Saturday, December 31, 2016

Very Late in the Year

With but hours to go.

Looking back on the past year.  Now there is a way to waste some time.  How about investing that time in looking forward to the next year, planning your moves to make it a good one.  What are you going to do in 2017 to make someone's life better?  How are you going to position yourself to be a positive influence on someone?  What can you do to make things better in this world?

We might start by giving up whining about the way things are.  We might consider being considerate.  We might stop thinking  only of self and think of the needs of others.  Cliches?  Sometimes the things we need most can be expressed in just such ways.  We have come to denigrate and disparage when we ought better to accept and encourage.  Accept "wrong"?  No, accept that it may be the case that I am not the only one who is right, that it may be the case that I am sometimes wrong myself.

The term a**h*le has become so common place that we should all be ashamed for using it and for allowing it to be used in print, in confrontation, and in conversation.  People are not a**h*les.  People are people.  People are flawed.  Are you not a flawed person?  People make mistakes; people behave stupidly.  People are often annoying.  But it is our role to live with them, even to care for them and to love them.  Difficult?  We've no idea until we try it.

Celebrate the beginning of a better world, a world that is better beginning with a better you!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Writer's Picks 2016 Part Two

July a little bird told me.

                                 August again, the little dickens

                                                                   September  BBBH cuts a rug

                                                                   October  a church custodian gives grace

                                November PhD to the nth degree

 December ruminations on creativity

Bonus also from December  a Christmas story

 And there you have it.  Thirteen picks for 2016.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Writer's Picks 2016 Part One

January  a little dickens lives with us.
February  during which I was resident in nursing home.  All month plus.

                                                              March noodles and wedding bands

                                                                                           April  missionary squabble

                                             May  a bit political

June conversation in an elevator

These are the writer's choices for each month of 2016.  The second six months to follow in a day or two.  As I observed on another occasion, much like designating a child as "favorite."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The day Monkey Wards

 quit monkeying with the government.

On December 27, 1944 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the National Guard in several states to seize Montgomery Wards and its chairman, Avery Sewell.  Sewell had refused to recognize the government's authority to impose agreements between management and labor.  As Wards was a major supplier to the government for the war effort, Roosevelt was having none of it.  Finally his patience came to an end and Sewell was carried bodily from his Chicago headquarters office.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Parties are over, She Who Must Be Obeyed relaxes with a coloring book!

Wise Ones Still Come to Him

Wishing you a blessed Christmas!
--All the gang at Chez Vanilla
   vanilla and BBBH, Bob and Mrs. Warr, Herkimer and Tildy 
   David and JoAnn

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Eve Story Retold

The Cat and the Christ Child

The cat crept into the cave. Stripy, she was, in the daylight.  But now, well past sunset and the settling of darkness, she was as black as any other cat.  The tabby's left ear twitched, cocked to her left as she heard the rustling in the straw strewn over the floor.  A great ox lying nearby snorted softly as he dropped his head to the ground.  His horn clacked as it made contact with the rock.  He exhaled.  His nares vibrated briefly then all was still.

The cat remained motionless.  Long moments dragged slowly by.  In the distance an owl called to its mate.  Then the rustling began again as the mice resumed feeding on the loose grain in the straw.  The cat's right fore paw inched forward, settled softly, then the left paw raised, advanced, soundlessly touched the rock, then pounce!  Her prize in her claw, then between her jaws, she nestled close to the belly of the ox and dropped the mouse.  Stunned and addled but still with a will to live the creature staggered and attempted to run.  But the cat casually reached out, dragged it back.  Again she released it, this time allowing the creature to "get away."  But the cat sprang, recaptured the mouse and lay down again.  She played her cruel game with the small captive for several minutes, but finally tired of it and overcome with hunger she crunched its skull between  her teeth, then dined on her catch.

So Stripy, sated, slept.

A ruckus arose within the stable.  A pair of human creatures shuffled into the space, one carrying a blazing fagot in one hand as with the other he supported the woman who staggered in and collapsed on the floor.  A donkey followed them.  Then entered a large nondescript dog close on the heels of the ass.  He went to the female human creature and started licking her cheek while the man wedged the torch into a notch in the wall that served as a sconce. The presence of the canine got the attention of the sleeping cat, which started and sprang to her feet.  She scaled the flank of the ox where she settled, thus attaining a full view of the goings-on.  The ox slept on.

