Tuesday, December 29, 2015


 Everyone should make some. New Year Resolutions. It is a great opportunity to do some life planning, to set some goals that you can work towards in the coming year. It is a time for renewal. What better way to make yourself depressed than to realize that you have very little control over your life. Still, I think it is worthwhile to get some things down on paper:

I'm going to work on my patience. I have way too much. I've been waiting for Congress to do the right thing for years. It obviously ain't going to happen. The time has come.

I'm going to learn more about computers. After all, computers are the future. You can do everything and anything from a computer. I heard the other day a guy had sex with a woman in a chat room. And here I am blogging.

I recently made a commitment to change everything I possibly can in a 24 hour period. I started with my underwear. Today I'm going to work on changing people's opinions about war. Most people seem to like war. Once I explain to them how getting shot can really hurt, I'm sure they will change their mind. Later, I'm going to change my socks. Then I'm going to work on changing our health-care system. The fiscal cliff. I already fixed that. Who cares? Most of the country is already over the cliff.

I'm going to try to be more patriotic. I love this country, although there are a few things I would like to see changed, like starting universal health-care, ending corporate control of Washington, protecting individual rights, sending the Supreme Court to Afghanistan, ending corporate welfare, cutting the defense budget in half, and eliminating corporate donations to candidates, and only allowing individuals and corporations to contribute $20. Other than those things, and maybe a half-dozen others, this place ain't all that bad.

I'm going to try to stop cussing, although I don't see the point of it. Cussing has become quite common. Books, TV, radio, newspapers, school yards, nursery schools. Everybody cusses. The first word me son said was damn. I tried to kid myself into believing he meant dam, like a structure that holds back water, but who was I kidding. The whole "damn" thing still upsets me.

I have to get over being disappointed with ministers. I was almost one myself. I think my disappointment with most reverends has to do with expectations. I expect them to help us with our spirituality, not our ideology, although I do think Christ would have been a liberal Democrat.

Forgiveness is hard. I need to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness is closely linked to forgetting. I'm good at forgetting, but bad at forgiving. A lot of times I forget who I forgave. This can end up being embarrassing. So if I forgave you, but I'm not acting like it, forgive me.

I have to start trusting people more. After 9/11, I have become terrible. I no longer open the mail, which has vicariously helped my financial position, and when my kids call, I make them give me their social security number. The only person I really trust is my wife, which I have no explanation for. I'm beginning to trust people of color a little more, but I can't find any here in the Village. I have flown since 9/11. It wasn't that bad. I was only detained for 24 hours. I think it was the wig and fake beard.

So there, another year of resolutions.I think it will work out fine.

Have a Happy New Year. And remember, if you drink, don't talk.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Another Presidential election. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. This year's highlight seems to be debates. Debates every other week. Some claim not enough debates. Not fair. Kept out of the debates. A debate requires a point-counterpoint. A discussion. A bantering back and forth. A parleying. Particulars. Tension. A winner. A loser. It is an intellectual endeavor. A reasoned undertaking. A movement toward "the truth." Watching the recent presidential debates, the feeling comes to mind that does not indicate a debate so much as a comedy. A discussion of dreams from long ago that have atrophied. A bantering back and forth like guinea hens. One step forward, two back. One step forward, two back. Questions are posed to them that are never answered. They utter only what will satisfy their campaign contributors. The big ones. The dinosaurs. The whales. The questions never get expounded on. Only evaded. Dodged. Run away from. Dismissed. They don't seem to have any answers. It is all make-believe. Fabrications. A fictitious sham.A feigning of the truth. They spread words with no meaning. Ambiguous. Cryptic. Double-edged nonsense. Nothing about hunger, war, drones, phone taps, child abuse, environmental destruction, corporate prisons, corporate politicians, the unreasonably rich, the failure of capitalism, gun control, education for all. Some of these require stringing words together. They don't like that. A sentence can mean more than just the words. And words can be cheated. Misconstrued. Mistaken. All the wrong words, for all the wrong reasons. It's not a debate. It's a deception. A mendacity. A prevarication. A whopper.


Killing people with drones is not justified under any circumstances. It does matter how you conduct yourself in times of war.

Arming everyone with handguns is insane. You say it’s for safety. I say it’s for fear. It does matter.

You preach on and on about the hungry and how terrible it is that children go to bed at night hungry. Yet, have you every handed a hungry child a sandwich? It does matter.

So you are against abortion. After all, your minister thinks it’s sinful. Have you ever talked to a woman about to have an abortion? Have you asked her why? It does matter.

