Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Gun Control at Home

 We keep a close watch on this house of ours
Someone is awake at all hours
She sleeps in  the daytime,
I sleep through the night.
In our house you'll always find a light
God lights it by day, Duke energy at night.

Most anytime that you drop by
You'll be greeted at the door,
I with my Magnum or she with her forty-four.
You will never see the heat if your mission is benign
But if you are bent on mischief
Daddy taught me early on:  Never interrogate an interloper before you pull the trigger.
I think his words were, Shoot first, ask questions later.

Monday, February 26, 2018

. . .And Another Thing

Oooh!  Are we all excited yet about our big PAY HIKE due to the gop tax cuts?

I received my retirement check today for March 1 and it is true that my "take home" is increased due to a reduction of the withholding for federal taxes.  Who doesn't love a pay increase?

Smoke and mirrors are still basic props for governmental fiscal operations-- across a wide range of activities, I might add, up to and including the creation of "money" out of thin air.  But books could be written on the subject-- and little would be fixed thereby.  So back to the issue at hand.

The payer of my retirement stipend has no knowledge of my over-all income status.  He simply uses a federal table of deductions and applies it to the amount I have earned for the month.  And what he doesn't know doesn't hurt him-- but it hurts me, but only to the extent that I allow myself to be the victim of the ruse that I have gotten a "tax cut."

Because the Lord has blessed me I have certain other incomes in addition to the one referenced above.  Hence I pay taxes monthly on them, but in addition I submit a quarterly ES voucher with payment to the IRS four (4) times a year.  And wind up, usually, writing a fifth check in April, but that is also another issue.

So, this "pay increase," thank you Washington, DC, that I receive this month will ultimately cost me bigger checks direct from my bank account to the IRS.  But wait!  You say.  Your 2018 taxes will be less in the long run.

Can you repeat after me:  Poppycock!

Will not.  I have already done the math.

If the pants of every liar in DC caught fire simultaneously the entire district along with the states of Virginia and Maryland would go up in flames.

(But, you say, if you are armed with this knowledge why don't you have your payers withhold larger amounts in the first place?  Yes, I could do that.  And how does that reduce my taxes?)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Resurrected Devotional

I pulled this one up from four years ago.  The wind is not blowing this morning but the sleeplessness rages just as though it were.  Up way too early-- three something-- drinking tea and hoping for a calming effect that will allow me to return to bed and to sleep soonest.  Happy Sunday!


WOOOO.  WOO. wooo.  WOOOO. The wind howls and WEEE. WEE. whines around the eaves and gutters.  It slaps my window and howls some more; I pound my pillow with my fist.  I flop.  I put the pillow over my head.  The wind yet howls and whines.

Wide awake, body desperate for sleep.  The mind kicks into gear.  These words of Jesus impinge themselves upon my consciousness:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: John 3:8a (KJV)

And finally sometime before dawn I slept a bit.  Yet I will have a long morning, nodding and groggy, for I was short-changed of sleep.

The scripture quoted here is wrested and wrenched from context, such doings being the sport of many Christians who are too concerned with finding a tidbit in the Bible that seems to support what they want to believe.  But that is another chipmunk running across the trail.  The big game to be pursued here is this.  The third chapter of John recounts the incident in which Nicodemus sought Jesus out by night and asserted that he knew that Jesus was from God.

Jesus outlines precisely what one must do to enter the Kingdom, stating that one must be born not only of flesh, but he must be born again, in the Spirit.

The entire message of salvation is delineated in this chapter.

WOOO.  WOO.  Weee.  The wind still blows. And the truth of Christ's teaching still endures, and shall endure aeons after this wind ceases.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


This evening's entertainment.  BBBH enjoyed it immensely.
Four more opportunities:
Sunday, February 18, 2:00 p.m
Friday, February 23, 7:30 p.m
Saturday, February 24, 7:30 p.m
Sunday, February 25, 2:00 p.m

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Perhaps Not Brilliant,

But They were President.

 Here is a little treasure trove of presidential quotes, most of which I daresay the speaker wished back.

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." --BHO 2013  But if he was remorseful it took him a long time to get there, for he repeated this one over and over.

"Now I have his pecker in my pocket." --LBJ, 1965 of Ho Chi Minh when LBJ sent marines into Viet Nam.  Since Nam was eventually his undoing, the statement may have been a bit premature.

Not his words, but wearing a flight suit and under a banner reading, "Mission Accomplished" GWB, 2013 The number of casualties in Iraq had not yet reached the half-way point.

"Facts are stupid things."  RR 1988 The man was noted for his wit, but this one is more on the witless side.

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."  WJC 1998 Well, of course it does.

"They misunderestimated me."  GWB 2000 And after all these years, he is still misunderestimated.

 "Well. I'm not a crook." RMN 1973 Really?

"When the President does it, that means it is not illegal."  RMN 1977 I suspect most Presidents think this way, they are just smart enough not to say it.

