Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The whole famn damily!

The enire ER household is present and accounted for, for the first time in months! The cast of charactrers:

ER -- Erudite Redneck, stiving to get house in Oklahoma ready to put on the market, and find a job in the Denver area, probably early next year, it looks like now.

Dr. ER -- Dr. Erudite Redhead, Ph.D., who high-tailed it out of here in April to Boulder, Colo., for a great job, and even more remunerative already, after only three months.

Bird -- My redheaded redneck stepgal, Dr. ER's natural born kiddo, age 21 and a senior at Oklahoma State University in sociology.

YankeeBeautrothed (thanks for the idea, Nick!) -- Bird's fiance, 22, fixing to be 23, also a senior at Oklahoma State, in history.

Riker -- my stepdog, the regal and refined Pembroke Welsh corgi, age 12.

Bailey -- my biological dog, the artarded wieinie dog, who lives in a short yellow doghouse (not really, but he should), age 7.

Ice-T -- my cat. Not the family cat. He's MY cat. He hisses at Bird, ignored YankeeBeautrothed and tolerates The Lady (Dr. ER).

Jambalaya and Etouffee -- my hermit crabs, a recent gift from Bird and YankeeBeautrothed.

Apollo -- My granddog, YankeeBeautrothed and Bird's primary dog, a Boston terrier, age 4.

Fenway -- My granddog, YankeeBeautrothed and Bird's auxiliary dog, also a Boston terrier, age 19 months.

Ortiz -- My grandhamster, YankeeBeautrothed and Bird's recent acquisition, named for Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.

A dozen smies for the dozen of us in the ER household!

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)


Monday, July 30, 2007


Bird and YankeeBeau are in the house!

And Fenway and Apollo, the granddogs!

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(Oh, and episode 2 of "Saving Grace" is on in 20 minutes. Cool.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007


'Hope comes no matter how far down I sink; the roots of my raisin' run deep'



A biblical response to 'illegal immigration'

The Old Testament.

The New Testament.

Jesus is the Ultimate Immigrant. What would we do with Jesus?

The New Sanctuary Movement.

A sermon on the subject by Chris Moore (audio), seminarian, member of my church in Oklahoma City, pastor of its mission church in Norman, Okla.

Christianity is a way of life, not a set of doctrines and creeds demanding total agreement.

What Jesus teaches us about God is more important than what the church teaches us about Jesus.

The Bible ought to be taken seriously, not literally.

The church must, before all else, recover its spirit of inclusiveness and community.



Saturday, July 28, 2007


"Amazing" -- an ER fave

Long stupid day of self-indulgence. No work on the house. None in the yard. Huevos y chorizo for breakfast. Bought a handful of cigars and smoked a couple of 'em. Bought and steamed a pound of shrimp.

Coupla margaritas. Finished the new Harry Potter book. Watched "My Name is Nobody." Browsing YouTube.

This is one of my favorite songs. It came out when a gal I was deeply involved with -- OK, living with -- was struggling with her recovery from crack. Long story.

She loved this song. I do, too. She crashed again, and we split up. Last I heard, though, a few years later, she was clean again. God bless her. God blessed me with loving her.


Friday, July 27, 2007


In memoriam: Keith Green, 1953-1982

:::UPDATED UPDATED UPDATED with additional quotes about Keith's legacy in the fifth comment. UPDATED UPDATED UPDATED:::

Within weeks of my first job in the media, in the summer of 1982 at a Gospel radio station, three prominent Christians died in plane crashes, prompting me to coin the smart-alecky remark:

"Jesus said, 'Low, I am with you always."

The three who died were Grady Nutt, countryfied Christian comic and Baptist minister who was on "Hee Haw," Lester Roloff, a fiery fundy radio preacher from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Keith Green, a beautiful pianist, songwriter, singer, believer and person.

There's new news about Keith Green here on the 25th anniversary of his death, which actually is Saturday: His widow, Melody, who has kept every scrap of music he ever recorded, has used new technology to enhance the recordings to release them.

Read all about it in an Associated Press feature about him here.

I rediscovered Keith Green last December. The grace that drips from his music, and the faith that emanates from his voice, the conviction that God is near now, forever and always to those who seek God, helped me deal with my sick Mama ER.

The day I drove to the hospital to say goodbye to her, Jesus rode with me in my truck, as Keith, on the CD, and I sang praises to his holy name. God does, indeed, work, in mysterious ways when loved ones get close to the portal. I should say God led me back to Keith's music; I didn't rediscover it.

Hear Keith Green music (and see some pretty lame videos) here.

Keith Green rocked, in more ways than one.


Thursday, July 26, 2007


Confusion over definition of 'hushpuppy' sparks multi-ethnic 'incident' over traditional Southern cuisine, or, 'I'm fixing to kick some foreign butt'

One of these days, the South will no longer just lie down and take this kind of abuse.

Quite awhile back, Bird and I were havin’ supper at a Charleston’s restaurant -— excellent food, good bar, nice atmosphere. I was pleasantly surprised to see a catfish plate on the menu, which tends more toward middle-of-the-road American fare.

I asked the waitress: “Does y’alls’ catfish come with hushpuppies? She said she didn’t know but that she'd get a manager, which I thought was odd. A manager came up and asked, with strained English and a heavy accent of some kind, how he could help.