Soon there was frantic activity, the man bustling around the woman, the woman writhing and screaming in obvious pain. All the creatures in the stable stirred restlessly, the sheep bleated, and even the ox raised its head and voiced his concern.  Following a protracted episode of heavy breathing and intermittent screams, everything fell silent for a few moments.  Then suddenly the mewling of a new man-child pierced the quiet.

The man handed the infant to its mother then patiently worked at clean up chores.   All creatures except the man, the woman, and the cat finally went back to sleep.  Then the woman laid the tiny human creature in a cradle of straw the man had constructed.  The tabby, her tail erect and switching from side to side drawing esses and zees in the air, left her perch on the ox and sauntered casually toward the small human.  As the cat approached the child the dog lifted its head, raised itself up on its two forelegs.  The cat made not a sound but gave the canine the evil-eye.  The dog lay back down.  The cat circled the child and we might imagine that she was thinking, "Big deal.  Just another human." Then she went back and snuggled into the warmth of her bovine friend again.

 Which all took place before the gaggle of rough and ragged men began to fill up the space, babbling about a Heavenly Presence that came to them in the fields praising God and telling them that this child  in the stable was The Christ!

Merry Christmas!
and let there be peace, at least between you and me. 

©David W. Lacy 2015

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Honoring the Spouse

 This was posted nearly eight years ago.  BBBH has put up with me, stood by me, cared for me during the intervening years and she still sings!  So in her honor here is a repost.

Several years before I met her, BBBH published a book of poems and songs she had written. I submit here lyrics to one of the songs. I particularly enjoy hearing her sing this.

Take a Look It's All in the Book

The Bible says we can be free
From all our sins and misery
That the Lord's the only way
Not many paths, like people say

Says we can claim His every word
Of His promises be assured
That we can know He loves us so
And that He just wants us to know

Says in the word that we can find
In the book He left behind
That He shed His blood for me
Took my stripes at Calvary

In His kingdom we can share
Because He'll always be there
He came to set us free from sin
So open your heart and let Him in

So take a look, take a look,
It's all in the book
So take a look, take a look
It's all in the book

John 3:16
Copyright Grace JoAnn Harrison 1995. Used by permission.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mary, Did You Know?

 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
 --Luke 1:31-33

Last evening I was listening to "A Pentatonix Christmas Special."  I was pleased to discover that the program consisted largely of traditional Christmas music, carols and hymns.  Beautiful presentation.
I paid particular attention to "Mary, Did You Know?" something I have perhaps never really done before.

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.
To these lines I think perhaps Mary would have to answer, "No, I did not know that my child would do those things.  But I did know who He is."

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

"Yes" Mary would reply, "I did specifically know that this Jesus is the Lord of all creation, I do know that He will rule the nations, for Gabriel told me so."  And we know this because Luke tells us so in the passage quoted above!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Xmas and Related Things

Seriously.  I was thinking of writing a post about some of the elements in the "Christmas Wars" and while I pondered, stewing in my own juices somewhat, I started surfing through my blog roll as I hadn't checked on some of my friends in a few days.

I found this at KCBob's and he has done a much better job than I might have done.  I recommend this *click* to you.

You are welcome.

Friday, December 16, 2016

My Daughter and Me


Bright sunny day but colder than bears. 4oF when I looked a few minutes ago.  I am in hospital as I write this.  The patient is my daughter, Ivanelle.  The staff just wheeled her away for the procedure and I wait here in room 8, surgery.

Fifty-seven years ago I got the call telling me that her mother had been admitted to hospital in Ft. Wayne.  I was in Muncie.  An hour later I was at Frieda's side.  Perhaps it was a holiday for Indiana Highway Patrolmen.  But having arrived about 3:30 in the afternoon it was nevertheless 11:30 before Ivanelle made her debut.  Not saying she has always been stubborn, but she is tenacious.

