Feb 28

Tweet me. Like a bird.

Oh Preble

This morning, Pope Benedict XVI, officially said his goodbyes to Rome, stepped on a shiny white helicopter, and took to the skies.  As the frail old man boarded the craft, Scott Pelley of CBS news solemnly reported, “And earlier in the day, the Pope Tweeted a message to the loyal Catholics around the world: ‘Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.'”
And there it is.  Pointy hat and all.

Now I know Scott Pelley has to say the words on the teleprompter… but really.  Pope Benedict can hardly hold his head up without assistance… DON’T tell me he is on his iPad… sending out random Tweets.

“Just ate a Holy Hamburger…. Holy Cow… it was delicious.”

“I wonder if my Purple Robe with Gold Piping makes my butt look big.”

No. No. No.  The Pope is not on Twitter.  Oh sure.  Someone representing him IS.  But Benny Boy just doesn’t have it in him.

Yet here we are.  Immersed in the world filled with Social Media.  Tweets, Texts, Emails, Websites, Apps, Facebook, WiFi, and everything in between.  The youth of today does not know life without a computer.  This is the world in which we live.  I think I read it on Reddit.

Which brings me to this evening.  I just returned home from the Annual Preble County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards.  The Keynote Speaker addressed the audience with the topic of “Sunny Side Up in Rural America” (A great presentation by Mary Bullen!  I’m not biased, either.)

But here we are… out in the country.  Sunny it is indeed.

Oh, sure.  There a pluses and minuses to everything in life.  But I do appreciate living in a rural community. Small town America.  A place where everybody knows your name.

Tonight as I walked in to the local High School Cafetorium, and found my table, I was greeted by numerous people, all offering genuine smiles, hugs, words of kindness.  Many were not close friends… but friends… in the truest sense.  The kind of people that really care about one another.  They help each other.  They would help me.  From presidents of corporations, to the owner of the hardware store on Maple Street.

This is such a grand and noble thing.  This is OUR TOWN.

One of the points the speaker made this evening is that the majority of the people living here…. DO SO… BECAUSE it is a small community.  A place where things are slower, crimes are fewer, the air is cleaner.  People stop and say hello.

Our world is continually swirling with activity.  The digital age is upon us, and it is every where.  So it is nice to have a respite every now and again.  Most folks don’t necessarily want the physical masses coming here.  We wouldn’t care for the traffic jams, or an increase in crime statistics….. or any of the other things that get traded down for larger community living.  Nope.

I think the most of us don’t mind doing without an O’Charley’s and an Applebee’s on every corner.  I think the most of us have a grand appreciation for the tremendous value that this place already holds.  We try to build on those strengths, and work on taking care of our treasures.

A place where people pat you on the back, and smile… where they tip their hats… and still stop simply to say hello.

And you can Tweet me on that.

“…A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must give it this soul.” – Pope John Paul II

Feb 27

woof. rough.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I should have written in the original text… THIS IMAGE IS PHOTOSHOPPED. I would tackle anyone who might point a gun at one of my loved ones… INCLUDING my dogs. EVEN if it means getting shot.)

Maxine the Gunney

I have an opinion on everything under the sun, I’ll tell you.  But when I was very young, my parents said it might not be a good idea to speak about politics or religion.   Soooooooooo….. wellllllll……..

The big thing in the news these days is Gun Safety Issues and the Second Amendment.  I will not weigh in on this here.  AT ALL.

Now the Amendments are a grand and glorious thing.  I really WILL sing the praises of the U.S. Constitution. and our freedoms.

For those of you who are not familiar…..

The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

And that is the deal, as written then.

Yet…. today in the news…..

A Florida man was shot and wounded over the weekend by his dog, who walked away without charges, police said.

Good thing, this here Second Amendment.  Otherwise, the dog might have faced charges.  Actually… as stated in the article below, the investigation is pending against “The Dog”

His name has not been released…. to protect his identity.

Sometimes the animal kingdom speaks to us in ways we will never understand.

Other times…. they just pull out a gun and shoot you.

Gregory Dale Lanier, 35, of Frostproof, Fla., told police Saturday that he and his dog were in their truck in nearby Sebring when the dog kicked a gun that was on the truck’s floor, the Highlands Tribune newspaper reported.

The gun went off, shooting Lanier in the leg, Sebring police said.

Lanier wasn’t seriously injured, said Sebring Police Cmdr. Steve Carr, who actually said police didn’t arrest the dog because the investigation was pending, the Tribune reported.

