Saturday, August 26

Snake, Rattle and Soul

Having your first taste of rattlesnake isn't the hard part. In fact, it tastes pretty good. Something like jerkied chicken, with any type of spicy sauce or additive you'd want to flavor it with.

Roy's son had almost run over it, and went back to the same area later, found it and killed it. 3' 11 1/2", and spread to the edges of a 1x6 board for mounting, I'm told. Didn't really see it firsthand except in the cooked mode. A plastic bag full of it. You have to pull the meat away from the gristly whatsit first. Even so, you still get to spit a bit of gristle out here and there. Kinda like cheap hamburger in that respect.

The worse part of eating this ugly stick is its biblical reputation. Originally possessed by Satan himself. Cursed by God. Scarey stuff.

The taste test will not be repeated.

Not restricted to the form of a serpent, St. Peter says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." I Peter 5:8

Tuesday, August 22

Absolute Property and Degraded Sensualism

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."
-Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages
248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

Yes, We Have No Lantana

We went to a birthday party Saturday -- next door -- the house with the $20,000 pool and the $10000 in landscaping and $5000 in patio additions. It makes my backyard look like a barnyard.

When it comes down to it, it's all about money. Impressing everyone and keeping up with the Jones' is about hard cash and the time it takes to do all the do-it-yourself projects to make you think you're saving big bucks.

I'm neither complaining nor drooling. The Oak Park days these ain't.

Saturday, August 12

That Third Path

After working the same company year after year, things tend to take one of two paths. They either get gradually worse, or they miraculously improve. Oh, yes, there's that third path --- some things improve while others start stinking.

My lot has fallen to the third scenario. Suffice it to say that personal relationships have never been better while corporate kinship has never been worse. Sorry, but no details, no verbal public complaints, especially when others are out of work or aren't compensated as much as I am. Besides, someone from the Big Office might read this.

It's just that these last few years have left a bitter taste in my mouth. Diet Pepsi helps.

Thursday, August 10

Shutter Speed

The miracle of eyesight (God created it) is awesome and awe-ful. When a still camera "stares" at something for more than an instant with a long shutter speed, the view is extremely blurry, like this picture. Thankfully, our eyes are wired to a continuously clicking brain that always gives us a 'still life' video view of the world, unless we move our heads a little too quickly.

I have to take identification badge portraits at work tomorrow. We're one of the last facilities in our company to do this, I think. When you're small and out in the back woods of California, we're pretty much the last to do everything. There will be a lot of kicking and screaming, especially from the older guys who will have to take their hats off and girls who will forget to put make-up on. These will be extreme close-ups. No hiding the creases here. That bald head will just have to be in the picture. I can hear it now.

You know, you'll never look any younger than you do today, so enjoy that youthful look while you can.

Sunday, August 6

Marlboro Men

In my more than 20 years of jogging and walking the city streets for exercise, I've noticed some of the more evident 'pattern' behavior of the common man. For one, if he owns a nice house, he takes care of his lawn and garden, he doesn't park dead cars in front of his house, and his man-eating dog is in the backyard. If the man makes little money, has to rent and or can't afford a gardener, the opposite is true. His house is in various stages of entropy and yardwork is abandoned. I know there are exceptions to this rule, of course.

Another common man behavior is his willingness to trash the public thoroughfares. To him (or her), streets are nice, wide garbage cans. Maybe he doesn't mind when his taxes are raised to cover the cost of streetsweepers. So, litter is commonplace in one of the most common of places, the roads of our towns.

And to more sharply focus on this phenomenon, I've discovered that of all the cigarette packs tossed from car windows, the crush-proof Marlboro brand outnumbers the others by about 9 to 1. Now, why do you suppose this is the case? Do most people smoke this brand in its crush-proof box? Hardly. Is it a brand problem? Do most of those buying this particular brand try to maintain an image that militates against cleanliness, orderliness and common sense? Maybe it's the box itself. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe they just don't want to CRUSH it. Let a car run over it or someone walk on it, but never let them see you crush it. Or maybe it IS to crush it. Let your friends see how macho you are. You crush beer cans. Why not display even greater strength by showing that hardpack who's boss and then give it that ultimate sense of humiliation --- throw it out the window. What power!

I don't know that I have an answer. Do you?