"I've now been in 57 states--I think one left to go."  BHO 2008 And the 58th is Obscurity.  Oh, when WILL he get there?

"The news is fake because so much of the news is fake."  DJT 2018 Circular reasoning much?  Might as well have said 'The news is fake because I say it is.'  Apologies to Humpty Dumpty.

"Oftentimes I don't seem to grasp that I am President."  WGH He may have been President, but not really Presidential.  (So which of them have been?  Or do we expect too much?)

"Things have never been more like the way they are today in history."  DDE I've yet to figure this one out.

If Abraham Lincoln were alive today he'd roll over in his grave."  GRF

The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed." MVB That train had actually gone 15 miles per hour!  And old Martin may have been right on this one.

"I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them."  GHWB Join the crowd, George.

"This is an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores.  Some people call you the elite, I call you my base."  GWB 2000 Addressing a gathering of Elites; at least he recognized his base.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Life Well-lived and A Mystery #T

Saturday morning I traveled to a city some fifty miles distant to attend the funeral of a very dear friend.  Although Howard was 86 years of age I cannot shake the feeling that he is gone too soon.  Good friends are all too few and they are leaving much too often these days.

I remarked to the grieving widow that Howard no doubt had more friends than anyone else I know for he worked at being a friend.  It was no surprise that friendship was a recurring theme of the memories-- that and Howard's unwavering love for Jesus and his desire that his friends would all come to know Him.

On the drive home I chose to take a route which I had driven day after day some six decades ago, for I lived in that town back then and drove twelve miles to work each day.   As I passed the little country church, three miles to go to reach the school where I had taught-- I started picturing the lay of the land as I had known it back then.  Coming up on the right and a mile before reaching the old school there would be the beautiful Bedford stone house which I had almost coveted in my youth.  What more could one want?  I thought it the epitome of design in residential structures and it was nearly new, having been built a mere half-dozen years before.   Abiding therein was a family who were patrons of the district, prosperous farmers, hard workers, who had two beautiful little flaxen-haired girls who attended our school.  Patty was in my homeroom, she as smart and capable and industrious as one might hope a sixth grade child to be.

There it is.  Same limestone house, same location.  And yet it looks so much smaller than I remembered it, possibly a thousand square feet, probably two bedrooms.  But that was not what most startled me.  The house was abandoned and clearly had been for some time.  The yard was overgrown not only with grass and weeds, but with scrub bushes. Sorry, bedraggled, and forgotten.

There on my left is the cemetery, then School in a Soybean Field apparently also deserted.  I drove on, pondering the fate of the inhabitants of the house I had once admired.  Why?  What happened? Where were those charming little girls now, little girls who would be in their sixties?  Things I'll never know.  The twists and turns that life takes are often imponderables in the broad scheme of things.

But I still wonder.

Howard Barefoot, 1932 - 2018  RIP

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Deathbed Blessings

In the penultimate chapter of The Genesis we read that Jacob (Israel) called his sons to gather near and hearken to his voice.  The call was issued twice, once in the first verse and again in the second.  Yet one must believe that something happened between these two summonses.  Observe:
"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days."  (Genesis 49:1 AKJV)
" Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father."  (Genesis 49:2 AKJV)
In the first verse Israel tells his sons that he will prophesy over them their fates in the last days. In the second verse there is no mention of prophecy regarding the last days but rather an admonition to listen to their father.  As we read the charges to each son we see that Israel does tell them their roles or positions in the future of the nation, but there is no mention of the end of days.  What happened?

It is my belief that the Lord may have revealed last days events to Jacob which he then assayed to reveal to his sons.  But God for His own purposes intervened and prevented Jacob from revealing that which had been vouchsafed unto him.  We would be presumptuous to speculate regarding the Lord's purpose as we would always be in guessing His ways, for He has revealed to us that which He would have us understand.  It is in The Book.*

We read Israel's predictions and charges to each of his sons and find it fascinating reading indeed, beginning with Reuben, his first-born from whom Jacob took the birthright of primogeniture and gave it to Joseph's sons because Reuben had defiled his father's bed.  Think about that.  Jacob had known all those years that Reuben had lain with Bilhah, and yet he had never mentioned it until he was lying on his deathbed.

And people think reading the Bible is not interesting?

*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
From Take a Look It's All in the Book,
page 12, Gifts from God by Grace JoAnn
Harrison, 1995

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Puzzled Again

A tea-dious good time was had on this one.
(Bigify to see the cut of the puzzle.)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Joyous Anniversary

from me to my Beloved Beautiful Better Half!

Thank you, Sweet Thing, for eighteen rollicking years.  
May I have a few more years with you?
We know not what the future holds, but we know Who walks with us into the future.
I love you, Grace JoAnn


Monday, February 5, 2018

The Heroine Died. . . #T

and the cast burst into song.

 A guide to enjoyment of a musical drama, musical comedy, operetta.

Sit back, relax, and prepare for ridiculousness.  First you will be introduced to the "setting" wherein you will learn more about the story than you will at any other point in the piece as the contralto bursts into song.