He also said he had never heard of a similar case.

According to the police report, Lanier said he was driving along State Road 17 North when the dog kicked “the unloaded .380 pistol.” It went on to say that Lanier was “surprised” to learn not only that the gun was loaded, but also that it was actually a 9mm weapon, not a .380.

The incident is only the latest in a string of bizarre shootings in Florida. Just last week, a woman in St. Petersburg was wounded when she was shot by a friend’s oven.

The Easy Bake variety.  Probably.

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” – Stephen R. Covey

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”- Mahtama Gandhi

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” – Thucydides

Feb 26

Don’t touch that snap, pop.

Don't touch that crackle pop.

As you sit and enjoy your bowl of Rice Krispies this morning, think about how far we have come in this little world of ours.

The story I am about to tell you, is true.

John Harvey was a Seventh-day Adventist.  He gained a whole big bunch of fame while being the chief medical officer of the Battle Creek Sanitarium (in Michigan).   This was mostly back during the late part of the 1800s.    The Sanitarium was run based on the church’s health principles.

This would include such things as following a vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and a regimen of exercise.  Good old John Harvey followed this point of lifestyle…… among other things.

But here is an interesting part of it.  He put a whole lot of weight in this because Johnny was concerned with reducing sexual stimulation.  He  thought that discouraging meat-eating…. and the like …. well……  helped with this.

John Harvey was an especially strong proponent of nuts, which he believed would save mankind in the face of decreasing food supply.  Nuts.

At the Battle Creek Sanitarium, John Harvey made residents take part in breathing exercises and mealtime marches to promote proper digestion of food throughout the day. And sunbaths.

This next part sounds very pleasant… indeed.  He made sure that the bowel of each and every patient was plied with water, from above and below.

His favorite device was an enema machine that could rapidly instill several gallons of water in a series of enemas.  I swear I am not making this up.   Every water enema was followed by a pint of yogurt — half was eaten, the other half was administered by enema.  He thought this created a squeaky-clean intestine.  Not to mention other things.

Oh my oh my…. it KEEPS going.  John really was a  gifted guy.  He was a skilled surgeon who often donated his services to indigent patients at his clinic.  Nice enough yes.

And…. although generally against unnecessary surgery to treat diseases… he DID advocate circumcision, and other mutilation-type surgeries….  allegedly to prevent masturbation.

As an advocate of sexual abstinence, John Harvey devoted large amounts of his work to discouraging sexual activity.  He warned that many types of sexual activity, including many “excesses” that couples could be guilty of within marriage, were against nature, and therefore, extremely unhealthy.

His biggest rule… again…. NO masturbation.   He felt that masturbation destroyed not only physical and mental health, but the moral health of individuals as well. Johnny surmised that this “solitary-vice” caused cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility… and of course… dimness of vision.  Teenage boys…. beware.   You’ll go blind.

As if that isn’t enough…. he worked on the rehabilitation of those wicked masturbators, often employing extreme measures, even mutilation, on both sexes.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any whackier….  (no pun intended) John was outspoken on his beliefs on race and segregation.  He founded the Race Betterment Foundation, which became a major center of the new eugenics movement in America. John Harvey was in favor of racial segregation and believed that immigrants and non-whites would damage the gene pool.

He had many notable patients, such as former president William Howard Taft, composer and pianist Percy Grainger, arctic explorers Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Roald Amundsen, world travelers Richard Halliburton and Lowell Thomas, aviator Amelia Earhart, economist Irving Fisher, Nobel prize winning playwright George Bernard Shaw, actor and athlete Johnny Weissmuller, founder of the Ford Motor Company Henry Ford, inventor Thomas Edison, and actress Sarah Bernhardt.  I kid you freaking NOT!  I don’t know what they saw him for…. but they were all patients.

Done with the Rice Krispies yet?  Well this guy… was John Harvey….. Kellogg.   And….. today is his birthday.  2/26/1852 – 12/14/1943.    Yep.  The Founder of Kellogg’s Cereal… and inventor of the Corn Flake.  Slayer of the Masturbator.

Snap.  Crackle. Pop.

“Illusion is the first of all pleasures.” – Oscar Wilde

 

Feb 25

Scaredy Cat

cat kitty truck thing....

Some very strange things had been happening around the farm lately, and Farmer Larry noticed.

