Wearing Your Sin

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. We are watching the skies anxiously to see if Channel 11’s predictions of tornadoes, floods and apocalypse in general are correct. Honestly, I’d be happy with winds that were high enough to knock all of the pollen out of the trees, but not high enough to knock a trailer over. Having sufficient rain to come behind the winds would be a Godsend. Let’s wash all of this asthma inducing pollen down the drains as soon as we can.

While I like to rant about things out of my control, like the pollen, I also feel entitled to rant about other things as well. One of the things that should be in everyone’s control is parenthood. Whether or not to have a child should totally be up to the parents. I guess in a perfect world we would want two happy well adjusted people who really loved children and would do right by them to be parents. Failing that, at least one of the parents should meet that criteria. In my mind, you have to have the mother’s total 100 percent buy in, or it’s a nonstarter. I don’t think I’m being sexist, or old school, I think I’m being pragmatic. If the mother can’t commit to 100 percent love and devotion to a child, she should have an out. No, I’m not talking about adoption or orphanages. The horror of state run orphanages and places like the Sisters of Magdalene are well documented. The potential mother should have a choice about when to exercise her lifetime commitment to raising a child, if ever.

Obviously what got me started thinking about this again is The Donald popping off about punishing the mother for having an abortion. How mean, how hateful, how unChristian, how unconservative. Unconservative , you say? Yes, because, while the Repubs have created their “Big Tent” by drawing in every hateful nut job in America from bigots to misogynists under the label of “conservative values”, fiscal conservativeness has not come in to play. How so, you ask? As far back as 1972, the Rockefeller Commission determined that a liberalized abortion policy superseded a reduction in crime eighteen years in the future. The statistics were further confirmed in a study done by Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago and John Donohue of Yale University in 2001. Their study concludes that the states with a high abortion rate have also experienced the greater reduction in crime. You can’t argue the facts, unless you’re a Republican political candidate.

How can the Republicans, “true conservatives”, ignore the study commissioned by one of their own? The study conclusively points out that unwanted children become society’s burden in the future. It would seem that true conservatives should be in favor of molding a society where the “unwanted” children would not be disrupting classrooms, creating crimes of varying degrees of sophistication and violence before finally being moved into the prison system. The average cost to house a criminal in prison is $32,000 a year. It would seem that true conservatives would prefer these children to be taxpayers, not taxtakers.

The only rationale that I can come up with the Republicans disconnect from a demonstrable conservative issue is the “holier than thou” elements they’ve attracted over the years. These folks would like for us to turn back the clock to the “Scarlet Letter” days. Rather than a letter sown onto their dress to signify their sin of fornication, the “modern” Christians would prefer the woman have a child to carry as a constant reminder of her sin. I think all of the concern about “fetal pain” and the “beginning of life” are just red herrings designed to draw us away from their true motivation. These people want the woman to pay for her sin, and they are not content to wait for Judgement Day. They want her to pay now, and in the hereafter. They want her to wear her sin.

I’ll finish this one up by saying I’m for free, on demand birth control, whatever shape it takes. There should be a Planned Parenthood office every hundred feet if necessary to keep unwanted children born. Bob Barker used to end each show by reminding everyone to have their pet spayed or neutered. Are we more concerned about unwanted pets than we are children? God, I hope not.



BudLiteGood morning, y’all. I know if it ain’t one thing, it’s another, but, this pollen count has gone off the charts. Seriously, I think today was the highest measured pollen count of all time, and we’re known for pollen. I think the count was 4107 or something like that. That’s the pollen in the air. The pollen on the ground is so deep that the squirrels and chipmunks are setting up a ski slope in my front yard. Size being relative and all, it looks like they’ve got about two feet of pure powder. Of course it’s green, but I’m not sure they notice.

Needless to say the high pollen count has trapped me indoors. Even inside, I sound like the little engine that could. Huffing and puffing under even the smallest task. Based off of my concern for my health, I took a sanity day today. Not that you’re ever off in this job, it’s just that you can pick a task that limits your movements and contact with others. I decided today would be a good day to sort my assorted music collection. I’ve got cassettes, cds and vinyl albums. Sadly the 45s have gone by the wayside. It would be really cool to fire up the Surfaris playing “Wipe Out” over the loud speaker here at the Rec room. I bet most of the residents would groove for a few minutes just like they used to  “in the day”. Some things never die.

