Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bark, The Herald Angels Sing

I wouldn't mind believing in God.

I say this because people troubled by my lack of faith seem to think I'm just being stubborn. I could really believe in God if I wanted to, they seem to think. They seem to believe. Like I have a button on me that says FAITH. All I need to do is press it, and, VIOLA, I'm religious.

The closest thing I have to a button is this unsightly mole on my back. If I ever get some extra cash, I think I'll have it removed.

It would be much easier to believe in God if there was, like, a God. If you want to believe something exists, if kind of helps to have it, like, exist.

I'm not saying there is no God. I'm just saying if he, or it, were right here right now, in front of me, where I could see and hear him, it would go a long way toward making me believe in him, or it.

Some think God is going to punish me for my agnosticism (See? I didn't say atheism. I'm not that far gone.) I've never understand this whole idea of God punishing someone for not believing in him, or it. If someone didn't believe I could talk, I wouldn't punish them for it. I would just talk. That person would would be converted faster than you could say "road to Damascus". Actually, faster than you could say "Damascus" all by itself. Or "road". Or "to". I suppose once that person was convinced I could talk, they'd ask for my forgiveness for ever doubting me. My reply to that? No forgiveness necessary. I've always been on the quiet side, so it's understandable someone might make that mistake.

There are those who will say that if I just prayed, or took a leap of faith, or opened up my heart and looked inside, I would know God exists. But why go through so much trouble? I mean, there are a lot of things I know exist because they have the virtue of existing. The keyboard on which I type I know exists, as well as this chair that I'm sitting on, and the library I'm sitting and typing in. And for all you grammarians out there, I also know that proposition that ended the preceding sentence exists. I just couldn't figure out any other way of ending it.

Of course, all those things I just mentioned are man-made, including the proposition. Especially the proposition. But God is more intangible than that,
you say. You have to look beyond material things. OK, fine. Let's move away from material things to nature. Beyond taking a stroll through the Cleveland Metroparks, I've never been one much for communing with nature. But nature at least exists. The Cleveland Metroparks exists. The plants exist. The trees exist. The scrunched up condom in the middle of the bike path exists (scratch the last one. We're back to material things.)

Some of you will say, "Can't you see God in nature?" I don't want to see God in nature. I want to see God like I see nature. I mentioned trees. Why can't God exist like a tree exists?

I don't have to pray to know a tree exists. It's there.

I don't have to take a leap of faith to know a tree exists. It's there.

I don't have to open up my heart and look inside to know a tree exists. It's there.

I don't have to eat wafers, light candles, light incense, pass the plate, clap my hands, bathe in the Ganges River, bow to Mecca, dance around a totem pole, or shave my head and wave a tambourine at the airport to know a tree exists.

It's there.

I can touch it, climb it, stand under it, pull twigs off of it, hang a tire and swing from it, chop it down, or take too much cough medicine and drive my car into it. Empirical proof of the tree's existence.

So, God, if you do exist and want to prove it to me; in fact, even if you don't
want me to prove it to me (I mean, I don't think the keyboard, chair, library, or scrunched up condom cares one way or another in their repective existences) make yourself obvious to me.

As obvious as a tree.

I'm waiting.


OK, how about a sapling?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Following Update

I'm pleased to welcome Kass, who's left a few comments here in the past. I know a lot of you already read her blog, but, in the off-chance you haven't, it's called The K Is No Longer Silent.

I once tried to silent the Ks in my own name, but decided I didn't really like being called Ir.

(Word of warning, Kass. The above is what occasionally passes for humor on this blog.)

Quips and Quotations

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.

— E.B. White

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Archival Revival: 2nd Anniversary Edition

On May 22, 2008, Shadow of a Doubt made its' debut in cyberspace. Here is that very first post:

Beware of Luddite

Please bear with me. I'm new to blogging. In fact, I'm new to the web/Internet/cyberspace/information highway/21st century. And on top of all that, I'm a little rusty on the typewriter. I do this under duress. The era I grew up in--the 1970s--seemed pretty advanced to me. Now it's like the Old West, and I feel like Festus from Gunsmoke learning how to drive a car for the first time. I was going to start a new paragraph at this very sentence, but, as the title of this blog will attest I'm a Luddite. Not that it matters as the library computer I'm using just informed me that I only have a measly five minutes left. So until next time--oh, shit, what the hell did I do--oh, well, never mind--the computer just gave me a ten minute reprieve. Frankly, I'm surprised this machine hasn't had a nervous breakdown with me using it. Speaking of Gunsmoke--well, Gunsmoke is going to have to wait, as the computer just told me to get the hell off.