Mabel had complained that she had been to the Piggly Wiggle three times that week for canned tuna.  Farmer Larry swore he wasn’t eating it.

The grand kids  sandbox was full of big lumps all of a sudden.  Stinky clumps.

And.  There were no more barn mice.  None.

The cows were all spooked.  And every time  Mabel went out to milk them…. they were dry as a bone.

Yep.

Something wasn’t right around the farm….  and they all knew it.

And they were scared.  But Mabel continued to buy tuna anyway.

“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.” – Earl Wilson

Feb 24

Monkey Me

Monkey Me

Well.  When someone says to you….”You don’t say.”  What is it they really mean?  Really. Is it some sort of awkward acknowledgement of something or other?

Yes. I think that is EXACTLY the case.

For instance.  A lot of someones have recently asked me… “Hmmmm.  Kronenberger.  Now that’s an unusual name.  Are you related to “Such&Such” Kronenberger?”

Then I say…. “Yep.  Cousins.”

Then they say…. “Oh.  You don’t say.”

Well yes. You just asked… and I DID just say.  Now I can not help who I am related to.  I was BORN that way.  But I certainly won’t deny or feign otherwise.  We are all supposed to love each other anyhow.  Yes?

Because….. when you come to think of it.  Aren’t we ALL related?

Now.  I know the Evolutionists think we evolved from monkeys…. and that the earth is more than 5,000 years old.

BUT… there are definitely other schools of thought on this.

Let’s see. Now I am NOT a Bible Aficionado.  Yet I think I have this part right.   Adam and Eve were the first two people created.  God made man… and woman from his rib.  Or kneecap… or something.   Then God put Adam and Eve in the garden and said… “Get busy you two.”   And they did.

And all of mankind has come from those beginnings… from Adam and Eve.  Dad & Mom.  Papa & Mama.  Adam and Eve…. ribs and all.  You, me, and everyone else under the sun.  Brothers and Sisters, all are we.

That good book tells us to love our brother too.

It is great advice really.  Super-great advice to love one another.

So how can there be hate against others?  This part I don’t understand.  How can people hate Jews, or Homosexuals, or Blacks, or Islamic People, or Lawyers? Or… or….?  WE are ALL brothers and sisters.

How?  Heck.  Some people even hate monkeys.

I think I will never understand this part.  Not ever.

With Love,  Polly

And yep.  I did say.  Kronenberger.

Feb 23

Knot for me…

Ropey

 

Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope?

It seems to be a fairly well known phrase.  I believe it is one which is highly used.  At least, I have heard many people say it during my lifetime.

At the store.  The lady looking for French Cut Green Beans.  The store is sold out, again.  “I swear…. this store has been out of french cut green beans for two weeks.  I am at the end of my rope with these people.”

At the playground.  The frustrated mother.  “Ooooooh.  I am at the end of my rope with these kids.”

At the gas station.  A man with the pump, in hand.  “Barney, I swear.  I am at the end of my rope with these gas prices.”

Oh.  You know the drill.

But I never hear folks say…. “Today, I’ll be danged.  I feel like I’m at the beginning of my rope.”

Or how about at lunch time.  A voice from the adjoining cubicle never calls out…  “Uh-oh.  I think I am about half way through the length of my rope.”

Never.

Never ever.

It seems like people always wait to say something when they are at the very most end of their rope.  It pours out when they have reached their limit of patience or endurance for something.

Most of the time… the situation is not good.   Arduous.  Unpleasant.

One feels defeated or exasperated. Thwarted.

Thwart.  Thwart.  Thwart.

Well.  Tomorrow morning I am going to give something a try.   I might just wake up, and tell the world,  I feel like I’m at the beginning of my rope.

Yep.  Just to see what happens.

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Thomas Jefferson

Feb 22

Polly & Clyde.

on the lam

Oh.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that today marks the anniversary of Woolworth’s.  Yes… on February 22, 1879, Frank Winfield Woolworth opened a five-cent store in Utica, N.Y.

Frank Woolworth attended a business college for two terms in NY.  He got all smartened up while he was there. Then….in 1873 he worked as a stock boy in a general store. A smart and business-wise stock boy.  It was there that he got the idea for a 5 cent store. That old general store had a table with items for just 5 cents that always sold what was on it.

He borrowed $300 and opened a five-cent store in Utica, NY, on February 22, 1879, as I mentioned earlier. But that dang store failed within weeks.  He was not dissuaded.  If at first you don’t succeed… try, try, again.  So.  His second store was in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and it opened in April 1879. He expanded the concept to include merchandise priced at ten cents.