“Does y’alls’ catfish come with hushpuppies?” I asked. “Do mean th’batter-n-th’fry?” he said, or something close. “Yes,” I replied. “Hushpuppies. Deep-fried corn fritters, basically.” He assured me that the catfish came with hushpuppies.

Of course, the catfish did not come with hushpuppies. I called the waitress over.

“I asked specifically if y’alls’ catfish came with hushpuppies and your manager told me they did, and there are no hushpuppies. Where are the hushpuppies?” She said she didn’t know but would find out.

The manager came back and asked how he could help. “You told me that y’alls’ catfish comes with hushpuppies. Where are the hushpuppies?” I asked, gettin’ a little red of the neck. He looked confused.

I held a hand up and made a circle with my index finger and thumb: “Man, HUSHPUPPIES. Corn meal. Deep-fried. Sometimes they’re round like this, sometimes they’re longer than they are wide. You get about a handful of ‘em with catfish!”

He look stricken, and excused himself. I saw him whispering with the waitress. A few mintes later, the waitress came back and apologized.

“I’m sorry. He thought you were asking if the catfish was battered and fried,” she said. “As opposed to what?” I may have fairly roared. “Well, grilled or broiled,” she said.

I harrumphed something about grilled or broiled catfish -— or catfish prepared any way other than filleted and fried, after being rolled in seasoned corn-meal -— was an abomination.

I acknowledged, however, that such existed, but that it never occurred to me that it would come any way but fried since the only two side dishes that came with the meal were slaw and fries.

An incident was averted when the waitress deleted the catfish meal from the ticket, continued to apologize (which was unnecessary) and vowed to teach her manager what a goldarn hushpuppy was (which was smart), and relay my message to whomever needed to know that selling fried catfish without hushpuppies is just wrong.

TODAY, for lunch, I went to what Dr. ER had told me was a good catfish joint -— she punctuated the news by bringing me a couple of little sweet potato pies she got at the place. This was the last time she was here. She had gone down by the Capitol on business; that’s where the joint is, so I went today to check it out.

Real quick upon walkin’ in I realized: This ain’t no catfish joint. It was an Asian seafood joint. But I knew they had catfish and so I ordered a catfish-and-shrimp basket and paid for it before noticing that the menu says “Comes with Texas Toast.”

“I’d rather have hushpuppies if you have ‘em,” I said to the gal who took my order. “Oh, you can substitute hushpuppies for the Texas toast,” she said. “Great. Let’s do it,” I said.

Ten minutes later, out came the basket. The catfish filets looked fine: thin, crispy, cornmeal. The shrimp were big but battered with that flour-based kind of batter that puffs up that I’ve only seen at Chinese restaurants.

And there, under the fries, was a triune blob of something deep-fried. It looked like three hushpuppies that had gotten too close to one another in the deep fryer and had become one. No big deal, I thought.

A bite or five into it all, I grabbed the triune blob, tore off a third and noticed the distinct absence of cornmeal texture or coloring. “Well,” I thought, “maybe it’s white cornmeal and ground real fine.” I took a bite.

“Bleah! Pft! Pft! Pbtbthh!”

It wadn’t no three-headed hushpuppy! It was a dadgum molten blob of sweet fry bread! It was dang near donut-holish with its sweetness and its breadiness and its totally-out-of-placeness next to a pile of fried catfish in a Styrofoam clamshell in ANY kind of joint, catfish, Asian or what.

Hushpuppies come different ways, some have more onion than others, some come with jalapenos, some come with actual kernels of corn -- but the two main elements are: cornmeal and fried.

What the heck about that is hard to understand, y'all? One of these days, the South is liable to rise again over just such culinary sleight-of-hand.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Treasure hunting

I confess that I have been letting the whole Colorado move thing make me crazy again. I am almost positive I will not be able to get a news job, and giving that up hurts me to the core. I do not "do" journalism. I "am" a journalist.

So, my whole sense of self is wrapped up in this.

Then there's the money thing. I will almost assuredly have to take a pay cut, in relative terms for sure, but maybe even in real dollars -- which sucks. The cost of living in the Denver area is about 17 percent higher than Oklahoma City.

So, worry worry worry.

But, I had lunch with a couple of PR gals yesterday who helped me see opportunity there. One of them has lived in Boulder and worked in the Denver market.

They know me just well enough to know I hang my hat on integrity in public communications and that I hold public relations, as a whole, in disdain, although I loves me a good flack. Problem is, there aren't that many good flacks.

PR people who confuse marketing and public relations are the problem. The best PR people were in the working press first. Which means I could do PR, for the right firm, working for clients with integrity. Maybe. We'll see.

Going over to the Dark Side is a galling prospect.

But then, just as lunch with my flack friends pulled me back from despair, here comes my trusty issue of The Christian Century, with this timely message, again, to further soothe my worries, again.

It's the ending of the "Living by the Word" feature, in the current paper issue based on Luke 12:22-31, by Kenneth H. Carter Jr., pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C.:

"Where your treasure is," Jesus taught, there you heart will be also."

