Monthly Archives: August 2013

There Are Better Things Than Patriotism


Daily Prompt: I Pledge Allegiance

Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” so said Samuel Johnson. That’s close, but not accurate. Religion is often the last refuge. Evoking God or Jesus is bound to buy one a little more time.

The question implies, in the mind of many, would I be willing to die or kill for my country? Do I love my country above all other things or countries? Am I willing to defend my country and its sovereignty, laws, interest, ideals, and citizens? If that is what is meant, the answer is no.

I did all those things (I never killed anyone, but certainly in some measure helped). I spent four years in the military during the Vietnam War. The war of “body counts.”

When my enlistment was complete I came home to a life where I paid taxes and often overpaid. I never broke the law (one speeding ticket in 1976). I kept my property clean. I never protested against anything the government did or didn’t do. I always held a job. I was productive and took initiative to improve the products my company manufactured. I spent a lot of time in voluntary community service. My kids never took drugs, ended up in JD, and they likewise are productive tax payers. They were good students and didn‘t get in trouble. My wife was a stay at home mom for many years and spent many hours in voluntary community service. She entered the work force for about ten years and was a loyal and trusted employee.

My refusal and avoidance to vote or engage in patriotic ceremonies and events has been met with opposition, anger, puzzlement, ambivalence, and near violence and in some rare cases admiration.

I never thought taking illegal drugs was patriotic. I never thought driving after drinking and putting peoples’ lives at risk was patriotic. I never thought cheating on taxes was patriotic. I never thought lying to the government, a police officer, a judge, or a neighbor was patriotic. I never thought attaching an American flag on the bumper of your car so it is the first thing that can be hit was patriotic. I never thought taking an oath to office and then cheating those who voted for you was patriotic. I never thought rigging elections was patriotic. I never thought accepting or handing out bribes was patriotic.

There are a lot of people like that. They don’t wave flags. They don’t make brave boasts. They don’t say they love their country. Yet, they love their neighbor as they do themselves. That’s more than patriotic.

Patriotism tries to hijack the words of Jesus; “Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” but fails to finish the quote; “Render unto God what belongs to God.” Jesus was addressing the patriots from King Harod at this particular time about paying taxes. The conclusion was that by all means one should pay taxes. Our life and existence belongs to God, not to Caesar or some sort of misdirected patriotism. The passage at Matthew 22:15-21 clearly shows what belongs to Caesar (governments) is restricted by the things owed to God.


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

Daily Prompts; Aren’t Perfect, That’s The Blogger’s Job

Daily Prompt: A Little Sneaky

Are writing prompts a useful exercise, or do you find them to be too limiting and/or hokey?

Thanks for asking.

From time to time I might echo a compliant because the prompt, in my view, is sophomoric or doesn’t ring with me, but that’s all a part of the challenge.

From my perspective, which is often very narrow, I don’t care much for the ones that make attempts to address one’s own grandiosity. The most recent that comes to mind is the one about making a movie of your life. That might be right down some blogger’s alley, but I prefer one’s that are more subtle to revealing one’s ego.

A prompt is a prompt, though. We can either play along or go home. I am happy to have something to write about and keep my mind busy when it goes blank. The prompts I don’t like makes me search for the hidden and not so obvious. That’s what I like anyway.

Writers are always simplifying what is complicated and complicating what is simple. It is the writer’s or blogger’s job to take the sow’s ear and make it into a purse.


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

What Does Boise Football Have To Do With Sewage Problems?

Many feel a Boise State win will come down to the foot of the kicker, Dan Goodale.

Many feel a Boise State win will come down to the foot of the kicker, Dan Goodale.

Boise will be quiet this Saturday night except for anticipated problems with the city’s sewage system (more on that later). Boise State has its first game of the season with the University of Washington in Seattle.

Every decent citizen will be at the game in Seattle or perched in front of their TV like crows on a telephone wire.

Fans in Boise are not like fans anywhere else. They don’t take losses like a Michigan fan or Ohio State fan does. Ohio State could win a national championship and the fans will say, “But last year we lost two games.” Boise State fans move on. They know there will be a tomorrow.

A typical Ohio State fan remembers every defeat in their lifetime with clarity, but are vague about the wins. The losses are so painful.

Boise State is so used to being the underdog it is the wins they remember more than the losses. Sure the losses are tough, but the murder rate and wife-beating don’t escalate like it does in Ohio and Michigan after a loss.

Kyle Brotzman, a Boise place kicker missed a field goal that would have given Boise a win and a possible shot at the National Championship a couple of years ago. After the immediate angst he was quickly forgiven. He was remembered for all the good he did over the years. Sure there were some reported death threats, but they were from Ohio, Michigan, and California transplants.

Michigan will never forget opening game loss to Appalachian State on September 1, 2007 (I won’t let them). Ohio State doesn’t care whether they win, they just don’t want to lose; if that makes sense.

Boise State is an underdog in the upcoming game. That’s where they want to be.

Last year Boise beat Washington in the MAACO Bowl. Some might think this gives UW a revenge advantage. The only thing Boise won the score. UW pushed them around the field like a schoolyard bully. Boise knows they got beat. They have something to prove.

Home field advantage is not all it’s cracked up to be. It makes the home team overconfident.

