Saturday, November 25, 2017

Christmas Decorating...

...part I...as promised, we have the Sacred and the secular, pretty much like everyday life.

And inside...
...as Karen noted, finally...our mid century modern aluminum Christmas tree is sitting inside a mid century modern home...pretty darn cool.
the view from our patio
Another view of the outside...
Have to admit, always been a fan of the Jolly Old Elf Himself...based on historical truth and still celebrated as SinterKlaas in the Netherlands on Dec 5th and 6th, he's the patron saint of children.

And while Clement C Moore and Thomas Nast gave us the modern American version...
...replete with sleigh and flying reindeer, you still gotta love a kindly old gent who delights in giving gifts to children.

The problem of course is when the gifts overshadow the Giver of All Good Gifts, the Lord God Almighty.

In any event, we've made a start on the decorating gig and not sure how much more we'll actually do  I pretty much take my marching orders from the boss so we'll see what develops over the next couple of weeks.

Black Friday has come and gone and work went just fine...another big test looming just ahead on Cyber Monday...all 9 fingers crossed on that one.

And though it's a bit early, might as well get it over with...so forthwith, the annual insult to the aforementioned Mr. Moore with a knock off of his famous poem:

'Twas 4 Weeks Before Christmas...


...and every mouse,
had fled frozen fields
for the warmth of my house.

My wife found their droppings
and said “I'm not pleased,
to think that these varmints
are taking their ease


inside my warm dwelling;
this outrage won't stand!
What will you do?”
Then I raised my hand...

These mice, they are finished!
Kaput and kersplatz!
No way they'll survive,
for we have three cats!”

And then we beheld
our fat felines, all three:


Kitty,



and Zoey,




and the useless Smokey.

Disciples of Garfield,
were these pointless creatures,
with sleeping and eating
their dominant features.

No help would be coming
from those worthless saps,
so I scrounged all around
til I found an old trap.


And later that night,
before mice came a-creeping,
I set the cruel deadfall
then got busy sleeping.

So early next 'morn,
at dawn's early light,
I sprang from my bed
to find what I might.

But what did my wondering
eyes finally see,
but a clean, empty trap
and a note left for me:


"Thanks for the cheese,
but what would be better,
instead of old muenster,
could we have fresh cheddar?"

"And what's with this platter?"
my mousy pals asked.
"We might have been killed
if we hadn't been fast!"

'Twas then that I thought
of the great Robert Burns
and his famous lament
to a mouse that he turned

Out of warm hearth and home
as he plowed in his field.
Did I want to partake
in his life time of guilt?

The best laid plans,
it is easy to see,
Gang aft agley
and I think you'll agree

There was nothing to do
but give them their cheddar.
After all, it was Christmas,
and what could be better

Than showing the love
God has for His swarm,
by letting them stay
inside where it's warm?

So out went the trap
in the cold, winter, night;
we're quite overrun
but I guess it's alright.

So to quoth from St. Nick
on his annual flight,
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a Good Night!

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving...


...Y'all...hope you enjoyed a good day with family and friends.

Those that know me are aware family hasn't always been my strong point, but today was a good celebration.

A couple of my sons stopped by and shared a meal with us, along with two of Karen's kids.

So six of us gathered around the table and gave thanks to God in heaven for the food before us, the family beside us and God's love between us.

Of course the Lions lost, but oh well...if you live in Michigan there are a few unpleasant constants, and one of them is the hopeless estate of our professional football team.  We may have the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, but that doesn't change their standing at the end of the season.

And this was a good week on the home renovation front...
...that my friends is a kitchen cupboard...there are two others affixed to our kitchen walls now, and hopefully by the end of next week they will be joined by backsplash and various other accoutrements that comprise a finished kitchen.  Be still my foolish heart.

On the writing front, I've published two more books on Amazon...
...Red Train Christmas, a Christmas story I'm proud of, and...
...When A Cardinal Appears, volume 2, a collection of short stories and poems which I'm also happy to make available to the (non-)buying public...available on Amazon.com.  Enjoy...c'mon, you know you want to.