There is an urgency about these matters. Time passes, and we are shaped by our commitments and loyalties, which add up to a particular way of life. We are accountable to God and to one another. At times our priorities are misplaced; in the language of Abba Poemen of the fifth century, we hear the warning: "Do not give your heart to that which cannot satisfy your heart." "Life is more than food," Jesus insists, the body more than clothing" (Luke 12:23). As disciples we recognize the danger of the sin of storing up treasure for ourselves, of giving priority to that which seems, in hindsight, to be trivial.

The call is clear: be prepared, light the lantern, wake up, get ready. The audit is scheduled; the date and time are unknown to us, but the Son of Man is coming soon. Our security is finally not in the stock market, which goes up and down; or in the government, which rises and falls; or in the corporation, which splits and merges and restructures. Instead, we would do well to learn from the ravens -- they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet God feeds them (Luke 12:24). Their patterns of behavior teach us that life is a gift, a gift to be shared, a gift to be treasured.

Our true security lies in the grasp of a fundamental truth: the reign of God is near, closer than we realize. The culture, and our misplaced allegiance to it, has led us down the path of anxiety about the present and the future, about our possessions and wealth. The gospel as gift and demand is clear: God will provide for us, and through us God will provide for others.

Bloggy buddy and friend Geoffrey Kruse-Safford blogs on prayer at his place. I don't believe God does "answer prayers" in any way that means much to us as we see through the glass darkly. But God "answering prayers" isn't really what Geoffrey is writing about. He's writing about dangerous communion.

But, I pray because I can't help it. Though God slay me, yet will I trust him. And I must be reminded again and again -- and again! -- to cling to the gospel truth:

"God will provide for us, and through us God will provide for others."


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Save Sadie redux

Sadie lives!

The shelter says:

"Here is Sadie, looking like a peeled Potatie. Her incision is about 5 inches long, but her whole back and part of her neck are shaved. She seems to be doing really well. She acts bored today. She wants to get out and play instead of staying in her pen all the time. It is going to be a long 4 to 6 weeks for her."

Poor critter.


Monday, July 23, 2007


'Saving Grace' redux

"Saving Grace"! Just enough cheese!

I was tickled to see opening scenes shot at "The World's Largest Stocker and Feeder Cattle Market."

I had sustained chills at the end with the scene at the Oklahoma City National Memorial -- especially the shot of the writing on the wall.

And at the very end: I confess that that is not the first time I've seen a Mountain Dew bottle of tobacco spit rolling down a sidewalk. It might've been the first time I'd seen such moved by the wind of God. But it might not've been, either.

Y'alls' take?



There's just no impressin' some womens

ER, on the patio last evening, sipping a Red Stripe and puffing on a cigar: "I can barely move."

Dr. ER, on the phone in San Francisco: "How come?"

ER: "Yesterday, I moved 4,000 pounds of top soil -- two tons -- into the back yard, one 40-pound bag at a time. It's 60 yards from the front of the house to where I needed the soil. Do the math: 100 trips, 60 yards, 40 pounds. Then, today, I spread it, tilled it by hand, fertilized it, then seeded bermudagrass. I'm pooped."

Dr. ER: "Why didn't you use a wheelbarrow?"

ER: "I don't have a wheelbarrow."

Dr. ER: "I thought you did."

ER: "No, I have a yard cart. Different thing. It distributes weight differently -- poorly, actually -- and would not have worked for this. It was easier to heave each bag up on my shoulder and march it back. Those African women who carry things on their heads know what they're doing. It was a lot of work. But not as strenuous as it might seem."

Dr. ER: "You don't have a wheelbarrow. You can't be a man and not own a wheelbarrow."


Sunday, July 22, 2007


Tammy Faye Bakker: Bless her heart

A moment, please, for the lady I once derisively called Tammy Baye Faker.

She ran the race to the end, holding her head high, while remaining true, in my view, although wavering (who doesn't?), to the humility that must accompany Christian faith.

In 1980, she penned a book that I count among the most influential in my life: "Run to the Roar: The Way to Overcome Fear."

It's not deep theology. It's not the best-written tome in history. But it hit me right where I needed to be hit once.

Way back in the day, when I was in high school, I sent $20 to the PTL Club, which then spent at least that much the next couple of years trying to get more. It's true. Jim Bakker got sidetracked. That's a fact, too, that he acknowledges now.

I don't have any real opinion on him these days. Whatever, Brother. But I loved Tammy Faye. She suffered but persevered. Bless her heart.


Saturday, July 21, 2007


'Be afraid, be very afraid?' Hell, be struck dumb, terrified, sickened, and just bend over and take it -- again and again

Maybe today, while Bush is sedated and the Dark One actually literally is acting president, he'll just shut down Congress and throw up some yellow tape. Because it is a crime scene.

If Congress doesn't impeach the bastards now, screw it. Sheehan for Congress. Pelosi is a joke.

Bush declares himself king -- again.

On "unitary executive" theory.

On caning, dueling and "inherent contempt power."

You know, right-wing imps and idiots probably would have the trest of us locked up if they they could. What the hell.

It's to the point where the biggest traitors in this country are in the White House, and those who silently accept their occupation of it. So, let's get after it. Let's start locking each other up! Whoever is left free can start the country over.


