Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, and Life is a Limited Time Offer

dead kid on horse

I’m not sure which one(s) is (are) dead in the pic, but I’m pretty sure they all are by now.

It’s Ash Wednesday again- a day to reflect on personal mortality and the myriad imperfections of humanity, so here I am trotting out the postmortem pics collection.  As macabre as it is, I know I’m not the only one who is fascinated with Victorian era postmortem photography.  As for the kid in the above pic, he looks like he’s seen a ghost.  Mom and Dad look pretty much comatose, which is why I can’t tell for sure who’s dead and who’s not.  I’m pretty sure I would have the same expression on my face as the kid if I were required to sit that close to dead people, so that’s another reason why I wonder if the kid, the parents, just one or the other parent, or all three were dead when this pic was taken.   The reality is, now anyway, that they are all dead, unless the kid is 120 or something. Physical death is a 100% probability- it’s going to happen- and it’s just a question of when. 

I could even get into a little Southern Baptist soteriology (even though it’s a bit odd because SB’s don’t observe Ash Wednesday) right about now too.  Turn or burn, baby.  You are gonna be worm food, so now’s your time to Get Right with the Lawd-uh!

televangelist

Somehow seeking salvation from a dog and pony show like this seems about as effective as taking driving lessons from Ted Kennedy.

I do like her wig though.  If only it were black.

I have had a rather cynical relationship with organized religion through the years.  When I decided to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which many self-proclaimed Catholics have not) I learned that if I am to be intellectually honest with myself and with God there is no way I can claim to be Roman Catholic.   There is some Weird Stuff in there.  I almost joined an SB church because their theology tends to be very black and white.  Saved/not saved, sin/not sin, and so on.  You can know if you’re IN or OUT.  I love the Baptist emphasis on Bible study too- but- for me the big problem with Baptists in general is that they tend to put too much on human free will- such as we “choose” to believe.  I’m here to say that I firmly believe it’s God doing the choosing, and I don’t claim to understand that.

I discovered confessional Lutheranism when I was in college, and of all the interpretations and expressions of Christianity, to me it makes the most sense.  Lutheranism- in its classic sense, is not perfect, but it allows for the grey areas, and allows for intellectual honesty and questions.  There is space for the mystery that is God.  There is understanding for my lack of ability to comprehend.

dead kid with angels

I have a hard time understanding why you would take pics of a dead kid surrounded by paper angels, but it was a different time.

I wish I could believe spiritual things as black and white (and there are some things that are) but I find myself asking way too many questions- questions where I simply have to accept the mystery and be okay that the answer is either something I don’t know or can’t understand.

I’m glad that I’m not the one who makes the vast decisions of the cosmos.  I’m doing good to decide what to wear or what to eat, and grateful to have both clothes and food.

Saints in stained-glass

I’m pretty sure no one is going to want to memorialize me in stained glass.

I have more questions than answers and more failures than successes, but I have to believe there is some reason why I am sucking up valuable oxygen for the time being, whether I get it or not.

(Jesus said:) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;  but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NRSV)

Today’s questions would be, “Where is my treasure?  Where is my heart?”

I really have to think about both of those questions today.

Prayers for the Pragmatic, Endless Winter, and Axioms of the Streetwise

drug-our-kids2

I have a few new words of wisdom for my adult son (the Precious Only Male Child.)  I thought they were so good, I just had to share.

The path to perdition is paved by the prick.  So stop thinking with yours and start using the big head up top.

Good places to meet intelligent women:  Church. The Library. The “Y.”

Bad places to meet women: Bars that play country music. Any establishment where the center of attraction is a vertical pole, and patrons are encouraged to deposit dollar bills in G-strings.  Any establishment that plays The Village People, the clientele is all male, and they’re all wearing leather.

Steve-o knows better than to join the sausage fest, and I don’t see him as the featured dance partner at the Blue Oyster, so he doesn’t really need a warning about the guys in the tight leather pants and stiletto heels.  He does need a warning regarding avoiding women of loose morals and open legs as it were.  It’s lovely that your girlfriend (or tonight’s bed partner) is willing to show you a good time.  It’s not so lovely that she’s probably been providing the same services for every other male under the age of 25- in a three county area.

Digital image

If this van’s a rockin’, someone’s sharing an STD or two…

I still remember the movie we got to see in health class back in 1982.  It was called “VD is Nothing to Clap About.” It was narrated by of all people- Dick Cavett.  It included some most unforgettable cartoons of cartoon hippies giving some cartoon VW Transporter suspensions a real workout.  It was the summer of love indeed- or at least the film offered the imagination some gratuitous behind-the-Transporter-door cartoon sex.  Even though this film was mandatory in health class, it was blow-snot-out-your  nose hilarious.  I still remember the cautions given about sleeping around and getting the clap, or syphilis, or crabs.  I’d really, really like to know if anyone has uploaded a copy of that film. I would love, love, love to have the link to it should anyone have thought to preserve such a meaningful piece of 1960’s ephemera.