I have changed her diapers, picked her up when she has fallen.  I have bandaged her skinned knees and I have taken her to doctors when the need was beyond me.  I was with her when she was in labor with her first child.  What she said then about her husband was not nice, but they eventually had two more kids and they are now loving grandparents to seven.  I have been with Ivy through birthdays of children and grandchildren, through graduations and the celebrations of them.  But today is the hardest thing I have ever done with her.  The symptoms she suffers are scary and we can but trust the doctors and the Good Lord.  It is in their hands.

Update: Doctor says there were no signs of cancer and the irritation in the stomach can be treated with diet and medication.  I brought the lady to the house and she is resting.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Packaging Industry Rules #T

Carton City, Texas

Package the Earth and its parent company, Wrap It All Up, are investing large sums of money to build seniors' assisted living facilities nationwide.  Spokesperson Ewell B. Tapt said today that Wrap It All Up is in a unique position to provide an increasingly necessary service to America's elderly citizens.  He declined further comment when asked about the information this news source  has uncovered.

In a recent meeting of the board of directors of Package the Earth it was revealed that a double-line graph shows a pleasing increase in the inability of people to access their purchases.  Line A shows a steady incline in the toughness and inaccessibility of the packaging, while Line B shows a steep decline in the physical and mental abilities of the customers as they undergo the aging process.   The point X at which the lines cross was the determining factor in the decision of PtE to go into the elder housing business.

Our sources who insist on anonymity revealed that the company policy is to tighten up even further the packaging of everything that is sold.  "We have reached the point where even spuds are wrapped individually!  What a world!" enthused  Frank "Rap" Teight, director of company R & D.  "Soon it will be impossible for people as young as 48 to survive apart from assisted living communities.  Scissors? Knives? Can openers? Pshaw!  We will have them all defeated in five years.  Assisted living communities are the wave of the future, and we aim to dominate the market."

Further, it is rumored that Wrap It All Up is actively attempting a hostile takeover of Waste Systems, Inc.  "Our ultimate goal is to take control of DisposeAll as well," said Teight, according to our source.  "We will have them coming and going!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Barn in The Attic #T

Pulled down the folding stair and laboriously climbed into the attic.  It has been a long spell since I roamed through this silent dusty old place.  I turned the corner and started walking down a narrow lane, clearly disused for some time, for the tracks were overgrown with weeds which had withered and died, drooped over and formed a carpet on which to tread.

Presently on my left I spied an old barn, wind-beaten and grey, and listing to the east.  Prevailing winds, you know.  Curiosity poked me in the side and I went through the open gate to the barn lot.  The door hung on a rail and would have been easily opened but that was not necessary for it stood open anyway so I walked inside.

Shafts of sunlight shot through the cracks that separated the siding in random places.  I stumbled through all sorts of clutter, disused machinery, even an old kitchen sink, and galvanized tubs, a 1940s vintage washing machine, its wringer dismounted and jammed into the tub.

Then what is that on this old bureau?  In stunned amazement I recognize this piece of long disused machinery as my old Idea Mill.  I have not seen it in ages and I have no idea how it got here.  I must have placed it in the refuse bin for disposal and somebody salvaged it, dragged it to this haven for old stuff.  Whoop! Perhaps I can now gin this thing up and work up an idea for a blog post.    I reached for the handle and discovered the first problem.  The handle was not mounted on its axle but rather it was sticking up from inside the hopper.

I took the crank and placed it back on its shaft.  I did not have a pin to hold it in place, but it fit snugly and would perhaps allow a few turns without falling off.  I tried to turn the handle.  Frozen.  Looking into the hopper I could see that the raw material for new ideas had been left in the hopper and it was all clotted, gummed up and hardened into an ugly mass.  I looked around for a tool with which to dislodge the stuff.  There is a tire iron.  Surely that will break it loose!  Not so.  All my efforts were futile.
I wandered, defeated, out of that place and shambled away.  Another hope dashed.

Word of the day:  shambled  Old Weathered Barn Scott County, Indiana

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jesus the Christ

The Third Sunday of Advent
The book of the genealogy* of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Thus begins the Gospel According to Matthew.  Matthew found it imperative to establish the bona fides of Jesus.  Genealogy or where one came from was a very important matter in Jewish society of Jesus's day.