Anyway, I was sorting through the cds and found a copy of U2’s “War” that was out of place. I figured as long as it was out of place anyway, why not give it a spin? Boy, talk about your time capsules. From the cover I can see that it was released in 1983, but it seems much newer. The big hits were “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day”, but I’ve always like “Two Hearts Beat As One” just as well. It’s just amazing that these songs hold up as well as they do. Particularly in an era that I refer to as a musical wasteland. To my mind, the only groups that came out of the ’80’s were U2 and REM. I see other bands on assorted “top ten lists”, like Queen, but they started in the ’70’s. I also don’t count bands that had a hit in 80’s and were never heard from again. I’m talking about bands that stand the test of time and continue to perform. U2 has them all beat in that regard.

The fact that U2 has been able to get a very political message across while maintaining a high degree of popularity speaks highly of their musicianship. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” takes its theme from an incident during the “troubles” in Ireland. The incident occurred in Derry where British troops shot and killed unarmed protesters and bystanders. The song tells the story, but gives hope, and cries out for a peaceful solution. The depth of the message is there as strong as any Woody Guthrie song, and U2 has continued to bring the message for over thirty years now. Powerful stuff.

Speaking of powerful stuff, has anyone heard anywhere else the amount of sound U2 produces with just four members? Let me point out that one of those members does not play an instrument. He does sing pretty well, though. What the Edge does with tracking is absolutely phenomenal. It’s like he has a hundred piece orchestra at his toe tips. While not a guitarist in the Clapton, Hendrix, etc. league, the Edge has certainly made the most of his gifts.

While I reflect on my meager musical talents, I also marvel at the fact that the group has stayed together for over thirty years and are still friends. That’s just amazing. There are a lot of governments that don’t last that long, not to mention a bunch of kids who met in school.

Hats off to U2. Are they better than the Beatles? That’s certainly a question worth pondering. Let’s all have a listen while we ponder.


Be Still My Soul II

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Well, now there’s something new to complain about. The pollen levels have reached unheard of levels in our area. Everything is covered with a layer of yellow that is deep enough to write your name in. I’m trying to keep breathing to a minimum, but so far, it’s not working. Daily doses of Claritin and hourly ingestions of Hall’s cough drops are keeping me vertical, but just barely. A few Biblical like rains would clear the air.

Speaking of things Biblical, I need to finish up the telling of Sunday’s double feature of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. After watching the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread do his altar call and perform his testament of faith, I scooted out of the service at the “Little Church in the Valley” and headed back here to TackyToo. But, before firing up my DVR to watch the services from the Crystal Palace, I needed to fire up my Big Green Egg. I loaded two big fat hens on my Big Green Egg sitting on special “beer cans” filled with spices and vegetables. Since I wasn’t going to get my special Sunday lunch, I figured I’d make a special Sunday dinner. Satisfied that the temperature was just right for a four cook, I settled into the big easy chair in the office. I was more than curious as to what the Reverend Helen Handbasket would bring to an Easter service.

The broadcast from Channel 99 in Blairsville started with a camera panning the outside of the Crystal Palace and settling on a shot of a crowd of people watching the service on the big screen mounted on the broadcast truck. I would guess that there were a hundred or more souls crowded in around the truck, trying to capture as much of the live experience as they could. I expect that the followers felt like some of the magic might rub off on them, even though they were two hundred feet or so from the altar.

The camera switched to inside the auditorium to where the overhead shot showed a crowd that was standing room only. I can only imagine what the Blairsville Fire Department might think of this scene. People were packed cheek to jowl, and I suspect there would not have been room for me even if I had decided to attend. No one wants to sit next to a fat man in an airplane, and this was just that bad. It was really, really crowded in the sanctuary.

The house lights dimmed, and then “poof”, there she was. Under the light of one lonely spotlight, the Reverend Helen Handbasket stood with her arms raised heavenward. The Reverend was adorned in purple robes that looked like they were shiny like satin. Her sash was white, trimmed in gold, with gold tassels on the end. Her red hair was especially airy, and caught the light reflecting from the spot as it followed her to the pulpit. As she reached the pulpit the house lights came up and the choir began to sing “Are You Washed In The Blood”.