Apparently the clap, syphilis and crabs were the only STDs that were known to science in 1968, which is when that most comprehensive educational film was produced.  Today’s STDs are a lot more deadly and usually a lot more permanent than just a case of the crabs or even a dose of the clap, but hey, it was 1968- when the air was dirty but sex was (relatively) clean.   Today’s dating scene provides a wide and varied STD smorgasbord.  Your stripper ho was great for a night, but herpes is forever.

rooster

Even Dad had to weigh in on Steve-o’s last skank du jour.  I was surprised to get such a pithy insight from Dad, as he is usually very conservative when discussing potentially off-color subject material, but he is becoming a bit more brash in his older age.  He speaks the truth though:

You know what a skank and a rooster have in common?

A rooster says “cock-a-doodle-doo.”  The common street skank says, “Any cock will do.”

Ewww.

snow

I don’t think this winter will ever end.

I think we finally have started a path toward the Central Ohio season of Snowbooger Grey.  At least on my car.

I can’t recall a winter here that seems to linger on so long, or that has been quite as cold..  The snow started in November and hasn’t really gone away for more than a few days or so since.  That’s unusual for this area.  It’s usually just overcast, moderately cold (but not below freezing) and raining this time of year, until about the end of May.

Al Gore can bite me sideways with the man-made global warming tripe.  The weather cycle has turned back to “mostly cold.”  In 20 years it will turn back to “mostly hot.”  Whoop de doo.  We humans are pretty damned arrogant- and just plain silly- if we think a little bit of car exhaust and a few cow farts are going to turn the tundra into a tropical paradise.

Dear Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.

While You’re at it, take away Obama’s phone and pen and put him in a rubber room for the duration.

prayer

All joking aside- sometimes that’s all that keeps me from strangling the daylights out of those who richly deserve it.

I know I shouldn’t be such a wisenheimer on Ash Wednesday, when I’m supposed to be contemplating my own mortality.  I have thought of a few things that Steve-o might want to share after I commence to take the Dirt Nap at my funeral before he has me taxidermied and turned into a coffee table.

Don’t look at it as if I’m dead.  I’ve just been returned to the Master Craftsman for extensive cleaning and repair.

If you present my stiff carcass in an itchy pink nightie and bad makeup for viewing in an open casket so Mom’s friends can file by and exclaim, “She looks soooo gooood!”  I will haunt you forever.

Pop Tarts, Mountain Dew and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos do not comprise a balanced diet.

Techno music is appropriate for porn movie sound tracks.  If you want to listen to some good music, download the collection on my SD card in my phone to your computer.

Picking On the Emotionally Impaired, and I Wanna Be Sedated

no-stupid-people11

But how do you keep them out?  They’re like zombies- and they’re multiplying.

Every once in awhile I like the Ramones, even though their songs are to music as junk food is to real food- trite, and full of empty calories, but oddly satisfying while they are being consumed.  I don’t think I could sit through hours and hours of “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Sedated,” but I like to just zone out and not have to think too much every now and then.  The Ramones are good for that.

My penchant for rock, metal and the occasional grunge or punk fix would make my voice teachers cringe, but the line between classical music and orchestral metal is a very fine one.  Even though I’ve not played bass or fronted a metal band in 20 years, I still find the musician in me analyzing what I’m listening to.  I still have an appreciation for what is technically good and what is more or less musical junk food, for whatever that’s worth.  I hate to say it, but that’s probably why most of my MP3 collection dates back to 1985 and earlier.

your music sucks

There is some good new music out there today, but it’s not mainstream.  You have to know where to look. The unholy crud that is currently polluting the airwaves and the TV screens generally does suck.  It sucks like sucking has never sucked before.  We have fantastic, amazing, digital technology but we’re recording and distributing total crap on it.  We traded Steve Perry for Katy Perry (really sucky trade there) and I don’t understand why.  I mean in 1981 we had Steve Perry as the greatest singer ever and Ronald Reagan as president.  Today we have Katy Perry and Obama.  Go figure.  The evidence for devolution is right before our eyes (and ears.) Blecch.