And since we've now raced past the Thanksgiving holiday and are hurtling headlong down the luge track toward Christmas, Karen insisted we start the decorating frenzy...it's modest as beginnings go, but here's our outdoor decor to date:
...two illuminated deer in front of our home...humble I know, but tune in next week...I've already been informed my job this weekend is to put up the manger scene, and new to the mix, our Santa and Reindeer display on our conveniently flat roof...part of the Sacro-Secular conflict so evident in our Christmas psyche here in the U.S.

Tomorrow is Black Friday, the official kickoff to our peak season at work....here's hoping the chaos will be minimal and we'll handle the crush of orders in a competent manner.

Happy Holidays, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Thank you!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ah November...

...one of the two ugliest months of the year here in Michigan...if cold, wet, brown and barren is your palette of choice, have we got the month for you.
the inspiring view out my window at work on a typical November morning...
November's one saving grace?

Thanksgiving...the forgotten holiday...looking forward to that in a few days.

For most fat dumb and happy Americans it's football and food followed by Black Friday, the official kickoff to the "worship at the altar of retail" season..hope it's more than that for you and yours.

March...that's the other one.

And joy of joys!  More liquid sunshine...
As Johnny Cash opined musically, "looks like we'll be blessed with a little more rain..."

Watched The Merry Widow last night...
...a melodrama from 1925 starring John Gilbert and Mae Murray...my interest being learning more about Gilbert since I'm writing about him in TAT

You have to be patient with silent films...put yourself in the mindset of theater goers of that day in the pre-talkie era.  Today we find them slow moving and filled with overacting...broad repetitive gestures and extreme facial expressions...
Gilbert's "father, the King" expressing his displeasure with his son...
...because they did not have the luxury of communicating via the spoken word...for audiences to "get it" you had to pound home the point before moving on.

Plus, literacy rates were not high back then and you could be certain the occasional titles flashed on the screen were little more than an uninformative break in the action for some percentage of the audience.

Even so, it's easy to see why Gilbert was a star...handsome and expressive he was a heart throb for female movie goers in the 1920's...and I enjoyed watching him do his thing on the silver screen.
the happy couple, Gilbert and Mae Murry, newly crowned King and Queen...
Have to admit though, I'm a bigger fan of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd...I find their humor delightfully clever and physically amazing.

This is the last weekend before "peak" begins at work...though it's been here in spirit if not order volume for a while now.

Even so, it's soon to be "once more into the fray, into the last good fight I'll ever know..."

Well, I hope not, but it does occasionally feel like we're about to charge into a pack of hungry wolves as we stare down the barrel of another peak season (please tell me you recognize the Joe Carnahan poem from the movie The Grey).

Hopefully I'll look back on this entry 4 or 5 weeks hence and find I was exaggerating.

but for now...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Thank you!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

If Anyone Told Me...

...I'd be golfing in November in Michigan...well, you know the rest.

But here I am, hoping for a day here and there with a little sunshine and temps in the 40's and in my twisted mindset that now constitutes the perfect day to swing my hickories.

And swing them I did...when I'm able to say I should have had a couple of birdies but settled for par, it was a good round for me...bogeyed a few and stayed within shouting distance of par for most of the round.

Of course fall golf is easier (other than the weather)...nothing is growing and the course has been mowed short, so even though the fairways are unkempt they're wider.  Several of my shots that were easily playable would have been in the rough and maybe lost if this was June, July or August.

Even so it was big fun, and I'm doing pretty well with my new cleek (roughly a fairway wood)...
...so "simple golf" (mashie, niblick, putter) has morphed into 4 club golf and my cleek has replaced my mashie as my fave club...for now...until I buy that Louisville Golf Black Brassie...then I'll be playing 5 club golf...Merry Christmas to me...

And speaking of that time of year, next week is Thanksgiving...
...so while you're busy panicking at the thought of the rapidly disappearing year and all the obligations of the holiday season...don't forget to actually be thankful for God's blessings.

Yes there are problems, there are tragedies, there is injustice and sadness everywhere...but life doesn't have to only about the lowest common denominator...you're allowed to aspire to better, to be hopeful for the future, to be committed to working to improve life if not in the great wide world then at least where you've been planted.