If there was ever an audience that was dialed in from the get-go, this one was. It was as if the Reverend Helen Handbasket had somehow reached out telepathically to send her message into the soul of each member of the audience. As the Reverend retold the story of the rebirth of Jesus, the crowd followed in rapt attention. If the Reverend looked to the right to see where the stone from Jesus’s crypt had been rolled back, the crowd looked right. When the Reverend raised her arms Heavenward beseeching the Lord, the crowd raised their arms. It was like watching a symbiotic relationship with the crowd drawing their energy from the Reverend. When the Reverend gave the audience a promise of cleansing all of their misdeeds, a rebirth if you will, the audience heeded her call. As the choir began to sing “Just As I Am”, the crowd rose as one and crushed to the space in front of the altar.

I’m guessing there was a hundred souls crowded into a two hundred square foot area, with more trying to enter. All of the folks were doing the “tap dance for Jesus”, and some had Glossolalia. A few of the acolytes had become so spirit filled, that they were rolling about on the floor oblivious to the rest of the world. The crowd was packed so tight, trying to get close to receive the Reverend’s blessing, that the testament of faith was cancelled. I can’t say that cancelled is the right word. The two guys charged with delivering the box of serpents to the Reverend could not get through to her. The crowd was packed in that tight.

Honestly, I can’t say that anyone should feel cheated by the change in the program. Maybe Channel 99 will complain. We’ll just have to watch the comments section on their website. I’m sure that the testament of faith plays better to a TV audience, particularly one that would never consider darkening the doors of an Evangelical church. Some of those TV folks might feel cheated by the loss of witnessing a woman wrangling poisonous vipers. I know I don’t. This was a Hall of Fame performance, it there is such a thing for Evangelical preachers.


Be Still My Soul

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Well I chose this rainy Easter to try to be in two places at once, and was somewhat successful. To be quite honest, my DVR did half of the work for me. I did put in the time to watch the recording, so it counts that I watched two events that were held at two different places simultaneously.

What I’m rambling about is that I wanted to check in on the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread and his services this Sunday at the “Little Church In The Valley”, as it is being referred to. I have a special interest in the Right Reverend, as everyone knows, and I wanted to see how he was doing back at his old spot. I figured that his Easter show would be his best effort until Christmas, so I forego the opportunity to see the Reverend Helen Handbasket live at “the Palace”. I could DVR the Reverend Handbasket’s show and watch it after returning from the Right Reverend’s service. I figured I’d be hearing a lot about “rolling stones” this weekend.

Well, I was rather amazed at the look of the old church. They had taken a quaint little shotgun style country church and morphed it into something different. I’m not saying good different, I’m saying different. The two trailers added to either side of the existing church to expand the auditorium looked like a bad Legos experiment. The trailer that had been added first, on the left side, was white, the color of the church. The trailer added last, on the right side, was beige. I’m guessing if the Elders hadn’t found the “Crystal Palace” available they would have at least painted everything the same color. First impressions are important, as they say, and this little church had a face only a mother could love. I almost turned around and headed home. It was “dispiriting” to see the old church tarted up this way.

I had made a commitment to come see the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread, though. In spite of all of my misgivings, I headed in. Well, the good news is that most of the old fixtures were still in place. Granny Waller was front and center like the Rock of Gibraltar, or Ages, I guess I should say. Hugh Morris was in his usual spot, as if he didn’t go home from Sunday to Sunday. Constance Whiner was sitting off to the right side in one of the new trailer additions. I have no idea whether her exile was self-imposed or if her sharp tongue had lashed the wrong person. I’d follow up with Mulva later.

I could see that Evan “Bubba” Hoakum was leading the choir. There was no doubt that his deep bass voice made and excellent background to the choir. I just wonder who was giving him his cues. Bubba Hoakum is not known to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you catch my meaning. Bubba did have that hymnal memorized backwards, forwards and sideways. Forty years of church services five times a week will do that for you. Apparently Bubba had been pressed into service by the moving of the former director, Ophelia Bottoms, to the new church. The Elders seem determined to “deliver” the Right Reverend “from temptation”.