Prognosticators and analyst alike look at games three ways from Sunday (or is that seven – same thing) for the advantage of one team over another no matter how inconsequential. It doesn’t make any difference whose birthday it is or what a quarterbacks biorhythm chart is, or which team wins the most games closest to a full moon during odd-numbered months; the best team wins. It all comes down to skill, conditioning, preparation, and motivation.

I don’t know how good Boise State is this year. I hope they are real good. Nevertheless nobody will know until the first game is over. Nobody can make an assessment on anything from the past. The only thing that is really known is that Boise and UW are two good teams.

I’m assuming Boise has remained motivated better than most in the off-season. I assume Chris Petersen is the smartest guy on both sidelines. I’m assuming Boise players have honed their skills to an art. I’m assuming they have bigger hearts.

There is a good thing about Boise, the fans, and the people; win or lose there will be no riots, fires, or cars turned over in the streets. They know how to win, they know how to lose.

The city of Boise Sewage Department has only one overwhelming concern. There will likely be at least 50,000 Bud Light drinking males who will be holding it until the final knee taken by Nick Patti. They will all rush to the john at the same time and flush within seconds of each other. The overload to the Boise sewage system will be catastrophic! For those near the river, watch the game from high ground.


Filed under Boise, Sports

My Old Green Suit; It Belongs To The Ages

My old green suit, made with threads of kryptonite.

My old green suit, made with threads of kryptonite.

Sometimes a suit is like an old cat; you feed it once and they fellow you no matter where you go. You have two choices; embrace it and call it your own or take it to a coyote game reserve.

I have this old green suit purchased just after Vietnam (really, it was the Clinton years). It may have been worn during the war for all I know. It sort of has that jungle camouflage look. And I swear it is strong enough to take a round.

I’ve been waiting for it to wear out. It won’t. It’s like that old cat you fed; you drop it off ten miles from home and by the time you return it’s already there curled-up by the garage door.

I purchased two new suit’s a couple of weeks ago. As much as it pains me I tossed my old green suit. As I unceremoniously dumped it in the trash a hole was spotted. “My goodness,” I mumbled. “How long has that been there? I know I didn’t take a round there.” Anyway it’s gone.

It is certain to have a long happy and otherwise lonely existence in some landfill. And millenniums from now when everything else in the landfill has degraded to nothing that suit will be dug up. Some archeologist will send to the cleaners and claim it as his own.


Filed under Essays

Nothing You Could Do

1325966424_mary-wells[1]Daily Prompt: Can’t Drive 55

Take the third line of the last song you heard, make it your post title, and write for a maximum of 15 minutes

Start time: 7:12

That is sometimes the only option at our disposal. It is sometimes the only sound advice that makes sense.

We are sometimes left with nothing to do, but watch things dramatic or unheralded events unfold before our eyes. Sometimes being the hero is saving yourself because that is the only alternative one has control over.

We spend much of our life thinking ‘I should have done this’ or ‘I should have said that.’ The truth is that we would have little effect on the outcome of events anyway.

After hearing some one comment “If only I would have…” my father-in-law used to say, “And if the dog hadn’t have stopped to take a crap he’d have caught the rabbit.”

Life is full of such predicaments.

There is little we can do with the world around us, but we can only effectively change ourselves.

We often hear the expression, ‘one person can make a difference.’ It puts the weight of the world on one person’s shoulders. That’s not fair. Certainly one can come forward and remind everyone what they already know, but that’s as far as it goes. We can’t move anyone to do anything unless they already know it’s the right thing to do.

End time: 7:27

Five minutes to reread and edit (believe ti or not).

The post was taken from the third line of the 1964 Mary Wells hit, My Guy. While driving home last night I listened to an oldies station.


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

Dicaprio Outraged, No Kenton Lewis Movie

imagesCA360CQ4Daily Prompt: Ready for Your Close-up

Cast the movie of your life. Photographers, artists, poets: show us SUPERSTAR

Enough already! I don’t want awards, I don’t want to have a reality show, and I darn well don’t want a movie made of my life. There is something wrong with people who want any of that crap.

If fame and fortune come your way that’s one thing, but to bask in it as if you’re something or someone better than others is quite different.

The greatest lives lived will never be known let alone made into a movie.

I know a man who taught himself to read write so he could help others. He spent his life in the service to others and received not one cent for his efforts. He was ridiculed by many and a week later helping those who demonstrated hatred toward him. And if they’d apologetically bring it to his attention he’d embarrassingly say, “Well, we all got lessons to learn.” He is afflicted with Alzheimer’s today.

There are two actors who could have had fame a fortune, but turned it down; Teresa Graves and Gardner McKay. They had separate reasons for not pursuing fame and fortune, but died knowing that they had good and full lives.

You can’t suck up all the light; it’s elusive, although some live as if that is their sole purpose to life. There is a price to be paid from the light of flashing cameras, but sunshine is free and never loses its charge or goes dim.

Movies about other lives are a bore, but especially mine.

So Leonardo DiCaprio put down that script, I won’t consent to my life story. It is only available to those who lived it with me.


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

Optomitristein (He Said She Said)

“You look Jewish,” she said.

“Whose your optometrist?” he said.

“Dr. Cohen,” she said. “He’s good.”

“I’m Scandinavian,” he said.

“Close enough,” she said.


Filed under He Said She Said, Short Stories