I didn't realize that once my time was up on the computer, all I had to do was sign up for the next available one. I was kind of new to libraries as well. Or at least hadn't been in one in awhile. I also didn't realize that I could leave my writing in draft form. I thought I had to publish it then and there, which is why what you just read is so abbreviated. The next day, I returned to the library to finish my thought:

The Once and Future Past

Welcome to my second blog. Or maybe my third. Me and the computer are a bit at odds about that. Then again, I'm a Luddite, so me and the computer are a bit at odds about EVERYTHING! In my previous blog, before I was so rudely interrupted by the library mandated time limit, I was going to pontificate about Gunsmoke. Actually about one particular episode I saw on TV Land not too long ago. Here's what happened. A group, or in Old West parlance, a gang, of desperadoes came upon a solitary farmhouse. First they robbed the farmer and his wife, and then shot and left them for dead! As they were leaving the crime scene, they happened upon Marshall Matt Dillion (no relation to the Brat Packer) and his deputy Festus. Matt and Festus gave chase, but as the farm couple were bleeding to death, first things first, and the bad guys got away. Later that night, that very night, and I should mention that this episode BEGINS that very night, the outlaws were spending it in some old abandoned cabin. "Why are we spending the night in this old abandoned cabin?" cried one "We have to high-tail it out of this state!" "We can't, you fool!" yelled the leader "Matt Dillion saw us. By now they'll have every road in the state blocked off!" Now here's what concerns me. This is the Old West, 18whatever. How in tarnation (Old Westspeak) could they have all the roads blocked off in a single night? It's not like Matt Dillon had a two-way radio strapped to his horse! Speaking of horses, it takes a little time to get back to Dodge City. And remember, they had two people bleeding to death. In a squad car it would've been quicker, sure. But, horses? Eventually, Matt and Festus would've found a telegraph office, but that still should have given the bad guys a good head start. So, how to explain all this? Simple. Whoever wrote that episode grew up in the 20th century. He was used to instant communication, or what passed for it in the 1960s. He couldn't imagine any other way of thinking. This is what science and technology does (even to writers of TV fiction). A way of life people take for granted seems, at best, quaint to the people who come after. At worst, that way of life seems TOTALLY NUTS. Great Grandad didn't have electricity? No lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury? Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be? Eventually, people come after the people who came after, and the tables are turned. "No, junior, we didn't have Blackberries when I was young. NO, I WASN'T DEPRIVED! I didn't even know what I was missing!..." In conclusion, I suppose the people that come after us, or the people who come after the people who come after us, or the people who come after the people who come after the people who came after--well, you get the general idea--those people might some day produce a Gunsmoke-like show that takes place in, say, 2008, and some future desperado will say, "Matt Dillion's been online by now. He'll have every road in the galaxy blocked off!"

Welcome to my second blog? I was later informed that the whole thing is called a blog, and the components therein referred to as "posts".

Festus, saddle up my horse!

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Memoriam: Frank Frazzeta 1928-2010

Cartoonist and illustrator. Vampirella. Conan

"What I do is create images, period."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

They the People

I think I'll turn on one of those public affair shows...

"Hello. My name Is Edward R. Trudeau, and today I'm interviewing the noted conservative pundit Basil Hapsburg. Thank you for joining us today, Basil."

"My pleasure, Edward."

"Well, Basil, what do you think of the Health Care Plan that just passed Congress."

"Oh, if only the Founding Fathers knew how their Constitution is being trampled on! Thomas Jefferson is turning over so much in his grave it's making Monticello rock on its' foundations!"

"Let's move on to the bill that would create a Consumer Protection Agency."

"Oh, the Founding Fathers would be simply horrified! From beyond the grave, I can hear James Madison weeping in Dolly's arms!"

"Er, lets move on to environmental legislation..."

"Oh, my, now you have really enraged the Founding Fathers! Why, I bet George Washington is clenching his wooden teeth so hard in frustration right now he'll soon have a mouthful of toothpicks!"

"Well, Basil, since you keep bringing up the Founding Fathers, isn't it true some of them were slaveholders?"

"Edward, I'm ashamed of you! You are being totally unfair! You can't judge people living in the 17th century by the standards of the 21st. The Founding Fathers were products of their times. They were limited by the mores of their times. They lived over 200 years ago, in a vastly different era. No comparison to the era we live in now. Absolutely none. Cut them some slack, why don't you?!"

"I-I guess you're right."

"Of course I am!"

"I'm sorry I ever brought it up."

"I forgive you."

"Well, let's move on to something else. So, tell me, Basil, what do you think about Obama's latest Supreme Court pick?"

"Oh, she mustn't be allowed to serve! It could so upset Thomas Jefferson he might go limp on Sally Hemings!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

In Memoriam: Lena Horne 1917-2010

Singer. "Stormy Weather." "Can't Help Lovin' That Man." Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music (Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway show)

"I no longer have to be a 'credit,' I don't have to be a 'symbol' to anybody. I don't have to be a 'first' to anybody. I don't have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I'd become. I'm me, and I'm like nobody else."