I was somewhat surprised, and then not, to see Anita Goodman sitting dead center in the auditorium. She was sitting about four rows back from where Alva Bread sat with her brood. Sanctimonious me reckoned that the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread could look down the center of the church and leave both of his paramours feeling like he was looking directly at them. Since I was feeling a bit of the devil, I slid in next to Anita Goodman. There was plenty of room in the auditorium now with the expansion and the move of new members to the “Crystal Palace”. I could have sat in our usual spot, third row on the right at the aisle, but, like I said, I was feeling a bit of the devil in me.

After all, that’s why I was there, right? To cast the demons out and to let the spirit take over. Well, in spite of the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread’s best efforts, the demon was not cast out. The Right Reverend did put on a fine show, though. When he led the choir in “Up From The Grave He Arose” at the end of the service, everybody that could, stood. Most folks were already stomping their feet when the Right Reverend went into his “tap dance for Jesus” at the testament of faith. The Right Reverend did a fine job of wrangling the serpents, and I am happy to say that there were no altercations between them. I did notice that there were no serpents over three feet long, which is not to say they weren’t deadly, it’s just that there were no “big boys” in attendance. I will wait for the opportune moment to ask the Right Reverend about that.

More later.


Lyin’ Ted

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Still a misty kind of bleh day here in the mountains. I appreciate the fact that it’s not cold, though. I can have my morning coffee on the patio and not feel so cooped in. It’s a nice time of quiet before the sound of unmufflered cars and trucks announce the beginning of another day. I watch the folks pulling away from their respective mobile homes, headed for who knows where, and then I head over to the Rec room to begin my day.

Walking through the main room this morning I caught an interesting story on the big screen in the main room. All of the weekly shows were carrying it, so it must be true. It seems like the Enquirer has accused The Cruz with having at least five different affairs while married to current wife Heidi. Now, I don’t have the time span of the alleged affairs, but they have to have occurred since 2001 to qualify as adultery. I’ll have to get Mulva’s copy of The Enquirer when I get back to Number Two and read up on the story. It’s supposed to be in this week’s version, so I know we must have it on hand. Mulva likes to stay current in her reading.

Anyway, I am not aghast that The Cruz would feel like his staff members were supposed to handle every job he handed them, not matter how odious. I am aghast that there were five members of the female sex willing to allow his advances, six if you count his wife. Honestly, if you put The Cruz on one pedestal and Jabba the Hut on another pedestal, I could see women flocking to Jabba as their first choice. There is something so slimy and smarmy about The Cruz that I can’t imagine that the more sensitive sex doesn’t pick up on it at first sight. I can only imagine that the five alleged trysts had a high dollar amount attached to them.  I’m not putting the women down for charging, it’s the right thing to do. After all I don’t expect the fellow to clean TackyToo’s septic tanks for free. Nobody is that charming, not even me.

Where the story has a bit of a twist is that the head honcho at the Enquirer is supposed to be an old buddy of The Donald. Would The Donald have a friend print a salacious story about an opponent to gain an advantage? Of course. So far I’ve not seen anything that The Donald wouldn’t do in his quest to call the White House, “Trump at 1600”. If there is any truth to the rumors, and only one of the alleged mistresses comes forward and admits the affair, it’s game over. There’s only so much extracurricular sexual activity that the Evangelicals will tolerate before switching their allegiances. Look at the Duggars, and they’re cute.

To be honest, I worry less about The Cruz’s frailties as a human than I do his belief that he is the anointed one from God. I knew he was a big Bible thumper, but when I heard his speech after the Iowa caucus stating that the polls weren’t going to determine who the next President was going to be, that God was, I started taking notice of his words more. It’s one thing for The Donald to say every mean, hateful xenophobic thing he can to gin up his base, it’s another to think that God is talking directly to you. The fact that Cruz’s dad is out on the Evangelical circuit preaching that his son is the “anointed one” and that the righteous are poised to take back the wealth of the country to give to the priests is past scary to me. It is almost a call to revolution. Honestly.

The Repubs are giving us an interesting choice. One candidate who thinks he’s God, and another who hears God’s voice. Now, I’d be the first one to say that what a father says does not necessarily correspond to what the son thinks. But if your Dad doesn’t espouse your values, you don’t get him to campaign for you. Give a listen to the clip below and see if it doesn’t give you a chill.


It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. A cloudy day in the mountains that is not delivering enough rain. Seems like if it is going to be overcast all day that it should just go ahead and rain, as opposed to the occasional drizzle we’ve been experiencing. I know the plants are appreciating the moisture, I just wish it would rain and get it over with.

I guess my impatience for things dragging out is evidenced in other areas as well. Leopards don’t change their spots, and old leopards are less inclined I guess. The point that I’m obliquely arriving to is the ongoing relationship I have with the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread. His brood has been ensconced in Number Thirty Nine for a few months now. While he has caught up on his rent, he continues to be a general sore spot for me. I will admit he did me a favor by coming to my parole hearing and giving me a character reference, but that could have gone either way. I guess I should just be thankful for the good outcome.

There are two things that continue to grind my gears with the Right Reverend. First off is his continued Lothario ways. He continues to sneak out about two AM several times a week to visit Ms. Anita Goodman in Number Fifty Three. I’ve not heard any complaints from any of the other tenants, so, I guess I should hold my peace. It’s just that I have the evidence of his trysts on the TackyToo surveillance system, and it has become commonplace. If there’s one thing I learned from my Momma, it was not to be “common”. Watching the Right Reverend sneak out to “lay hands” on Ms. Goodman has become as common as watching the possums tear into Yuri Stinkherr’s garbage cans looking for whatever cabbage based food is emitting the odor that only possums could be attracted to. Possums and the Stinkherrs, I guess.

The second item up for discussion is the mistaken belief that rent at TackyToo includes a day care service for the Right Reverend’s brood of seven miscreants. If I’m being truthful, the children under the age of four should probably not be labeled as miscreants, yet. That’s three out of the seven that there is still hope that they will become productive members of society someday. I believe the die has already been cast for the older four. The eldest, Devin, is just waiting for his turn on “America’s Most Wanted“. I foresee the day when Mulva or I will be interviewed on Channel 11 and we’ll be forced to say, “we never saw it coming, he was always such a sweet child”. For my part I’m saving the real dirt for Lester Holt and “Forty Eight Hours”. Why give it away to Channel 11 when we can get recompensed by a network?

Anyway, Date Night turned out to be date night for the Bread’s. Mulva agreed to keep the little hellions while Dale and Alva went out on the town. I guess I should be happy that the Right Reverend is in the chips again and can afford to take his wife out for a night on the town. Since The Full Gospel Original Church of God has moved to the “Crystal Palace” in Blairsville, Reverend Bread has been shepherding the flock at the old location. Enough of the old timers have stayed behind to warrant keeping the old church open. I hear the Right Reverend has still not gotten fully back to speed after his incident, but that he is showing more vigor in his preaching. I guess that’s a good thing.

Since I didn’t feel inclined to get too invested in the date night movie, I opted to watch the televised version of “It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown”. Way more kid friendly, with less questions asked. For an Easter themed movie I could have gone with “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. It would have provided many opportunities to point out the realtionship of crime and punishment to the older children. It might have put the “fear of God in them”, but in a different way than is normally intended. It’s better that they think that Easter is about a beagle and a bird named Woodstock than nailing somebody up to a cross. At least in my opinion.


Take My Wife, Please

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. A perfect day here in the mountains. So perfect in fact that Mulva and I decided to stretch our bones a little bit by doing a little hiking over at Cloudland Canyon. It’s about two hours and a half whichever way you go from here, so we decided to make a day of it. This is definitely picnic weather and we were well prepared. It’s still chilly enough at night to keep the bugs and ants in abeyance, so the conditions were perfect.

We took the Southerly route via Hwy 76 going and the Northerly route via Hwy 74 and 19 returning. It was fun to get out and motor through my old “stomping grounds” again. I can’t say that the area has changed any at all in the last year, and that’s a good thing. I think humans need a certain amount of consistency in their lives to be able to keep their heads on straight. I know that there’s supposed to be people who “thrive on conflict”, but I suspect that they might not be the most mentally healthy people in our group. Maybe constant conflict is their consistency, but I suspect not. I’m betting at the end of the day these folks go home and stare at a lava light or something that gives them comfort.

After we got back home from a “mellow day”, and that’s a Johnny Cash reference there, I discovered that “Twitter” must be The Donald’s lava lamp. I’m sure that the rigors of the campaign must require some diversion for The Donald to get back to his “center”. A lot of politicians, most notably “W”, use video games to “flush their brains”. It appears that The Donald uses Twitter as his outlet to relieve his stress. Sadly, it seems that in The Donald’s case, the comparison is more to a toilet overflowing than flushing. After all, flushing is a controlled event with predictable outcomes. What spews forth from The Donald’s brain is more like a waste treatment center after two weeks of non-stop rain. It just overflows uncontrollably, tainting everything in its path.

So while The Donald was “decompressing”, he decided to “nanny nanny” Ted Cruz with a “my wife is prettier than yours” Tweet. One would presume that if it was one’s practice to recycle beauty pageant winners as wives, then The Donald had nothing to fear from making his boast. Based on the pictures posted, The Donald’s 45 year old wife, Melania, does look better than Cruz’s 43 year old wife, Heidi. While not unattractive, we can presume that Cruz’s marital selection was for something other than a beauty queen. Maybe Cruz selected Heidi for these “beans” that The Donald is threatening to spill if Cruz doesn’t bow to The Donald.

Turns out, while Melania was learning how to strut her stuff on a catwalk, Heidi was learning how to separate people from their money. Since 2005 Heidi has been an investment manager at Goldman Sachs. Before that, Heidi had a brief sojourn with J.P. Morgan after leaving the Bush administration. Heidi was the policy advisor to the “W’s” 2000 presidential campaign and later worked in his administration as an “economic advisor”. Somehow, someway, Heidi got herself appointed director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council. So, I guess I’m a little confused here, is Heidi a “spook” or an economist? Did Heidi get appointed to “spook” after designing the plan to unravel our economy? Are these the “beans” that The Donald is threatening to spill?” Well, I sure hope he spills them. I’d much rather the race be about substance than looks.

The Cruz has used harsh words to get The Donald to leave Heidi, “the hell out of it”. I suspect that the backlash he’ll get from the Bible thumpers for cursing will be offset by the tingle they’ll get for standing up for their womenfolk. I do think this would be the best way for the Repubs to settle on their candidate. The Donald and The Cruz in a cage match, no holds barred, no timeouts, winner take all. Heidi and Melania could act as ring girls carrying the round cards. There would have to be a guaranteed two round minimum, though. We wouldn’t want either wife to feel slighted.


Absolutely Accurate

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Looks like a potentially beautiful weekend shaping up. The predictions of flooding and savage winds passed by again. I’m now wondering if the Whiz O Meter is actually having a contrarian effect on the weather.

Might it be that the areas traditionally besieged by tornadoes could pay the folks at Channel 11 to predict tornadoes, so that the tornadoes would never appear? I might be on to something here. Since the beginning of time man has hoped to control the weather. Maybe the weather can be controlled by a system that bills itself to be “absolutely accurate”, but rarely is. I mean, I’m sure that the Whiz O Meter prediction is absolutely accurate for somewhere, it just doesn’t seem to be working for the areas where it is predicted. Maybe the mountains make the Whiz O Meter’s radar waves bounce funny, and the flatlanders don’t know how to read the signals. I’m not that technical, I just know when something doesn’t work.

I wonder if I’d owe Channel 11 any royalties for using their service to predict weather that was different than what my area received. I’d have to figure out what the fudge factor is before beginning my service. I’d need to determine who actually got the weather that was associated with our prediction. Did it land North, East, South or West of us? After figuring out who was receiving our prediction, I’d then need to locate who received the prediction that corresponded to our weather. That way I’d be able to sell my “absolutely accurate” weather prediction to folks who consider accuracy and important element of forecasting.