We find here the lineage of Jesus back to Abraham and the establishment of God's people.  A man could not have a more Hebraic background.  Yet it is interesting to look at some of the people in this catalog of ancestors.  Abraham as we know was a servant and follower of God yet he was not above the practice of deception.  Jacob, his grandson, was a deceiver who swindled his brother of his birthright and fooled his father into passing the blessing and inheritance which should have been Esau's under the rules of primogeniture.  
In addition to Mary there are four women specifically mentioned which was unusual.  Note that all the progenitors named are male except for these four.
  1. Tamar who deceived her father-in-law into impregnating her by playing the role of a harlot.  Her son Perez then was an ancestor of Jesus.
  2. Rahab was a resident of Jerico who gained her livelihood by working in the world's oldest profession.  Her son Boaz is also an ancestor of Jesus.
  3. Ruth married Boaz and of her was born Jesse who became the father of King David.  But Ruth was not an Hebrew.  She was a Moabite, an alien so far as the people were concerned.
  4.  Bathsheba seduced King David and they together engaged in adultery.  She bore Solomon, forebear of Jesus.  David conspired to murder Bathsheba's husband.
  5. Mary the mother of Jesus.
We have touched on only a few of the weaknesses and sins represented in this list.  What is the point we are making?  Simply this:   Jesus came from sinners; Jesus came for sinners.

The lurid and unseemly behaviors of his progenitors are no worse than the behaviors of all sinners.  And we are all sinners.  But God will forgive our transgressions through the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  He died for me.  And for you and the sinners of the world.

 *Note that this is the genealogy of Joseph the husband of Mary.  The scripture says Jesus was born of Mary and that Joseph was her husband.  Study of the account assures us that Jesus was born of Mary but begotten of God.  So what does Joseph's genealogy have to do with anything?  By adoption Jesus was the son of Joseph, a relationship not to be denigrated for by adoption those who accept Jesus Christ are the children of God!

 First Sunday of Advent Wreath

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Never Forget

December 7, 1941-- a date which shall live in infamy. --FDR

A brief summary and an excellent reminder at "This Day in History."

Saw an interview with a man aged 98 who was an antiaircraft gunner on the Arizona that day.  He has made many visits to the site in memory of his buddies who were lost there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Life Revised

NBC runs a show called "Timeless."  The premise is ridiculous, though I generally like stories that involve time-travel.  Last night, though, I watched the program, my first time.  I saw it through, but found myself getting increasingly irritated.  Over a fictional story? you ask.  Yes,

Three years ago, coincidentally on the same date NBC ran this show, I posted a fictional tale here in which Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow played roles in my tale.  Though my account was fictional and the actions of the characters were dreamed up in my mind, I went to considerable lengths to make sure that the timing and the locale of the behaviors were such that they might have fit perfectly into the lives of these two notorious characters as they actually lived them.  Preface.

Which brings us to the NBC folly.  The only thing they got right other than the names Bonnie and Clyde was the date, 1934,  Everything else was nonsense and in particular the way in which they were killed.  Now fiction is one thing, but violation of historical fact presented as fact in a fictional tale is an abomination.

We live in the Post-truth Era.  Truthiness is to be accepted as fact, for truth is what I say it is.

One is compelled to believe that whatever he reads or hears is likely to be baloney or horse feathers.

Discernment?  Play a requiem for discernment.  Sad

"When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." --Humpty Dumpty

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent 2016

  • In this season of Advent it is meet and right that we should reflect on the coming of the Christ in flesh to mingle with mankind and to lay down His life for our salvation.  But it is imperative that we think, too, on the Advent when Christ shall return to Earth as conqueror and king, gathering His faithful to rule with Him.

Collect for the Season (from Boston's Church of the Advent)
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Related image

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Kickoff

The article on the front page of our local newspaper announced Friday's "'Tis the Season" celebration in downtown Perfect.  Many fun things planned for residents of all ages, but the clip about the ice sculptor caught my eye.  I am sure his art work is stunning and to see him work should be entertaining.

But the thing I wonder is Where on Earth did he find "18 odd chickens"?  I know that cats are odd, and I have seen some strange rabbits, but just what makes a chicken odd?  17 chickens would be an odd number of chickens, but eighteen?

I am so confused.  Silly, too.

Well, it is December now, so on with the Christmas celebrations!