Friday, July 20, 2007


'It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it'

Couldn't wait for suggestions for what to rant about. Here's a good start. --ER
And, worth repeating, from Pat Oswalt.


Potter check and Bush redux

The new Harry Potter book will be released in 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Dr. ER went to a store earlier today to get a number to pick hers up sometime after midnight in Boulder.

Mine is coming tomorrow via UPS.

I will not be among those who disappear and drop everything to read it cover to cover. But I'll read it. I've read 'em all so far. There's no stopping now.

BTW, I'm about done writing about puppies and shit. I feel my bile coming back regarding the state of the nation in Bush's America. My neck is reddening back up, after a hiatus of not giving a hoot in hell.

So. 1, what are your Harry Potter tendencies? 2, what should I rant knowledgeably and passionately about first?



'Mr. Watson! Come here! I need you ... to "do a little dance! Make a little love! Get down tonight! Get down tonight!" '

It's a ringtone meme! Suggested by occasional commenter and longtime friend Crystal.

What's on your phone? My new cell phone plays: "Ain't no woman gonna change the way I think -- think I'll just stay here and drink." A clip from the Merle Haggard song. Haggard has been my favorite songwriter, singer and musician since I was about 13, even before I knew his parents were Dust Bowl Okies from Checotah, Okla.

I haven't taken the time to set it yet, but I think I'm gonna have the text-message alert be: "They call me ... tater salad," from the redneck comic Ron White's hee-larious routine about gettin' busted for bein' drunk in public-a in New York and havin' his sordid teenage past, in Fritch, Texas, catch up with him. Why? Because Ron White is a riot.

Dr. ER's phone play a clip from the new Bon Jovi album, "(You Want to) Make a Memory." She loves the album -- I do, too -- and that song is sort of a sort-of theme song for our current predicament of living in two different states.

Bird, being more sophisticated at this kind of thing, has a special ringtone for when her YankeeBeau calls: "Making Memories of Us" by Keith Urban. It's "their" song.

And YankeeBeau's ring for when Bird is calling is "Should've Been a Cowboy" by Oklahoman Toby Keith, which they play at Oklahoma State University Cowboys football games, which is delicious since Toby is a loud fan of the University of Oklahoma. Ha!

Alexander Graham Bell would be plumb floored, don't ya think?


(Save Sadie!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007


On the other hand, there are downsides to a Democratic Congress ...

They've done gone to meddlin' -- HUGE cigar tax in the offing!

(Save Sadie!)



Help save Sadie!

Damn. This is from Bird, my beloved, big-hearted, redheaded redneck stepdaughter. It made my eyes leak. And it loosened my own grip on my billfold.

My personal challenge: If you're a regular here, and you've enjoyed it, or been challenged by it, or blessed by it, or otherwise glad for it, give a little. And pass along. Copy and paste, or link to it, or use the send feature at bottom.


By Bird

Hello Everyone.

The past three months, I have been volunteering at the Boston Terrier Rescue of Greater Houston. I get up every morning at 7:30 to clean the entire kennel and feed all the “kids” as we call them.

I have two Boston Terriers myself, Fenway and Apollo, who have changed my life. I have been a dog lover my entire life and it seemed almost fate that this particular rescue was so close to my fiancé’s parent’s home. Karen, the founder of BTRGH, made a safe-place for all neglected Boston Terriers in need -- she is an angel.

If you have never had the pleasure of knowing a Boston Terrier, they are the spunkiest and most loving dogs I have ever known. It fulfills me to help all of these needy dogs, many of whom have come from extremely devastating pasts.

They all have their stories and all have a place in my heart, but one in particular has captured the hearts of all the volunteers. Her name is Sadie, a name I will never hear without thinking of this sweet girl. Here is her story.

Sadie came to us from the Municipal Shelter in Pearland, Texas. From the moment she came, everyone knew that she had been severely neglected. I met her one morning I went to clean the kennel. There was a new dog and I all but ran to see the new face we were going to help.

Her little face looked so old and sad --but something told me she was special. She was not just in need of a good meal and a bath, she needed a lot of work and, most of all, a lot of love.

While she looks very aged, Sadie is only 1 year old and all of that one year has been lived in pain. She can barely walk -- it’s more like a hobble -- and her little tongue doesn’t quite stay in her mouth.

She has the sweetest face and, despite her problems, she is full of spirit! She “sings” to me every morning with a raspy little howl and loves to meet and play with other dogs. At a Purina Rally to Rescue event a few weeks ago she got so excited when a little boy gave her a toy and she hobbled over to meet some Basset Hounds in the booth next to us.

Many have already given up on her, and we're not going to do that to her again. She deserves the best because she is not ready to give up on herself. Sadie wants a forever home so very badly, but there is so much she needs before that can become a reality for our little Sadie-Potatie!

Sadie’s first owners claim that she fell down the stairs and when they sold her to another owner, they told them she would be fine. When they realized that she was not getting better, they dropped her at the shelter in Pearland, which then sent her to us.

She has been with is for a month or two now and we have finally been able to send her to the veterinary hospital at Texas A&M, where she was referred. She will be staying in foster in College Station throughout her treatment thanks to our wonderful volunteers.

They found that Sadie’s problem is partially congenital and partially due to neglect of her condition when she was a puppy by her first owners. She has two herniated disks in her back and the ligaments in both of her back knees will need to be repaired.

The estimated cost for all of this is somewhere between $3,500 and $6,000.

Obviously, for a small rescue like this, raising money like this is a huge undertaking and we are seriously underfunded for her expenses. We all love Sadie so much and her spirit deserves to be loved in a home.

We are planning a dog wash at a Houston dog park to raise some funds and are doing all we can to get this little girl better!

I wanted all dog-lovers out there to hear her story because it deserves to be heard. No dog should have to live in pain from human neglect!

If there is anything you can do to help our Sadie, no matter how small, your kindness would be greatly appreciated! Below is information on how to donate. Please visit the website to learn more about our organization and keep up with her!!

Please forward this to anyone you think would benefit from her story! Thank you for your time. Help save Sadie!!

Donations can be mailed to:
Boston Terrier Rescue of Greater Houston
25318 Oakhurst Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77386

Mark the check: "For Sadie."

Donations can also be made through PayPal via the BTRGH Web site: www.houstonbostonrescue.org. [Couldn't get links to work. --ER]

You can view all available rescues here: www.bostonterriers.petfinder.com.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


A short brief on the proper and effective placement of personal pronouns in a classic country-and-western song

So, I got a new cell phone the other day -- first new one since, 2002, I think. Seriously. It actually plays SONGS, not just tones.

So I 'necked it up good: When it rings, Merle Haggard barks: "Ain't no woman gonna change the way I think. Think I'll just stay here and drink." With accompanying piano, guitar and horns.

And so I've been singin' old Haggard tunes ever since. I even broke out my Merle Haggard CD box set. My current favorite -- because it is smack dab in my range, and I can sing it really well -- is "The Emptiest Arms in the World."

I LOVE this song. The point I make in the headline is seen below in the third line of the second verse, bolded.

It seems at first like he's singing to the listener. But he's actually singing to his lost love. It's effective because that "you" brings it home. You realize he's not telling us about a phone call, but that he's letting us listen in on it.

Merle Haggard: fellow erudite redneck.

(Merle Haggard)
©'73 Tree Publishing, BMI

I only call when I've had that one too many
And my lonely room goes spinning in a whirl
And tonight I couldn't even find my pillow
I've got the emptiest arms in the world

I no longer wear the gold band on my finger
And from time to time I find myself a girl
But when I realize that she's not you I'm holding
I've got the emptiest arms in the world

Empty arms won't ever hold you close again
And these cheap hotels they're like a prison cell that keeps closin' in

And you alone can fill this lonely feelin' of the emptiest arms in the world

And you alone can fill this empty feelin' of the emptiest arms in the world


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The Parable of the Lost Weinie Dog

Bailey is resting comfortably in the laundry room, with a pain pill in his belly, feed and water, and a soft bath towel for his sensitive bobo. The "thing" was sent off for diagnosis. The doc said he'd never seen anything like it, that it looked like a small porcupine had taken up residence just under the skin of Bailey's left "arm." Cost for the surgery, heart worm tests for him and Riker, meds and etcetera: $496. He is snoring loudly. The poor thing.
::::: END UPDATE:::::

When Bailey was a puplet, I set one boundary for him. He was not to go into the garage when I had the side door open to the yard. I trained him not to cross the threshold.

The other day, I was carrying bags of topsoil from the garage, through the door to the back yard. On about the 10th trip, Bailey made a run for it!

I was heaving a 40-pound bag and here he came, zipping around me, slobbery tongue wagging out one side of his mouth, hauling little weinie dog butt! I didn't even think. I took off after him -- then realized: The door was still open. Would Riker, the regal Pembroke Welsh corgi, make a break for it, too?

I hesitated, keeping an eye on Bailey, and hollering at Dr. ER. She finally figured out I was calling her name, and came out just as Riker tiptoed through the door, through the garage and out into the front yard. He went right to his mommy.

By then, Bailey was in the second yard over. So, adrenaline pumping, tired from hefting bags of soil and working in the yard for half a day, in my big clompy work boots, I galumphed after him. By the time I caught up with him, he was in the third yard down.

Now, Bailey ain't fast but he's ziggy and zaggy. I'd get right up on him and zig! Missed him! Then I'd get up on him again and zag! There he went!

He zigged and zagged and to'd and fro'd but I finally got right on top of him and he stopped and looked up at me and I SEIZED him by the fat. Just reached down and picked him up with a wad of fat in each hand.

I hefted him up and huffing and puffing, with pain in my chest, my legs rubbery and my head splitting, I marched him right back to the house, through the garage and out the door. I sat him right down where he belongs, turned, went back into the garage, closed the door, then went to the porch and collapsed on a bench.

I FREAKED when he got loose. I RAN harder than I had in 15 years at least to CATCH him. I hollered for Dr. ER for assistance, but I was willing to take the chance that Riker would get loose, too, to be able to pursue Bailey. I figured, rightly, that Riker would be easier to corral than Bailey. I know my dogs.

When I caught up to Bailey, I GRABBED him. I didn't scold him. I didn't sweet-talk him. I didn't love on him. This was a rescue mission. I didn't say a thing to him. And when I got him back to the house, I just plopped him down where he belongs. I was HAPPY to do so.