I’m just thankful that through the gift of technology I can bring the past up to date in some ways.  I can get good music on MP3s and save good songs to my SD card so I can spare myself from the pollution of the airwaves.

passenger car

When Jerry and I went on the train ride last week it was cold.  The train was delayed because they had oversold and had to add cars to the train.  A fat old lady took Jerry’s seat while he decided to go out and smoke because we had to wait, even when I told him that it was crowded, therefore, the “move your feet lose your seat” rule would come into play, so we had to find different seats to sit together.  Even so, it was a good time and very interesting.  The train car we rode in until the first stop was built in 1927, the second car we rode on for the rest of the trip was built in the mid 1950s and had two levels.  We sat up top in the second car for a better view.

AnimeGirl

On the first car we sat behind a Japanese family.  Mom and Dad were facing Jerry and I, while their teenage son and preteen daughter were sitting across from their parents. I could see over the boy’s shoulder that he was more interested in his i-phone and his animé cartoons that would be porn if they weren’t cartoons.  My question is, since animé is just cartoons, is it really porn or is it just a porn substitute?  His mother probably still would have been mortified if she had seen what I was getting an eyeful of, but either she didn’t know or didn’t care about what Junior was watching.

I remember Steve-o’s brief infatuation with animé “sort-of-porn” at the same age.  I knew full well what he was gawking at online, but I figured if I made a big scene over it like my mother did over anything even remotely risqué that it would become an obsession for him.  She was more wigged out about finding rubbers in his personal effects than about finding cigarettes, which struck me odd.   Sex can potentially kill you, but wearing a rubber can help prevent STDs, so he’s mitigating that risk.  Cigarettes are in no way safe.  I was more upset about the smokes.  But Mom’s Catholic, and as far as I know for Catholics, smoking is not considered a sin- you can be a priest and smoke- but sex (unless one is married and having sex for procreational reasons only) is a mortal sin.  Doesn’t that suck?

questionable morals

I’m no paragon of moral virtue, so I have absolutely no room to talk.

Yer Gonna Die!!, Cold, Dead Fingers, and the COMA Speech

ash+wednesdayAshes to ashes, dust to dust, if you’ve been born, then die you must! And if you are a conservative, Obama will be happy to help hurry it along!

I know many American Christians don’t get the whole Ash Wednesday or Lent thing, unless of course they’re Catholic or come from a liturgical tradition (Episcopals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, some Methodists, and the Orthodox observe Lent to some degree.)

A simple explanation of Ash Wednesday is it’s a day to remember our mortality.  Yer Gonna Die!!!- get used to it- is the message.  Sooner or later everyone’s going to end up worm food.  It’s just as guaranteed as Obama making an idiot of himself in the State of the Union address by addressing gun control (something about 70% of Americans fervently oppose) and not saying anything of relevance or substance on the economy or anything else that people who pay taxes actually care about.  Unless of course, it’s about how he wants to raise taxes to pay for more drivel that the taxpayers are already sick as hell of being forced to pay for to begin with.

wormsWormy wormy wormy worms, dancing in and out of my eye sockets, feasting on my liver, yum!

I don’t remember where I saw it or I’d give due credit, but I heard someone refer to Obama’s sickening speech last night as the COMA speech- the Condition of My Agenda.  Unfortunately his agenda- Marxism- is alive and well, no thanks to those in Congress who have no spine and who will not stand up to illegitimate tyrants.  If Congress had a pair, Obama would have been impeached and removed in 2009 for not proving his citizenship, which he still has not done in a satisfactory manner. His wanna-be highness has absolutely no clue as to the “state of the union” – hint #1- it sucks, and hint #2- he has positively no idea what’s going on in the real world.   The main problem is Obama doesn’t care about anything unless it interferes with his vacations and his hob-nobbing with the smarmy likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé.  Far be it from His (un-)Holiness (I guess since the Pope’s retiring, Obama will just start using that title too) to actually give a fart in a high wind about all those “rednecks who cling to their religion and guns.”  He’s more worried about whether or not non-citizens have the “right” to go to the early voting center to vote multiple times- as long as they are voting early and often for Democrats, of course.

vote-early-vote-often-e1316528117270If the election of 2012 was fair and legitimate, I’ll be the first native born American to become the Queen of England.

I’m surprised Ted Nugent wasn’t more incensed by what he heard, as he was in attendance while the Thief in Chief spouted his lies, but I have a feeling Ted is treading lightly. I don’t think Ted could have been shocked at the lack of substance in that speech as it was typical Obama hearts and flowers and faux do gooder tripe with lots of taxpayer-funded “giveaways” and warm fuzzies for Democrats and their lackeys.  That’s the only spiel Obama can do.  However, I agree with Uncle Ted on one thing- the infringement upon Second Amendment rights is not something that the majority of Americans is just going to look the other way at. There are people in this country from whom their guns will have to be pried from their cold, dead fingers, and there are more of those kinds of people than B.O. and his minions can dream to imagine.