(Lena made the above comment in 1997, when she was 80--KJ)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


We all know we should wash our hands after we're done in the bathroom. Especially public bathrooms. We simply don't know who else has been using that public bathroom. We don't know where that user's been or what that user's got. It's not as safe as the bathrooms in our homes. Oh, don't get me wrong. As a courtesy to others, we should wash our hands there, too. But the stakes aren't as high, from the standpoint of our own personal safety and piece of mind. Our bathrooms have been used only by ourselves. Well, I suppose there's an outside chance a home bathroom could have been used by a burglar. If you ever wake up one morning and find your TV missing, make sure to really wash your hands. After all, you don't know where that burglar's been or what that burglar's got.

Still, burglar or not, you're more likely to come across germs other than your own in a public bathroom. Washing your hands limits such encounters but doesn't completely eliminate them. After you've done washing, you have to turn the faucet off. Maybe the person who used the faucet before you didn't wash their hands. Of course, if that person didn't wash his hands, he would have bypassed the sink completely. So the risk factor is actually pretty low. Still, it's kind of comforting that more and more public bathrooms have faucets that turn on and off by themselves. You never know how many maniacs are out there using public bathrooms, and then turning on the faucet just for the hell of it with no attention of actually washing their hands.

If the bathroom has a door, there's the tricky question of exiting it. Maybe that person who didn't wash his hands put those very same unwashed hands on the door handle. To be perfectly safe, you may want to head butt your way out. Just hope the person who head-butted before you didn't have dandruff.

Once you've successfully exited, you may tell yourself, "I walked into a public bathroom and lived to tell about it." Don't feel too secure just yet. Think of all the things you touch outside a bathroom. That button on the elevator, that hand railing along the steps, that magazine we skim through but have no intention of buying. They have all been touched by people who didn't wash their hands.

More and more fast food restaurants expect you to get your own soft drink. That wouldn't be much of a problem if you weren't also expected to get your own plastic lid. It's almost impossible to grab just one lid. Two usually stick together. So what do you do with the extra lid? Put it back? Since I know my hands are clean, it wouldn't be the least bit unsanitary for me to do so. But that person standing next to me with a disapproving look on his or her face doesn't know that. They may be convinced I'm starting the next typhoid epidemic by putting that plastic lid back. Also, I could be setting a bad example. A bad example to someone who didn't wash their hands. Suppose instead of disapproval, that person standing next to me has a look of malevolent glee. "Ah ha" the thinking goes. "If he puts the extra plastic lid back than so, too, will I. Ahahahaha!" So I guess I'll just throw away that extra plastic lid, a plastic lid that may still be around 10,000 years from now. Such environmental degradation could have been avoided had the person behind the counter at Burger King simply gotten that drink for me.

Are unwashed hands the only threat we face? How about our shoes? Think of all the places we walk, including public bathrooms, and on God knows what. I don't know how well germs incubate at the bottom of a shoe, but if you happen see someone karate-kicking open a bathroom door, watch out.

And what about rear ends? Yes, I know they're shrouded with layers of clothing, and that should protect us and those around us. But (no pun intended) have you ever been in a place with public seating, a theater or a bus or a doctor's waiting room, and you can just tell someone's recently been sitting in the same place you're sitting because the seat is warm? Just what is the source of this warmth? Did the person leave behind vapors? Stranger still, sometimes the person leaves actual sweat behind. At least, I hope it's sweat.

Face it, folks. Germs, microbes, spores, pathogens, bacterium, droplets, airborne particles, and microscopic, peripatetic organisms surround us wherever we go, whatever we touch, and wherever, whatever, and whoever, we breathe. The only safe way to go through life is to call NASA and see if they have any surplus spacesuits.

Wait a second. The astronauts went to the bathroom in those things, didn't they?

Monday, May 3, 2010

In Memoriam: Lynn Redgrave 1943--2010

Actress. Georgy Girl.

Hey there, Georgy girl
Swingin' down the street so fancy-free
Nobody you meet could ever see the loneliness there - inside you
Hey there, Georgy girl
Why do all the boys just pass you by?
Could it be you just don't try or is it the clothes you wear?

You're always window shopping but never stopping to buy
So shed those dowdy feathers and fly - a little bit

Hey there, Georgy girl
There's another Georgy deep inside
Bring out all the love you hide and, oh, what a change there'd be
The world would see a new Georgy girl

Hey there, Georgy girl
Dreamin'; of the someone you could be
Life is a reality, you can't always run away
Don't be so scared of changing and rearranging yourself
It's time for jumping down from the shelf - a little bit

--"Georgy Girl" Performed by The Seekers. Words by Jim Dale and Music by Tom Springfield

(Like the above song? Then see the movie of the same name. Even if you don't like the above song, see the movie anyway. Lynn's just wonderful in it--KJ)