Friday, December 30, 2011

Important Life Lessons from "Suspense"

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy listening to old time radio. At the moment, I'm working my way through Suspense on the Internet Archive, a fabulous website by the way. I'm on page four of ten. So, while I am not nearly done, I've listened to a couple hundred episodes. Thus far, these are the things I have learned:

  • Never take money from the till of your employer to bet on a horse race or any other gambling venture. Even if it's just $10. Even if the $1000 you'll make on that long shot will pay for your mother's funeral and ensure your future happiness with the woman you love. Don't do it. You'll lose the money, one way or another.

  • Never marry someone you've only known for a short time. Even if it's true love. Even if you can't imagine yourself being happy without them in your life. Don't do it. They don't love you.

  • Never try to plan the perfect murder. Even if it's just an experiment. Even if you're a genius and you are certain you will get away with it. Don't do it. You'll be discovered or receive comeuppance some other way, e.g. accidentally killed the wrong person.

  • Never trust a friend or relative you had a falling out with years ago and who is now trying to revive the relationship. Even if you had the best of times as children. Even if they ARE your closest family member and dear to you by blood. Don't do it. They will kill you.

  • Never disregard a wildly impossible story or explanation. Even if it involves the extra-supernatural. Even if you are a rational being that does not believe in spooks, ghosts, fate, the afterlife, or time distortion. Don't do it. Occam's razor is false and nothing is impossible.

  • Never accuse the guy who is so obviously the killer/thief/bad guy. Even if every form of evidence points to him. Even if he's shifty and seems completely untrustworthy. Don't do it. He's acting in order to draw out the real bad guy, who is, most likely, the guy you've chosen to trust instead.

  • Never agree to accept expensive hand-outs from a stranger. Even if it's the most handsome and expensive camel hair coat you've ever seen. Even if the innocent old woman sees her deceased son in you and wants you to inherit her stately mansion and entire estate. Don't do it. There's always a catch and they're probably trying to frame you.

  • Never assume a car crash is an accident. Even if it's perfectly obvious that the cow jumped out into the road. Even if the tire marks suggest otherwise. Don't do it. The cow didn't jump out in the road. Every car accident is deliberate.

I'm sure I have more to learn. New ways of wreaking death and vengeance on foe and kin alike await me. Good times.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Geddyup Jingle-horse!

 I love having big, lazy, brown dogs. I also love capturing them in their natural lazy element.

Elena is not exactly what you'd call ladylike.
The lump they are curled around is my leg.
Just a mess of brown dogs.

 But they also have their moments of intense symmetry.

Synchronized napping.

Synchronized chagrin.

It's almost Christmas. Perhaps, you knew. I had my shopping and wrapping done way early this year , by which I mean December 3rd, because we will be visiting my family, which requires traveling and so I had to have everything done. Also due to traveling, we did not have a tree this year. We always have a live tree but there's no point when we're going to be gone for most of that time. But I couldn't help doing a little decorating.

Cashewlock Holmes - crackerjack private investigator
My zany music stand lent itself to multi-colored lights.


Reindeer are my favorite Christmas motif and a perfect backdrop to a cozy cup of cinnamon hot cocoa. Tasty!
 P.S. Buddy Holly and I have agreed that if ever we purchase a horse, we will name it Jingle.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Do you know I had never read Bram Stoker's Dracula? Until just now? I'm not even finished with it yet. Wow. All of my Dracula knowledge comes from common lore, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Yes, Joss Whedon and Mel Brooks are the creators of my vampire world. I've never even seen a true film adaptation. I hear the 1992 version is okay? Is that the one with the psychedelic love scene?

Anyway, in the long run, I feel my lack of true Dracula understanding will serve me well because now I can read the book without too many preconceived notions of how it ought to be. It is also very depressing that it took me this long. I keep being surprised by things. For instance, half of the characters that are in the book, never make it into common knowledge. I thought the story consisted solely of the Harkers, Lucy, and Van Helsing fighting against (or being killed by, in Lucy's case,) Dracula, Renfield, and the three sisters. There's three other guys involved! I am enjoying the part I'm reading just now, where the Harkers have joined the trio of Lucy's suitors - Arthur, Dr. Seward, and Quincey Morris - and Van Helsing at Dr. Seward's home/asylum. They've all caught up on their past run-ins with the Count and are about to hatch their plan to capture the monster. They're like the Scooby-Gang and it's cute how excited they all are to be in this little clique. They need t-shirts. Also, I really enjoy that Dracula lives next door. If only we had known!! Also-also, Van Helsing is Dutch and does not have a great grasp of English and I love it. I'm proud of Stoker for taking the time to write him flubbing English grammar rules.
P.S. Entirely unrelated to Dracula, I have a pet peeve about plastic-handled eating utensils. The kind where just the handle is plastic and the rest is metal. Ew.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Church Politics

It is said that money and sex are the two leading causes of divorce. I would venture that they are the driving impulses for more than marital discord. The cynic in me would even go so far as to say that sex and money, not love, are what makes the world go round. That aside, examples of the divisive nature of money and sex are to be found anywhere. In my own life, money is making itself most prevalent at Church. Yay.

Church Politics are a delicate thing. Mostly because they aren't supposed to be there. We're supposed to work together, buttress our sisters and brothers, and work for the good of all. But we're still us and history is riddled with the sad trippings-up of Church. All of Paul's letters were written to struggling Churches, the Nicene creed was written to straighten out a few grievous misunderstandings, the division of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches lies in the politics surrounding the papacy, the Reformation was a wonderful mix of Church politics and state politics, America - fled to because of good ol' Church politics. And, just now, my Church is steeped in politics and divided due to a lack of money (maybe better than an abundance of sex? Maybe not, maybe everyone would be less uptight then...). I understand human nature, the need to survive, protect, and flock but this divided camps thing is getting old. Petty backbiting and gossip are beneath us and particularly disheartening from the perspective of one who sits between the camps, unable and unwilling to take sides. Maybe this goes back to my last post but I kind of wonder when we, as the human race, are going to grow up.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go have chocolate cake for breakfast because that's the grown up thing to do.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What are we waiting for?

The first week of Advent was this past Sunday. You may not be from a religious tradition that celebrates or any religious tradition at all but this is the beginning of the liturgical Church calendar and the season that proceeds Christmas. The four Sundays before Christmas mark the season of waiting for the advent (from the Latin adventus meaning "come") of Christ. In sermons throughout this season you will hear correlations drawn between a child's eager anticipation of Christmas morning and how we ought to look forward to the coming of Christ and the salvation of the world. That analogy is great the first time you hear it but here's my problem. He already came. And went. And came again. Maybe I'm crazy because my beliefs on the Second Coming are a little (way) less literal and apocalyptic. But why are we waiting around?

Look, (sorry, I'm about get real Christian here, if you aren't into theology, now's the time to go get a drink or popcorn) Christ already did His thing. He gave us the road map and He opened the gate. I don't get why we (Christians) ponce around so much waiting for more. We wait upon the Lord and we're waiting for the Day and we treat our planet like crap because it doesn't matter, we've got a heavenly home waiting. And I think that is BS. Heaven is here, now, and within our grasp. It is our choice to make heaven on earth, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me" and whatnot. I recently heard peace described as everyone doing God's will. Whether or not you believe God has a will or even if there is a God, I think we can all agree that peace is a good idea and, if we all worked at it, that'd be awesome. But we don't and I think Christians are particularly at fault because we hype it all the time and then twiddle our thumbs waiting for Christ to come do it for us. This has got to stop! If you want the Christmas spirit to really live in everyone's hearts this season, stop sending out Christmas cards with the 'Christ' part of Christmas highlighted and maybe act a little nicer to people on Black Friday or any day for that matter.

I'm just as much to blame and we're all hypocrites and I get that total world peace is a BIG dream. But even if we tried, just a little? If we stopped waiting and wondering and actually did something about it? To quote Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, "As my father told me when I said I'd never get that job in a bar: 'Honey, your odds go up when you file an application.'" So, this year, Advent is not my season of waiting or anticipation but my season of Carpe Pacem. I'm going to go out there and own this Advent. I hope you do too.

BTW, I have no idea how I'm going to do this. Be nicer and more perfect than I already I am? Impossible.