Soon the players will appear on the stage  Not the protagonist or the heroine* but a bunch of villagers, or hangers-on, or siblings.  The chorus will burst into song.

Finally the story will begin, the lead will appear on stage and strut his stuff, bursting into song.  The story-line, or plot, if there is one, will not be advanced during this performance which bids well to last eight minutes.

And so on and so forth until the end of Scene One, when the villagers again burst into song.

Scene Two may be introduced by the lead lady, the soprano who, bursting into song, bids well to exceed the length of the protagonist's previous solo.  By a lot.

Something may or may not happen, and the chorus will burst into song.  The orchestra will play the number to a crescendo, or frenzy, or whatever it is called and the curtain will fall on Act One.

You will be truly grateful to stand and move around, for you have rigor setting in from your tailbone to your toes.  And also from your tailbone to your cerebrum, for act one was a mere one hour thirty.  You will refresh yourself with a walk in the foyer, nodding and smiling at your fellow-Pharisees, and a stroll to the facility.

Back in your seat, Act Two, Scene One. Here we take a moment to appreciate that this is a "play in two acts," the curtain will rise on an empty stage!  The orchestra bursts into the theme music and protracts it long enough for you to develop a true appreciation of the set.  You will travel from cardboard castle to plywood desert, from tempera mountains to the skyline of Camelot, or wherever, in the distance.  Your eyes will wander to the wings, the ropes, the pulleys, the klieg lights and then. . .  then the serfs or whomever will fill the stage, bursting into song!

The soprano and the baritone will reappear and burst into song, chopping phrases back and forth as the orchestra again achieves frenzy; the conductor will topple over and crush the first chair violinist where she sits.  The audience bursts into song!

The drama in the pit, the most excitement to this point, is cleared and the script moves ahead, but the story line itself seems to go nowhere.  The siblings reappear and burst into song.  The curtain falls, but no, there is yet another scene.


The soprano, solo on stage, pierces the rafters, warbles wistfully, folds gracefully to the ground.  The baritone rushes in, kneels, grasps her hand, moans her name, in song of course.  She dies.  The audience bursts into song.  The entire ensemble appears around the supine body moaning a dirge.  Curtain.

The end. 

 *A few days ago I was listening to a brand-name actor describing his role in a new movie in which he described, briefly, his relationship to the heroine, which he pronounced with four, count them, four syllables-- hair-oh-ine-ee.  If this was his attempt to distinguish her from the other addictive euphoria-inducing substance, it fails.  He needs to check his English dictionary.  I am not making this up.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

In the Garden

As we read the eighteenth chapter of John's Gospel we find ourselves with Jesus as he leads some of his disciples into the garden.  There the minions of the high priest find Jesus who asks them, "Who are you looking for?"

When Jesus tells them he is Jesus of Nazareth they are taken aback--  literally.  But they picked themselves up from the ground and asked again, receiving the same reply.

But Peter.  Impetuous Peter, prepared apparently for any eventuality, had a sword.  Now I am puzzled.  Why in the dickens did a fisherman and disciple of the Christ come to the garden armed?
Why, to defend his Lord and Master, evidently, for he drew his weapon and struck Malchus upside the head, severing his ear.  No, no.  Specifically he cut off the man's right ear.

Two immediate responses by Jesus.  The first to Peter, "Put away your sword. Would you prevent me from pursuing the will of the Father?"  The second, an action: he replaced the ear and healed the wounded man, thereby demonstrating his love for a) his enemies, and b) the lowliest of men, for Malchus was a slave.

Anyway, I tried to recreate the action in my mind's eye, to picture the relative positions of the Lord, and Peter, and Malchus.  (And yes, Judas Iscariot was a witness to the scene as well, not as Christ's disciple, but as the guide to Caiaphas's crew.)  All kinds of questions.  Was Peter left-handed?  Was the ear lying on the ground or was it dangling by bits of flesh?  How many people were present?  Jesus and his eleven, a contingent of Roman soldiers under their commander, the high priest's people.  A bunch.

Jesus acted without dissembling and without rancor, and he knew full well what lay ahead for him.
We get all defensive, angry and bent out of shape if someone doesn't agree with us?  Can that be right?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

She and I

She had diced a beautiful cantaloupe, assembled a luscious-looking sandwich, placed a serving at each place and

She: Lunch!

I seated myself at table and so did she.

I:  Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for another day and for the blessings of warmth and food.  Bless this melon and sandwich to the use of our bodies, in Jesus name, Amen.

She:  What do you mean, "Bless this smelly sandwich?"

I:  (cracking up, attempting to control the laughter): I said, "Bless this melon and sandwich"

It took us both several minutes to compose ourselves sufficiently to consume the wonderful victuals.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thinking Out Loud

Just an observation.  It appears to me that this country resembles nothing more than a junior high school, the inhabitants children and all the teachers out to lunch, the rest of the world an unsupervised elementary school playground.

Grow up, people.

Dream the impossible dream, vanilla.