That old Frank was really thinking outside the box.  And it worked.  The guy got stinking rich.

I used to love to go to Woolworth’s.  They had a lunch counter.  The food was SO good there.  Cheeseburgers.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  Cherry Cokes.  What a treat.

But Woolworth’s holds a dark and sordid secret of mine.  It was where my life of crime started.  And ended.  Yes.  It was back in 1972 or so.  My best friend… whom I will call Joanie…  convinced me that we shoplifting was fun and adventurous.  Heck… her older sister Becky did it all the time.  So off we went.  We rode our bikes over to the Woolworth store by Liberal’s Grocery Store.  We parked out front.

Joanie gave me very clear instructions.  “Go in.  Act like you are looking around.  Pick up something, and stick in down the front of your pants… or tuck it down in to your sock.  Make sure no one is looking.  No one.  Then leave the store, get on your bike and ride like hell to the alley behind our street.”

Got it.  Simple enough.  I’m good to go.

And in we went.

Now I was pretty slick.  I looked at the goldfish. Then the hamsters.  I checked the price on the hand towels.  And even strolled past the lunch counter.   Then, I made my way down the toy aisle.

Here is where I made my first big mistake.  The stolen item selection.  I had given it no thought really.  I mean… what did I want to take.  Hmmmm.  What about a pink rubber ball.  I loved those things.  So I grabbed it from the shelf.  It was slightly larger than a baseball.  I stuffed down into my right sock.  I think that’s what Joanie told me to do.  Oh no! Was anyone watching?  I forgot to look around.  Okay…. this thing is in my sock.  Just get out of the store.

Now first… let me tell you.  This was the dead of summer.  It was hot outside.  I had on shorts.  With knee high tube socks.  And now….I was in a full sprint out of the Woolworth’s store….  with a large round object protruding from my tube sock.

I flung open the front doors and out I went.  There was my bike.  No Joanie.  Her bike was long gone.  Now I am on my tenth mistake by this point.  I had locked my bike to the front pole.  I didn’t want anyone to steal the thing…. for crying out loud.  The world was FULL of crooks.

As I fumbled with the lock, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  The store manager had a firm grip on my clavicle.  As I did my best not to pee my pants right then and there…. I swore off a life of crime…. Crossed my heart and hoped to die…….. …. If only Mr. Woolworth-Guy would let me go.  As I recall, he looked a little bit like Frankenstein.  But old Frankenstein Woolworth-Guy did let me go.  No jail term.  He said I was lucky this time.  Do not to come back to his store. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I didn’t do any more shoplifting from that point on.  The fact of it is, I am a terrible criminal.    Crooks, thieves and robbers have to be able to see the whole enchilada.  The big scenario.  All the details.  They really have to think things through to be successful. Like clockwork.

I’m not wired that way.  I run into walls, and get sidetracked.  I bumble.  I stumble.  I lock up my dang getaway bicycle, for crying out loud.  And I’m too nervous… and too worried about even appearing guilty.

Like… when people say… “Do you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot?”  I get all worried.  I don’t really have any kind of an alibi.

Nope.  It is the straight and narrow for me.  Well… definitely not straight… but most certainly, narrow.  Okay.  Not really narrow either.    But.  Not criminal.

Honest.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Feb 21

The middle.

02-21-2013-dogs

And then suddenly, without warning or indication, I found myself in the very middle of it.  Yes, swiftly and abruptly, with no hint or heed, the horrendous noise filled the room.   The world shook and trembled.   It was if the bowels of the earth had suddenly opened, and the desperate howls of the darkest demons were escaping.

But.  All of this shameful and tumultuous melee seemed to be coming from our two dogs.  Our little 20 pound dogs.

Now I have learned that when two dogs fight, it is best not to put a bare hand in the midst of their mouths.  I have watched other poor saps suffer that way.  No.  Our two Terriers were in the midst of World War III.  I knew better than that.

I am a old soccer player of long ago.  A defensive back.  So I know how to move a soccer ball from the grasp of a striker.  This is the tactic I would employ tonight.  I maneuvered my way in….. AND…. all the while…. Mary is yelling  “Polly! Polly!”  Now this wasn’t the chanting, cheering “Polly! Polly!” that used to swell in the soccer stands.  No.

This was more like a voice of discouraged bargaining. So again… in I went… a little dribble there… a side block there…. and then….