And that's the Parable of the Lost Weinie Dog. (Compare Jesus's Parable of the Lost Sheep.)

If we sneak out of the fold of faith, God FREAKS. God RUNS to CATCH us. God GRABS us. God RESCUES us. Then God PLOPS us back where we belong.

God doesn't SCOLD us. God doesn't SWEET-TALK us. God COMES AND GETS US -- even taking the chance that others in God's fold might tiptoe out. And God is HAPPY to do so.

I know my dogs. God knows us infinitely better. My singular purpose on this planet when Bailey escaped was to SAVE him. That's the meaning of the Parable of the Lost Weinie Dog -- and the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

When we wander out of the fold of faith, chasing us down and bringing us back is God's singular purpose.

Bailey goes under the knife in about an hour. He is going to have a "thing" removed from what Bird calls his "arm." It's a cyst on his front left leg.

Happy-happy thoughts, please, for loveable but simple Bailey, who should have a short yellow doggie hospital gown.

(Read a lesson in Grace from Ice-T here.)



Orange Revolution

Oh, this is gonna be fun, especially with football season coming up!

Impeach Bush! Impeach Cheney! GO POKES!


Monday, July 16, 2007


Bush-Cheney 2008

As seen at Bitch, Ph.D.

Will the election be held? Vote here, at Big Brass Blog. As seen at BlondeSense.



The Rapture is ...


1. Central to my belief system.

2. Imminent.

3. An incredibly complicated doctrinal construct, based on about half of a verse in the Bible.

4. Something I never even heard of growing up in church.

5. A cool song by Blondie.

6. Other.



Friday, July 13, 2007


Internet collapses; all data lost

So I'm goin' to see my brother and some other kin in the mornin'. Y'all be careful out there, hear?


Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Thursday, July 12, 2007


The churches of Hank, the pope and Christ

ELAshley went off on the pope for the non-news news of the week -- that officially the Roman Catholic Church believes that it is the only "true" Christian church (whatEVER) -- thusly:

"Communion for Catholics is like going to a great big boar-roast-- a glorified Hawaiian luau. Every time good faithful Catholics line up to the altar the priests carve a little off His pierced side to plop into the starving mouths of the faithful."

Classy. Read it all. The funniest thing is that EL and the pope are the same peas in different pods: Each thinks he has the ONLY means of salvation.

Oh, EL gives lip service to the "shed blood of Jesus (and) the indwelling of the Holy Spirit." But, really, if you don't line up perfectly behind the way EL sees things -- that is, fundamentalist, dispensationalist, Rapture-ready, professing to believe every single word of the Bible is infallible and inerrant, but ignoring the particularly loving, forgiving Jesusy parts -- chances are you are l-o-s-t LOST.

It's dangerous to make fun of the idiosyncracies of others' faith traditions. And it's easy, too, once someone throws a swing, like EL did. Here. This just rolled out of my head and onto this keyboard:

Going to church for a fundamentalist is like going to a seance: They sing superstitious songs and utter magical phrases from a book of spells, hoping to call forth the ghost of their long-dead founder, who then enters the bodies of the faithful, animating them to do certain "holy" rituals, numbing their senses to "unclean" thoughts and slowing their tendencies to perform certain "sinful" behaviors.

Sounds plumb loony, don't it?

Which is why I think the Church of Hank -- first mentioned in previous post -- is funny and thought-provoking: It's crazy what people believe. It's plumb loco what I believe!

Thank God Almighty that what we believe ain't what saves us. God saves us all who will TRUST God to do so through Jesus, TRUST being the operative sentiment behind "BELIEF," not adhering to certain alleged facts and assertions about God, Jesus, Life, the Universe and Everything. And I say that's true whether or not anyone has even heard of Jesus.

All of which sounds plumb crazy to some people.

Pshaw. I am in good company when it comes to believing crazy things. See ELAshley. See Hank. See the Bible.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The Church of Hank

Scary, the similarities between the tenets of the Church of Hank and the main ideas of overly dichotomous fundamentalist Christianity. Presented for laughs as well as discussion.



'Saving Grace'

Allow me to be shamelessly parochial. Holly Hunter, hot babe, plays a hard-livin' Oklahoma City PO-lice detective, name of Grace, who meets God in the form of a redneck, tobacco-spittin' angel.

"Saving Grace." I am SO THERE.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


On Godless Author Ann Coulter

Here is a rerun, ER's review of "Godless" from about a year ago.
:::::END UPDATE:::::

Jesus, so to speak. It's about time.

"Godless Author Needs to Think Again -- and So Do We," by Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary, linked from David Kuo on BeliefNet -- but siphoned directly from "Pastor" Timothy -- and this is the only thing I've ever seen at Tim's place worth a link.



ER's 'vacation' pix!!

First: What the heck are these eyeball-looking pods that keep showing up in my yard? I don't recall seeing them before. They look like toy balls, but they have liquid centers. They're about as big as a quarter. Any clues?

The "ER still life" is real: James Michener's "Centennial," which I've since finished; Red Stripe in a coozie; one of the Zippos Bird got me; lighter fluid; my new fancy cell phone; and a shot of Elijah Craig. Oh, and a coffee mug there from the morning. I was sitting back down and glanced over and saw it -- and went to get the camera immediately. The only thing missing is the cigar I was smokin', which I kept in my hand as I took the shot.

The rest are various pix of our domestic livestock: my stepdog Riker, the regal Pembroke Welsh corgi, whose summertime undercoat shedding is an embarrassment, and our, um, biological dog Bailey, the semisweet wholly 'tarded weinie dog. :-) Oh, and a shot of just one of my projects, the torn-out-and-replanted flowerbed, turned over completely to periwinkle.


Monday, July 09, 2007


'Freedom is stuck in reverse'

Wow. I was lookin' for a sad Merle Haggard video to post today, since Dr. ER has flown off again. And I stumbled across this. God bless Merle Haggard.

Real. Patriots. Think.

Merle Haggard: "America First."


"God bless the Army and God bless our liberty. Dadgum the rest of it all." -- The Hag.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Sigh. Time flies -- and takes Dr. ER along ...

Takin' She Who Is My Wife to the airport early tomorrow. Won't see her again for three weeks, when she, and Bird and her YankeeBeau, and their critters, Fenway and Apollo, will all be here for a week!

Bird and YB are coming to help me with the house. Yay. I hate to paint. They like to paint. Cool.

I haven't grilled once this whole week off. Fixing that this evening: ribeyes a la ER, baked taters, something green from a can.

No work today. Been watchin' movies with She Who Is. "Psycho." "Man of the Year." "Stagecoach." Dr. ER watched "Murder on the Orient Express" this morning while I was at church, where the Prayer of Confession was lived out:

Lord of Life, we come to this sanctuary because it is a House of Prayer for All People. We come to listen, to learn, and to remember that our thoughts are not God's Thought -- even on our best days. Send us from this place stronger, and wiser, and more in love with things that matter -- for having been at worship in this beloved community. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.


Saturday, July 07, 2007


Key: 'I am still dealing with all of my guilt'

Michael Glatze, former gay rights leader, goes straight.

Focus on the Family lauds Glatze's newfound straightness.


Why is it no one ever just says he was wrong, he repented and found he was straight?

Why is it "ex-gays" always claim to have been duped? The ones I've seen blame their former "lifestyle" on others.

Why did he wait 18 months to go public? I suspect he missed the limelight.

Why did he go public on WND of all places?

And this should alarm anyone:

"I'll never let anybody try to convince me otherwise, no matter how slick their tongues or how sad their story. I have seen it. I know the truth."

He was an unreasonable gay activist before, and now he's an unreasonable "ex-gay" who's found Jesus? And, reading the Bible "terrified" him?

He presumed to speak for all gays before, and now he presumes to speak for all ex-gays? There is no homosexuality that is not just lust and pornography?

I'm not gay, so I don't know. But does that mean that there is no heterosexuality that is not just lust and pornography?

Then there's this: "Even in the darkest days of late-night parties, substance abuse and all kinds of things -– when I felt like, 'Why am I here, what am I doing?' – there was always a voice there."

I'll buy that. But what does that have to do with homosexuality? Looks to me like another sex addict whose choice was SELF. Call it auto-erotic self actualization -- and he happened to be gay. He *needed* to repent, maybe, but more than a hetero sex user and drug abuser?

I'll bet he's not straight. I'll bet he's celibate. Big diff.

This reminds me of a Cheech y Chong routine: "I was all messed up on drugs. Now I'm all messed up on the Lord."

I smell a rat, or worse.



My blogging days will be over ...

... or severely curtailed if I ever have to get a real job rather than get paid to sit at a computer all day.

"Summer vacation" update, yesterday:

Hauled in another 1,000 pounds of topsoil; applied 400 pounds of it to a freshly hand-weeded then hand-tilled sideyard flower bed; then planted a dozen periwinkles; then applied 10 bags of cocoa-brown mulch.

The variaged vinca major -- green leaves with pale yellow around the edges -- really does look nice against the brown mulch, with the native-stone house as a backdrop.

Goldarn it! I am not going to want to sell this place when I get it up to snuff!

Also applied another 250 pounds of soil to the front yard, fertilized it and then I spilled some more of my seed upon the ground. I do not have high hopes. This is a gamble to see if I can avoid paying a turf specialist several hundred dollars.

Found out that last winter, the vacuum-valve thing to the lawn sprinkler system froze and busted. First time I turnedd on the sprinkler was this week, and only because I had just spilled my seed upon the ground and needed to water it in. They're coming to fix it Monday morning; it takes more plumbing than I'm capable of.


Mow the yard.

Take down a fence I built around my vegetable garden to keep Bailey and Riker out of it (sniff, sniff: building that fence from scratch, with short T-posts and a kind of hogwire mesh and baling wire was an early proud accomplishment several years ago; I even made the gate, actually a gap for those who know the difference and some of y'all do, from scratch, using plastic dowels to make a frame; and I even put an Oklahoma Farm Bureau Member sign on it for old times sake; sniff, sniff).

Clean the gutters.

Apply some topsoil to another sideyard flower bed, this one in front; then plant some more periwinkles; then apply some mulch.