I’m thinking that I’d add on some extra benefits to my “We’re Not Channel 11, We Are Absolutely Accurate”, service. The head fool at Channel 11 weather likes to count lightning strikes when we get a rainstorm. I think I could go him one better. I could rebroadcast his count, and then absolutely guarantee that no one in our area would be struck by lightning. I might have to buy a little insurance policy in case one of my viewers decided to go stand on top of Brasstown Bald with a copper rod in their hand. You know, some fools will test any theory.

Since the odds of being struck by lightning in the U.S. is about 1 in 700,000, I’m thinking my insurance premium is going to be pretty low. I don’t know if you could get a term life policy on a “John Doe” with the beneficiary to “be named later”, but I’m sure somebody would take my money. After all, an insurance company insured Madonna’s breasts for two million dollars, and we all know gravity is going to win that battle. In fact, you’re far less likely to be struck by lightning than showing the effects of aging. I feel like I’m on safe ground here with my “no one struck by lightning guarantee”. It certainly gives me a one up on the Whiz O Meter.

Another service I plan on offering is “look out the window”. That’s when my prediction will be tied to me actually looking out the window and seeing if it’s raining, snowing, or whatever. I’m sure everybody else is as sick and tired of watching the weather forecast of “right now”, and it not relating to the weather of “right now”. Showing me a map of my area with squiggly lines drawn in different colors that tell me I should be getting rain, does not trump actually looking out the window and seeing that it is not raining.

I plan on elevating the current standards of weather forecaster to a new level. The first step on that path is accurately relating current conditions. If I can’t be trusted to look out the window and report what I’m seeing, how can I possibly be trusted to prognosticate about the future? I think I’ve got a plan. Watch for me on KickStarter.

The Bud O Meter, coming soon to a Public TV Station near you.


Profiles In Cowardice

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Still too cold at night and in the mornings, but Spring is trying to come back. I guess the folks that live in the perfect weather of San Diego look at the rest of us with bemused amusement. Of course the reason a one bedroom house goes for $600,000 out there is the fact that some people will pay any price to have year round Spring like weather. I guess it’s a good thing that only the 1% can afford to live there. Otherwise, there would be some serious overcrowding in the area.

I was already thinking about Southern California with all of the hubbub about unlocking the iPhones, etc. As a result of the San Bernadino shooting, the government seems to want to just tear up the Constitution and leave nothing private in our lives. I realize that there are many people in our society that are so afraid all of the time that they will happily give up their freedoms for the promise of safety. Sadly, the government is willing to make that promise to gain that control.

The fact that no government has ever been able to keep its citizens completely safe from terrorists is not part of the government’s sales pitch. In fact, the government can’t even keep itself safe from cyber terrorists or whistle blowers. Look at the supposed harm whistle blower Bradley Manning is alleged to have done. Millions of records of government misdeeds released into the ether, and all of the government’s anti-terror methods in place could not prevent their release. In spite of the calls for his execution for treason, it appears that the records released were more embarrassing than damaging. The Republic has survived.

I guess I am ruminating on the safety issue in light of the Brussels situation. I’m also trying to make sense of the responses that it has drawn from some of the candidates. Honestly, I can’t think of how you can stop a guy willing to blow himself up in the pursuit of a cause. Israel has tried for decades, and they’ve not been able to completely prevent the suicide bombers. Israel has had so much more experience in the matter than we have that it seems to me that they should be training our personnel. Particularly screening at airports. The Israelis don’t have to see you naked and expose you to gamma rays to know whether or not your carrying a weapon.

I do see a corollary between what Israel does and Ted Cruz’s call to station police in Muslim neighborhoods. I fear we would have the same effect as Israel has had. A native population that hates its oppressors. The fact that Cruz continually makes the issue of security part of a Holy War is even more disturbing to me. Cruz seems determined to call all terrorists Muslim, and all Muslims terrorists. Nothing could be further from the truth. One needs to go no further than the attacks in the United States by good “God Fearing” Christians to dispel that thinking. Think Oklahoma City bombing.

The Donald has once again shown his overwhelming ignorance by calling for a reevaluation of the United States role in NATO. His statement points out vividly how totally unprepared The Donald is for the role of most important leader in the world. Between calling for surveillance of all Muslims on American soil, and the prevention of any Muslim immigrants, The Donald has pretty well mapped out his plan for keeping America safe. Oh yeah, and drop out of NATO. I am embarrassed, and petrified.