And then it happened.  I finally joined the ranks of 4.7 million other Americans.  I was bit by a dog.  Our dog. My dog.

Which one … I will never, ever, know.  I can only be sure of one thing.  It WAS NOT Francis, the Saint.

All of this…   tonight.  When I arrived home this evening, I had simply hoped for a quiet evening.  In fact, on my drive back to Preble County, I had PLANNED on a nice and restful dusk after such an arduous day.  A steaming shower perhaps.  Or a nice quiet meal… or maybe a cup of hot tea.  Anything… to take the weariness of this day from my shoulders.

Yet the universe had slightly different plans… in this part at least.

Ahhh.  But truth be told.  I loved life on this day.  It may not have been the day that I pictured… or even had planned out… so nicely in my head.  Not at all.  Yet I still love this day.  I had the good and generous fortune of being with people….. …. and dogs…. who I love very dearly.

Though I have sustained a bite or two along the way…. I do not mind.  Not one bit.

It reminds me that there is no certainty, or absolutes.  And for this reason, I have every reason, to be glad about the now.

I’m also glad for the thick denim found in Levi Jeans.

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
– Maria Von Trapp, The Sound of Music

I believe that love and laughter can only happen when one person takes the time to think about what would cause the other person to feel good. – Yakov Smirnoff

Feb 20

Sing it bird.

Sing it bird.

I know why the caged bird sings.

Wellllll ….. as things would have it…. I do not know why the caged bird sings.  Not for sure.

The line from this poem, by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, has been present in my mind all day.  Prominently on my mind.  The line comes in the third stanza of the poem “Sympathy”

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings.

So much to think about there, really.  And believe me, I have been thinking long and hard on this.

I am not sure all caged birds sing.  Do they?  If not, why do some sing and others do not?

And those that are singing….. are they really praying from the core of their heart to be free?

Yes.  I know this is a metaphoric reference.  This poem.  About us.  People.  People who have lost their freedoms.

From time to time, I think we all lose our freedoms.  Perhaps we lose our independence or our exemption, or our immunity to something, somewhere.  There are occasions where we have to use restraint and we wish we didn’t have to.  Filters.  Restrictions.

Some of us have more cages than others.  Or cages with stronger bars.

Yet.  Yet.  Some people manage to sing no matter what.  They manage to shine.  They figure out a way to spread their wings, and fly a lap or two inside the cage.  It is not that they are resigned to their situation, I don’t think.  I think they sing because they are in the moment.  And singing seems like the right thing to do.  It beats stagnation, misery, and despondency.

If a bird can manage such things.

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” – Thucydides

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. – Maya Angelou

Feb 19

It’s who you know.

The Street

People will surprise you.  I think this is a fact of life.

I hope….. at long last….  I am learning not to judge people  without any real basis for those judgments.  You know.   At this stage in the game,  I am trying very hard not to slap people with labels.  I am no longer so quick to make judgements by exterior appearances either.

Here is a good for instance.

I know of this man.  He is not especially nice looking at all.  In fact.  He is just a little on the homely side.  He is of Polish descent.  To the point…. he was BORN in Poland.  (Oh, and who hasn’t told a Polish joke in life?)  He is also a bit of an math geek.   At any rate, this gentleman has never married or had kids of his own.  Gay.  (Of course that  part doesn’t bother me one bit.)

But he is such a good guy.  Very smart.  Very kind.  After his sister died, he took in her five children and raised them like his own.

Most people would have turned up a nose at crafting a friendship with such a guy… based on his foreign birth, or his outward appearance, or his homosexuality…. or whatever.  Perhaps because he wears funny hats… and HE DOES wear funny hats.

But I’ll tell you this much.  Once you get to know this guy, he is pretty dang amazing.

As it turns out this guy is Copernicus.  Yes.  Nicolaus Copernicus.  (19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) He was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a comprehensive heliocentric model of the universe, which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center.

The dude who put the Sun at the center of the Universe… after so many misconceptions.  Shoot.  It was  even written in the Bible that the Earth was in the center of all things.  Old Nick took some heat for that kind of ‘crazy talk’ too.

But there he was.  Genius.  Smart, smart, smart… and very kind.

So today….  as I walk down the street, I need to keep the idea of Copernicus, and so many others… in my mind.

They might be holding a secret of the universe… just waiting to be unveiled.  If only we give them a chance.

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” -Copernicus

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe