant garbage about me and my class,
well let’s just say the next day’s conversation would have been a bit one-sided…
with me being on the one side…

All the while reminding this young person about what it means to be an example,
how to carry of oneself in public,
self respect, along with a bit of a history lesson involved….
add to that, that I had never given this student any reason to speak about such
in said manner to a reporter,….
I would allow maybe a 10 second rebuttal before making a phone call home….

No reading between the lines on that…pretty frank, pretty clear.

Yet I wonder what the parent(s) would say….

Would the parent(s) defend their 16 year old’s “right” to walk out of a public school?
(public meaning the education is relatively free)
Would they be troubled about their child missing class, using profanity on national
television while addressing an adult…???
What about their child appearing as more hooligan than one who is educated,
well versed and mature ….

Maybe if they were attending a private school, where the parent was having to shell out
upwards of 20 grand a year, walking out might come with an entirely different reaction….

Would they puff up with bravado while supporting a child’s right to cut class and curse while
publicly disrespecting the President of the United States in a crude and crass manner?

Hummmm…

But then we’d get into that whole business about our youth and their self esteem issues
and God forbid that we should dare hold them responsible or accountable for their actions,
good or bad, with resulting repercussions for the bad…

Hence that whole “F#%$ the A$# hole teacher who’d fail me” mentality…

The student was holding a homemade sign.
The reporter asked about the sign.

It read “Punch Nazis”

The reporter reminded the student that she had just told him that she was nonviolent
yet is holding a sign about punching Nazis…

Reporter: “I thought you just said you were nonviolent”

Student: “Oh, uh, I’m against gun violence”

The reporter went on, continuing his off the cuff random interviews of about a dozen or so of
the hundreds of kids, with nary a one of the students interviewed being able to name the
7 countries on the travel ban.

When asked what was wrong with strong vetting of folks wanting come into this country from
known Terrorist nations one student quipped back that “we live in a Terrorist Nation…”

Sigh….

This walkout was just an apparent adolescent attempt to jump on
the currently very sad national bandwagon…

But who can blame them.

Didn’t it look absolutely thrilling when masked salaried anarchists were hurling bricks and
using hammers to smash the plate-glass windows belonging to banks and store fronts along
the streets of Washington D.C. all because an elected president was being sworn in?

And didn’t it look invigorating to see hundreds of women marching en masse while shouting
vulgar slurs while wearing “vagina” hats demanding their rights to abort babies while
cursing the reigning Nazis….

And so we wonder why kids now want in on the act…

So it might behoove us to get better at reading between the lines because the signs of the times
ain’t looking so hot….

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive,
disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable,
slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous,
reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

the frenzieness of our times

“Not Bolshevism, which Stalin liquidated along with all the old Bolsheviks;
not Nazism, which perished along with Hitler in his Berlin bunker; not Fascism,
which was left hanging upside down, along with Mussolini and his mistress,
from a lamp-post—none of these, history will record,
was responsible for bringing down the darkness on our civilization, but liberalism.
A solvent rather than a precipitate, a sedative rather than a stimulant,
a slough rather than a precipice, blurring the edges of truth,
the definition of virtue, the shape of beauty; a cracked bell, a mist,
a death wish.”

Malcolm Muggeridge, The Great Liberal Death Wish

the_man_in_the_high_castle
(Philip Dick’s 1962 Alternate History Novel)

According to Merriam-Webster the word Frenzy is defined as:

a: a temporary madness– a rage amounting to a frenzy
b: a violent mental or emotional agitation
2: intense usually wild and often disorderly compulsive or agitated activity

And according to Online Entomology Dictionary the word Frenzy first originated:
mid-14c.—delirium, insanity; from Old French frenesie; frenzy, madness (13c.),
from Medieval Latin phrenesia, from phrenesis, back-formation from Latin phreneticus
Meaning—excited state of mind; is from c. 1400

I always think it good form to know where such words come from when one currently
finds oneself living in the midst of said particular word.

As it seems… this current frenzied state, of which many Americans along with
their similarly bonded global brothers and sisters in arms,
is just about to tip us all as a human race over
the edge and down into the deep dark recesses of the bottomless nothingness of a
no return black hole.

I am still trying to make sense of what’s just taken place over the past couple of weeks…

From young children being interviewed in the streets after starting fires,
aiding and abetting anarchy over the election and subsequent inauguration of a president
of these United States while gleefully boasting to a reporter “screw the president”…

to women donning such apparel as “vagina” hats, and other vulgar attire, while carrying
Russian protest signs…

to “news” sources and agencies fraudulently and knowingly peddling false and unsubstantiated
stories as Gospel truth…

to Civil Rights legends confusing the fight for civil rights with the democratic process…

to infamous entertainers proclaiming, on a global platform, that they will burn down the
White House…

to confused actresses pulling out their best theatrical performances while channeling
their best Scarlett O’Hara impression in a sweeping diatribe about comparing
the United States of America’s president to Adolph Hitler….

hummmm…..

And it is to the latter that my thoughts remain.

What, if any, of the aforementioned lunacy is to be considered…
right,
prudent
or acceptable behavior…
is beyond my soul…

And it is to this troubling rhetoric,
rhetoric that I have heard over and over again in recent weeks,
this comparison to Hitler and the asinine notion that there is a rise of Nazism in America,
that has brought me to the point where I must not remain silent any longer.

One of the myriad inauguration protest march organizers, on the night of the
inauguration when interviewed,
told the interviewing reporter that at one of the balls taking place
she had seen the raised arms of Nazis hailing the new Führer.

Deadpan to the sardonic “Really??!!”

The rational part of me almost fell out of my chair when watching this woman being interviewed.

Yet it was also the rational part of myself that wanted to inform this young woman
that she had no idea as to what she was so ignorantly spewing out of her mouth to
this hungry for a story reporter…

As I am now left shaking my head over the constant cries of Nazis and
Hitler-like wannabes taking over America.
Shades of a War of the Worlds moment

In 1962 author Philip Dick wrote an alternativesque history novel based
on the notion of the what if scenario of Hitler and Nazi Germany actually
having been the victors of the war,
along with Japan,
as the United States and the Allied Forces were all defeated.

A fanciful story dipping deeply into an epitome of the ‘what ifs’…
had a world war turned out tragically and frighteningly differently.

Amazon Studios has in the last year or so turned this novel into a made for TV drama series.

I’m not keen on those ‘what if’ scenarios—
For the actual war and the reality of all that was and what happened to millions of people
over the course of the war…was horrific enough without having to reinvent it into a
made for TV melodrama…
Living, being maimed, tortured, raped, starved, tormented and dying was catastrophic
reality enough,
the metamorphosis into a current bizarre drama is far from warranted or even necessary
in my humble opinion.

And thus having many ill-informed, or more correctly, ignorant individuals daring to
make any correlation between Hitler,
along with his mad Nazi machine, and that of the democratic process
of this Republic nation is not only shameful but borders on the gravely and
recklessly irresponsible and is simply put, moralistically wrong.

Not to mention that it lessens and cheapens the true horrors that millions
of innocent individuals suffered.

Enough with the empty clamoring of stupidity, ignorance and deranged fanciful irrationalities…

Therefore rage not thou futile mortal man…
beating thy head against the empty idols
of your makings….

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun:
The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover,
are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live,
and afterward they join the dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:3