So bloom and blossom where you are and give thanks to God in heaven for life, for His gracious provision, for salvation through faith in His Son.

Finished Cardinal, volume 2...
...my second collection of short stories, and also threw in some  poems at no extra charge...don't mention it.

And in a flurry of creative activity, I've got the revised, new and improved (I hope) version of TAT being proofed right now...

Can't wait to make them available to the general public...the faster I get them out there on Amazon, the faster all those people can get busy ignoring them.

Hey, if you don't read these two books, you're only hurting yourself.

and on that happy note...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Thank you!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

In Flanders Fields...

...the moving poem from World War I...written by Canadian surgeon John McCrae upon the death of his friend in battle.

World War I was "the Great War", "the war to end all wars" because of the massive slaughter of over 9 million soldiers with 21 million wounded.

It finally came to a merciful end four years after it began, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month...thereafter known as Armistice Day.

Surely from this extended horror mankind would learn to find better, peaceful ways to end disagreements.

Right.

World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so it goes.

History is dominated by the repetitive and aggressive use of force, often for ignoble ends.

We are meant to be free; it's our God given right, as so eloquently elucidated in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident...that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

But if you want to remain free, you must fight for your liberty.

Dwight D Eisenhower said "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the timid or the weak".

Thankfully we have soldiers willing to fight to protect our nation and our way of life.

We set aside this day - Veteran's Day - to honor and thank them.
mu son Benjamin in Afghanistan
So thank you veterans everywhere...for your willingness to defend and sacrifice for our country.

God Bless You!

later, mcm fans...

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Safety...

Last!   The absolutely hilarious Harold Lloyd silent classic from 1923.

This is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, filled with dozens of laugh out loud scenes of Harold Lloyd doing marvelous physical comedy.

Through the years we've laughed at some truly talented comedians who specialized in physical humor, from Jerry Lewis to Don Knotts to Steve Martin to Jim Carrey but all of them are pikers compared to the Big Three of the silent movie era: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

In Safety Last! he's billed as simply "The Boy" who leaves his country home for the Big City so he can make good and marry his sweetheart, "The Girl".

From the opening scene - where it appears he's in jail, being visited by his loved ones who've come to say goodbye at his execution, when in fact they're at the train station bidding him farewell on his trip to the city - to the ending - where he and his sweetheart are on the top of the 12 story building he's just climbed to earn $1000...
...it's non-stop funny with rapid fire physical gags.  There are so many of them they're equivalent in some ways to today's "throw away lines"...quick quips that make you laugh but the action keeps moving so you have to focus to keep up.

Do yourself a favor and see this movie...if you think I'm wrong and you don't find this film truly hilarious at least you'll finally know the truth: you were born without a sense of humor.  No wonder you don't have any friends and waste your time reading this blog.

So it's another lovely fall day here...
...and at least we're finally getting some rain...for one brief moment I was fearful we might see the sun two days in a row but thankfully, no danger of that happening.  Yessir, if cloudy, gray, cold and wet is to your liking, we've got just the place for you: Michigan!

Could be worse...Karen's relatives who live up north in Rogers City are being treated to snow and ice.  Good place for it.  They must be very bad people.

Working on getting "When A Cardinal Appears, volume 2" ready for publication this weekend.
This is always an exciting process for an author.  To think of the thrill of having your literary masterpiece available for sale and being actively ignored by millions of people on a daily basis...well, it's one of life's rare and treasured moments.

I'm actually fairly pleased with the end product and feel it's some of my better work.  I don't say that lightly nor with hubris...I've deleted, discarded and destroyed far more stories than I've kept, having labored over them only to decide "Crap!  It's all crap!" once I had time to step back and review them without emotion.

But these I'm ok with and am happy to present them to the public.  Not that I think everyone will love every one of them...but I think they can stand on their own as viable fiction, whatever the heck that is.

Every so often the local turkey union decides to hold a members meeting in our backyard...
...apparently unaware it's nearing Thanksgiving...
Now that's the good stuff...ing...

Still hafta get a workout in and get back to the final chapters of TAT, so...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

Get your paperback books here:



Get your ebooks here:




Thank you!