I don’t suspect that our leaders, and our future leaders, are reacting out of complete fear for their safety. In fact, I’m sure all of them feel plenty safe. It’s what they are willing to do in the “interest of keeping us safe” that is scary.

I was renewed by President Obama’s words when he pointed out that making these bombers martyrs to a real cause would be the wrong response. Taking an inappropriate course of action, like carpet bombing the Middle East, would only strengthen the recruiting methods of the fundamentalists. I was also renewed by seeing the Belgian people out and about doing their business today. That’s where real bravery is displayed, not in some convention hall in front of sycophants.


We Plough The Fields And Scatter II

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Another cold day in the mountains and another near miss by the Whiz O Meter. I’m noticing that Channel 11 is running a byline that runs with their ads for their weather team that says they are “absolutely accurate”. I think if society loses all of their expectations for accuracy or truthfulness, Channel 11 has a winning slogan.

Maybe Channel 11 is taking their cue from our current crop of politicians. If caught in a lie, just keep telling bigger lies until the questions quit coming. It seems to work perfectly for the Republican front runners. How many times have we seen interviewers with a flabbergasted look on their faces as they try to unearth the truth from a politician? The interviewer continues to drill down only to be fed more hoopla. Perpetually flabbergasted is not a good way to have your news anchors look while trying to unearth the truth.

How do lying politicians and inaccurate weather forecasts lead us back to the services conducted by the Reverend Helen Handbasket at the new location of  The Full Gospel Original Church of God? Well, I can’t think of a way, I just needed to get in my two cents about inaccurate weather forecasts and lying politicians. I find that as I get older, I seem to not be able to move to a new point until I’ve cleared my mind of whatever it is that is bothering me right then. Not that there’s not plenty to talk about from the return of the Reverend Helen Handbasket to the pulpit after her “most embarrassing moment ever“.

When we left our story, the house lights had dimmed and the spotlights had been trained on the Reverend Helen Handbasket as she appeared magically behind the lectern. She is dressed in black robes with a red sash trimmed in gold. The spotlights play off of her hair and create the halo effect that I can see her trademarking some day. No, seriously, I mean it. Whatever the Reverend has got going on with her hair is as pronounced as the pictures we’ve all seen of the Ascension of Jesus with his head bathed in a halo. Seeing as how this is one week before Easter Sunday, it’s pretty good theater, whether it’s natural or not.

This Sunday is traditionally referred to as “Palm Sunday”, and the area in front of the pulpit has been decorated with palm fronds. In fact, the hardwood floor in front of the pulpit has been carpeted in palm fronds. I imagine that the old church, “the little church in the valley”, has palm fronds lining the aisles like it has for decades. My guess is that the Elders didn’t want to get palm residue in the new carpets of the new church. It will be interesting to see how many of the old traditions will go by the wayside at the new Crystal Palace. Fiery oratory doesn’t appear to be one of them.

The Reverend Helen Handbasket delivered a spirit filled sermon on the Golden Rule. In the most emotional voice I’ve heard the Reverend use, she stressed repeatedly the idea that we should “do unto others as we would have be done to us”. It’s not that I am dissuaded that the Reverend doesn’t believe deeply in the sentiment of the Golden Rule, it’s just that I think the sermon might have been the Reverend’s personal call to the members of the congregation that might have recorded her fall and subsequent exposure. The call was simple, treat those photos like you would want someone to treat photos of you or your wife. Only the most mentally challenged, or perverse, did not get the message.

Well, things went smoothly during the altar call and testament of faith. I noticed that someone had put rubber treads on the steps leading from the stage to the auditorium. Kind of locking the barn door after the horse got out, but hopefully it will prevent another over-exposure of the Reverend Helen Handbasket. There was an anxious moment when a pygmy rattler got loose during the testament of faith. It looked like the little fellow felt at home between the palm fronds on the floor. He was recaptured without incident, and Channel 99 in Blairsville got some good footage.

All and all a good show. I anticipated the Reverend’s move to the door for her “meet and greet” at the exit, and I skipped out ahead of her. It’s too soon for me.