If it sounds like I’m angry, I am angry.  I know there isn’t much I can do to change the situation, but silence implies consent.  I do NOT approve and I did NOT concede.   Millions of Americans do NOT approve of this illegitimate squatter in our White House, or of what he’s doing to this country.

Yesterday I was reminded of one of the two absolutes in this world: Taxes, and the Marxists who want to steal from me to give to the chronic welfare class as well as to union lackeys and Obama’s corporate pets.

notsoonenoughLet’s see: identity fraud, voter fraud, the Benghazi scandal, bypassing Congress with frivolous executive orders-

Congress, What the HELL is this guy still doing squatting in OUR White House?

Today I am reminded of the other absolute in this world: Death, and it almost makes me thankful that in the grand scheme of things, my time is short.

obamafailBecause we all know how splendidly Marxism worked in the USSR!

Victorian Death and Post-Mortem Photography, and Reworking the Wiring

I don’t know why, but I find post-mortem photography intriguing.  I know such a curiosity can be considered somewhat macabre- taking pictures of dead people is rather morbid and viewing them is even more so, but there is so much written in those pictures that is unsaid. 

Babies and children seem to be so over-represented in post-mortem pics, but the sad fact is that young children and infants routinely died of diseases that we either vaccinate against or that can be treated with antibiotics.  I’ve seen so many pics of bewildered looking mothers holding their dead babies for that final portrait.  It’s haunting even when one considers the high infant mortality rate of the time.  I’m sure the fact that it was a major accomplishment to get a child to live until his or her fifth birthday in those times did not make it any easier when infants died.

Today it is not as common to take pictures of dead people.  I took pics at Grandma’s funeral pretty much at Mom’s insistence (I will not post them) and more or less to remind myself why I do not want either the bad pink nightie treatment or an open casket funeral. Cremate my happy ass and put up a picture taken when I was still alive.  If anyone shows up, let them speculate on how nasty I looked at the hour of death or whether or not I looked better dead than alive.  Grandma, in spite of the funeral director’s art, did not “look good.”  Very few people do look good when they are laid out in a coffin getting ready to be sent off for the Big Sleep.  She died of either pancreatic cancer, liver failure, or congestive heart failure, or more likely, a combination of the effects of all three (she was 93, after all) and it was all the mortician could do to tone down the sick bright yellow glow of her skin.  They did a better job with Grandma than the funeral home who dolled up poor Aunt Ellen (I will never forget the Day-Glo orange lipstick,) but the restorative arts can only do so much.

I had to wonder about post-mortems where the dead dude (or chick) is standing.  The Victorians had a way around that too:

Sort of like a guitar stand for the dead.  This explains Keith Richards.  Screw the guitar, how about a stand to keep the guitarist vertical? Especially since he must be about 90 years old, and has probably been dead since 1980.

Now I know I am overworked and sleep deprived, but I like it like that.  I know better in a way, but today is the first day in a very long time that I actually came to work and wasn’t completely buried in more stuff than I can possibly get done.  Tomorrow will be different.  I should have asked to go home this PM since I really don’t have much to do, but the minute I do that, a.) I set a bad precedent for others, and b.) some sort of crisis will materialize that will turn into a full-blown cluster f— tomorrow.  Murphy’s Law is alive and well.

In all seriousness, I really do need to get a bit more balanced.  I have a really bad tendency to get focused on one thing and then I don’t really bother with anything else.  I’ve done that with overwork before and it wasn’t very good for my health.  Lately I’ve been living on Monsters and Subway and heavy metal which couldn’t be terribly good for a young kid, let alone a distressed old fossil such as me.  On the bright side, I am enjoying Metallica and Billy Squier and Queensryche and Led Zeppelin, so it can’t be all bad.

I’d like to get that EVO phone that Steve-o has been raving about that not only is Android-based, but has a camera in the front so you can have phone conversations and actually see who you’re talking to.  For the life of me I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would want to look at me on a phone screen, but to each his own.  I do want to be able to see my grandchild, which I think is the reason behind this logic.

The creepiest post-mortems are those where either the eyes are still open or the photographer paints them on later.  It’s pretty clear she’s dead, so what’s up with the open eyes and blank stare?

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but this year I really haven’t had time to do anything fun.  I haven’t really had time to do anything fun all summer either, and now that winter is pretty much here I have to wonder where the time has gone.  I did get some time in the cougar pool and a couple of good road trips, so I should be satisfied with that.  However, I don’t see myself getting all hyped up for Christmas and all that as much as I would like to enjoy the season this year. 

I need to slow down, take a moment to simply be, and to repair the wiring, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

Too bad I had to take down the cougar pool.