You believe that politician when he says climate change is a bunch of liberal garbage. Did you ask him where he got his information? Or did you ask to see his relevant Ph.D. It does matter.

You think white people are superior to all others.  Can you hear your fathers or mothers voice when you think that? It does matter.

You believe the rich should get all of the governments resources and that the poor are living high-off-the-hog on food stamps and welfare. How about I help you trade places with someone who is down and out. You too can lead the good life. It will matter.

You think the government interfering in our private lives and private talks is a matter of security and safety. Have you given any thought at all in terms of what it means to democracy? It does matter.

We seem to believe it is alright to torture the enemy in the name of freedom and democracy. If so, they can do the same when they catch us. You don’t think it matters, but it does. Endorsing evil always matters.

Saturday, December 26, 2015



Monday, December 21, 2015


I have a good view of the bird feeder from our breakfast nook.  A professional, rather costly, anti-squirrel bird feeder. I put a lot of faith in that feeder. Bird seed is expensive. There he sits, eating that expensive bird seed. Bird seed. The company guarantees my feeder against such intrusions. Obviously they did not take into account flying squirrels. He climbs up the trunk of a pine tree about 15 feet away, to the height of about 30 ft. and leaps. I wish I had that kind of faith. He doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t overthink it. He jumps. He hits the feeder at about ten miles per hour. Seed goes airborne in every direction, falling to the ground for later consumption by him and his friends. He hangs on. It is a feat worthy of the circus. I could put something sharp there, but I can’t bring myself to such barbaric methods. Although I think about it.  My dog hates squirrels. Maybe he can read my mind. He barks behind the window. The squirrel panics. A ten feet jump to the ground, and he’s gone. As for as the dog can tell, he just vanishes.  Some people say a squirrel is akin to a rat. I don’t know, but I’ve never seen a rat on my feeder. The dog also doesn’t like armadillos. We see them less often. An armadillo is a weird creature. One of God’s creations that you have to wonder about. At least he can’t climb the bird feeder. He uproots the flowers, looking for grubs. He needs to eat, but I wish he would go elsewhere for his culinary pursuits. Like to the neighbors. The dog does his usual thing. He barks. The armadillo scurries off into the woods, determined to return later. I’m sure. The dog likes deer. He’ll stand in the window and silently watch them approach. They are also looking for a free handout. He tilts his head, as though he’s trying to read their minds. I think it is their freedom that he is enamored with. He is always on a leash. When he breaks free, he won’t immediately come back. He tastes that freedom. He wants to bask in it. He rolls on the grass. Runs around crazily. No restraints. No tug at the neck. He runs like those deer run. Fast. Free. Unrestrained. When he tastes that freedom, he prefers it. I don’t blame him. So do I. Another squirrel on the feeder. I’m going to call the company. This is out of hand.

Dogs are good for the soul. Dogs know a whole lot more about what’s going on than we give them credit for. Dogs know when you’re happy. When you’re sad. When you are lonely. When you are so low you can look the dog straight in his eyes. There he’ll be, staring at you. Wondering what’s wrong. How best he can cheer you up. Can he lick you? Sit up like a poodle. Scoot his butt on the couch and sit there, next to you, watching television. He prefers the dog channel, which costs extra.  Look with you out the window, trying to help you forget about yourself. Your pains. Your shortcomings. You can talk to a dog. He never talks back, although he might look at you funny. I like my dog. He never complains, even if I feed him late. If I make him hold it a little too long before a relieving walk. I might forget to change his water for several days. He smells everything outside, especially after a rain. I don’t know why. Squirrels, armadillos, deer, possum, raccoon, coyotes, fox, other dogs. He sometimes forgets why we are outside. He gets a little slow to do his business. He’s particular about a spot. A certain spot. Who knows what he’s thinking. He is a good watchdog. He barks whenever anyone comes to the house. Some people see that as undesirable. I see it as cheaper than an alarm system. I think. Anyway, he’s a good dog. Of all creation, you can hardly beat a dog. I think this one is divine, mainly because we think alike. We both hate those pesky squirrels. Although probably for different reasons.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

BORN AGAIN: Tom Waits - Walk Away



Robin Wall Kimmerer

MUSIC FROM HEAVEN: Jimmy Fallon, Adele & The Roots Sing "Hello" (w/Classroom Instruments)


Mayflies. Toddlers. Tree swallows. Apologies--isn't it interesting that the best and most genuine ones are short and to the point? The longer they go, the less honest they are, and the more they turn into insincere performances; see any politician's press conference ostensibly apologizing for his misbehavior, with his poor grim simmering spouse alongside for the photo op. But the brief admission of idiocy---that's delicious. My bad spoken clearly on the basketball court. The Mass that cuts to the chase and doesn't sprawl into performance art and endless self-absorbed homily. The quick wit, the bushtit, the postcard. The shorter saints like Teresa of Avila. The brief ride in the car and the short plane flight. The chapbook, the brief line at the bank, the hilarious thirty-second film clip. Young people only as tall as your knee, who generally see the world with fresher eyes and an admirable lack of agenda. Small cups of strong coffee. Small boys with short hair whose heads in the right light look exactly like peaches. Brief phone calls and electronic-mail missives that get to the point without undue blather and verbal fencing. Small sharp astonishing poems. Novellas. Pencil stubs. Tree frogs. Sandals. Brief heartfelt prayers. Like this one. And so: amen.

Brian Doyle

Saturday, December 19, 2015


We elect the POA. That makes them amateur politicians. They're poor ones. Our last two presidents have been military. That's never good. Military trained colonels are not fond of democracy. They aren't used to it. The military is as far away from  democratic rule as you can get. Do as I say, no need to discuss it. They never can get over that. So we have a POA that is not very democratic. In some ways, this comes with the territory. Private clubs do not need to be democratic. And that is basically what we are. A private club with gates. The POA has seven reasons why they can go into private, closed session. The seventh basically states we can go into closed session whenever we think it is necessary. Despite continuous protests over this, they have never changed it. The state of Arkansas has three reasons why they can go into closed session. You can see the disparity. I have prayed that they correct this, but I'm afraid colonel's don't heed prayers. Otherwise, there would be no need for colonel's. Most people pray for peace. Anyway, the POA needs a lot of changes. And they never come. I voted for a director in the last election who immediately did what she said she wouldn't do. That was vote of support closed sessions. She has since quit. No reason given. She has an obligation to me and whoever else voted for her to serve. If not, she owes us an explanation. This isn't a backyard tree house club. Although it is a club, and there is probably a tree house somewhere in the Village. The only good director we have is going to quit. He did give us a reason. Because he is disgusted with how the directors direct. God, I am sorry my prayer has turned into something of a rant. I don't know what you can do. We're the fools. Maybe grant us dispensation for our foolishness, and let's call it even.
In spite of it all,

Friday, December 18, 2015


Isaiah 58:10
 if you offer your food to the
    and satisfy the needs of the 
then your light shall rise in the
     and your gloom be like the 



Some Christians are worried that Christ is being taken out of Christmas. That seems absurd. How could you take Christ out of Christmas? Christmas is Christ.

Some say all the commercialism is too much. Christmas starts before Thanksgiving. Trees, ornaments, mistletoe. Gifts. Rolex watches. Lexus convertibles. All this emphasis on things upsets some Christians. But that is the way things are set up. Buying and selling. Mainly things you don't need. I would suggest not paying any attention to it. And not participating in it.

No nativity scenes on public property really upsets these Christians. This is a big deal that many Christians don't get. Even though we were founded on the principle of separation of church and state, folks get all upset when a court rules that there will be no nativity scenes on the courthouse lawn. My advice: Ask the county if you can borrow their nativity scene and put it in your yard. Or better yet, gather up some friends and have a live nativity scene party. This will make you and your friends happy and will not violate any laws.

Merry Xmas really makes people mad. Now I don't know if this abbreviation is an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, or if they are just being lazy. Maybe they don't know how to spell it. Whatever the case, if it offends you, don't read it.

I don't understand how anyone could take Christ out of Christmas. I just don't think it is possible. Christmas is as much in your heart as it is real. A poor child born in a filthy barn, whose parents immediately had to go on the run to save him from the government. That same child would grow up to be the worlds greatest revolutionary, ushering in not a new government, but the Kingdom of God. If that doesn't put Christ in Christmas, you're not on the right planet. So buck it up folks. No one can take Christ out of Christmas but yourself. It's not possible, not if you got faith. But that's another story.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Clarence Thomas. I don't understand a black man who becomes a racist. Maybe his experiences have turned his heart into stone. You see those heart-shaped stones laying around every now and then. Maybe they are what remains of many a hardened heart. He undoubtedly has dealt with a lot of racism during his life. In his pursuit to get ahead, gain some notoriety, he seems to have left behind, or forgotten, what he is. Who he is. He has taken on a rich, arrogant, white man's way. He has forgotten the breaks he was given; the criticism and hatred he has seen, not for his intellect or ideas, but for his color. His life is now calling into question that character in a different way. Everything that has chipped away at his original self has left him wondering in the wilderness. Fighting against himself and everything you would think he holds dear. He is not the only black man currently lost. Ben Carson is doing the same thing. It is strange the two are on the national scene at the same time. Both intelligent, well accomplished in their fields. Both could potentially move the cause for justice and equality for minorities forward in immeasurable ways. Instead, they take positions that would not have allowed them to prosper. Maybe extreme selfishness. Maybe they are bought and paid for by right-wing, white, Republicans. Maybe slavery still exists. I don't know. They both seem like shadows floating across the landscape, not recognizing who or what they are, or the difference they could make. It is hard for me to understand and is sad to see.

Undercutting Climate Progress, Congress Agrees to Lift Oil Export Ban

Undercutting Climate Progress, Congress Agrees to Lift Oil Export Ban

It is hard to tell what the right-wing Congress will do. They don't have any agenda, other than to oppose everything civil. They are a disgusting bunch of morons, bent on taking us back to the Dark Ages. 

Monday, December 14, 2015


Hot Springs Village. It’s an ok place. It’s not Montpellier, Vt. Or Santa Fe, NM. Or Naples, Fl. Or Kula, HI. Or even San Diego. Or Navarre Beach, Fl. Or Nashville, TN.  It sure beats Chicago and New York and Kansas City and LA and Denver. And Little Rock and Pine Bluff and Possum. It’s not the best place for old people. The roads are hard to drive. It gets real dark. The summer is too hot. There are too many snakes. There are too few good restaurants. Finding people willing to stay up past 8pm is difficult. You have to have something medically wrong with you to fit in. And it doesn’t hurt to be Republican. On the other hand, the scenery is great. It’s a golfers dream come true. We have plenty of water to swim in, bath in, boat on, or drink. We do have a few good restaurants. Lots of paths to walk.  Clubs of every sort. Card clubs, radio clubs, acting clubs, social clubs, military clubs, investing clubs, garden clubs, craft clubs, walking clubs, boating clubs, fishing clubs, dancing clubs. We even have clubs for people who don’t like clubs. There are lots of interesting people. Some more interesting than others. Plenty of churches. Mainly Protestant. Probably has to do with the closed gates. We could use better leadership. Most POA presidents lately have been military. Not the best place to find democratic leadership. They don’t like anyone questioning them. We could use fewer rules. Again, probably the military influence. Autonomy is frowned on. It wouldn’t hurt to have warmer winters. And more bakeries would be good. Cranford’s would not be my choice of grocery stores. How about a Whole Foods? Less crying, more doing would help. And more words allowed for editorials in


By the way, anyone in public service who violates the public trust, by stealing, or sexual misconduct, or lying, or taking tens of thousands of dollars from corporations and lobbyists, or faking a five day work week, or wearing stupid ties and white, long sleeved shirts in 90 degree weather, or voting to hurt children, or voting to hurt woman, or just plain voting on anything stupid, should have to retire and forfeit their retirement income. This would be called the rich man's "capital" punishment.


Love is a four letter word. Love comes in a variety of flavors, none of them violent. Love should be gentle and kind, not abusive and painful. It means having to say you are sorry, but not too often. Love is at the heart of life, but you never quite know what someone means when they say, "I love you," or "I sure love life." Love does not like to get pinned down. Love is a lot of things. Parental love is a lot different than romantic love. Romantic love is usually what we think about when we think about love. Here is a love that can taste like the finest chocolate, and in the next instant, can burn like the glowing redness of a branding iron, about to touch skin. It can be heavenly, the next second make you swear you are in hell. That's love. It bobs and weaves its way through our lives. It speaks to our happiest times and often to our saddest. Its hold on our heart opens up the possibility to see, touch, and feel The Great Mystery.

Friday, December 11, 2015


The older you get, the more you settle in to how the world works. You begin to realize people have weaknesses. You begin to realize you have weaknesses. You begin to understand better how it all works. You never get this down pat. You only get a little better at it. You begin to realize the government is not going to solve our problems. You can only hope they don't make them worse. You begin to realize it is not things that will make you happy, or improve your life. It is the friends you make, and the sons and daughters you would die for.  You get the slightest bit of understanding of God. Maybe this is because you are getting closer to the end and you try harder. God is hard to grasp. Invisible. Like water. You can't grab it. You have to drink it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015



Tuesday, December 1, 2015