Plant a dozen begonias I bought yesterday in some containers I've set in the front flowerbed. Theyre the deep red, almost burgundy ones that look like dessert -- all they need is a squirt of Reddy Whip.

Put down mulch in the front flower bed.

Go eat Meskin food with Dr. ER!

Except for a workday lunch of tortilla soup at an El Chico the other day, I haven't had any Tex-Mex since Dr. ER hauled it to Boulder; I've been eating at home most of the time at night and skipping lunch with aid of a happy pill.

Dr. ER says the Meskin food in Boulder is fine and all, but it ain't Tex-Mex.


Thursday, July 05, 2007


How I spent my summer vacation (so far)

Finally mowed the whole yard.

Pulled weeds in front flower beds.

Trimmed bushes and trees in front. And dang near lopped off only one finger this time. Which is saying something, considering.

Used a slingblade to chop down three-foot high grass in former vegetable garden; then raked it and bagged it; then set mower at highest setting and mowed it; then raked it and bagged it; then set mower at lowest setting; then raked it and bagged it. Made some frogs homeless.

Procured 45 kitchen cabinet knobs. Will install first wet day when I can't work outside.

Procured 12 bags of chocolate-brown hardwood mulch. To apply tomorrow if a dry day to front flower beds.

Procured, so far, 2,600 pounds of topsoil for various and sundry washouts in both front and back yards.

Applied 800 pounds of topsoil to bald patch in front yard; raked it; fertilized it; raked it again; then I spilled my seed upon the ground; then raked it; then watered it in. It's raining now, fairly hard, and the soil seems to be staying put. We'll see.

Worked only a half-day yesterday, it being a holiday and all. Took Dr. ER with me to Maker's Cigar Bar and Piano Lounge. Then we went to the Oklahoma RedHawks game for baseball and fireworks -- and it was standing-room-only. So we stood for like three hours. Then went to IHOP. Got home about 1:30 a.m., which is unheard of around here anymore.

Hard to get going today. So all I've done is procure the cabinet knobs, 1,000 pounds of topsoil, which is still in the back of my truck and will stay there until morning, and a dozen variegated vinca major plants, the nonblooming variety of periwinkle being a good, hardy ground cover, to plant in a sideyard bed tomorrow or the next dry day.

Dr. ER has been working on her computer all day. Chef ER just finished making Mama ER-style cole slaw: rough cut cabbage, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, paprika, celery salt (you just keep adding stuff until it tastes right).

And I am fixing to fix ER oven "grilled" chicken: baked legs and thighs, Lawry's shaken on liberally, cracked black pepper, too, with honey barbecue sauce applied the last 20 minutes. Yum.

To be served with the cole slaw and appropriate sideboard fare: home-canned pickles from a friend in Little Dixie; Satan-possessed eggs (store-bought, I'm afraid). Olive salad (also store-bought). Etc. Apple pie (yes, yes, store-bought, but made in the store and gooo-oooo-oood.)

Oh, crap. It's raining like a cow pissin' on a flat rock out there. Gotta go check my soil and seed!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007


God bless Keith Olbermann: J'accuse! J'accuse!


'Let us strive on ... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations'

Hoping for all, a somber yet hopeful Independence Day.


From President Lincoln's second inaugural address:

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Read it all.

Photo courtey of Photohome.com, for nonprofit use.

Monday, July 02, 2007


If the president murdered someone on the White House lawn and then pardoned himself while wearing nothing but a paper Burger King crown ...

... I might be surprised.

Nothing short of that -- not waking up in the morning to find we are at war in Iran, or that Mexico has been declared the 51st state by fiat, or that marshal law has been declared in all the blue states.

Nothing else out of this administration would surprise me.

It should go without saying that if Cheney pulled the trigger in such a circumstance, and danced naked wearing nothing but a paper Burger King crown, I would not be surprised.

"Corrupt to the core" doesn't begin to say it.

Impeach Bush. Impeach Cheney.



'(You want to) Make a Memory'

Bon Jovi. This song has inspired me to pick up my guitar. The chords are easy and the song is beautiful. Awesome. Dr. ER turned me on to it.


Sunday, July 01, 2007


Dr. ER is in the house!

:-) :-) :-)

Dr. ER flew in Friday night and we went directly to the Cimarron Steak House, which has good steaks at great prices and just enough Western kitsch for me to call it a must for anyone on their ... oh, second or third visit to Oklahoma City.

I do mean that as a compliment. But there is better food in town. But no better steak for the price.

Yesterday, we ran up to Guthrie to go to some junque stores. (The whole dang original downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. Guthrie is one of the towns born overnight during the Land Run of April 22, 1889. Think 1890s Victorian.) She bought a little table for The Hole, which is what she has christened the studio apartment she has in Boulder.

I got a couple of shirts, for $6 apiece, that are suitable for work, with the right tie, or for two-stepping, which Dr. ER, at long last, has promised me she will go do with me sometime.

It has been a serious sore spot since we got married. It's been so long even for me, though, that I do not object to her insistence that we take dance lessons first. Cool.

Last night, I broiled swordfish and boiled some shrimp for our supper.

Yes, breaking bread is so important that it deserves prominent mention. It's communion, after all. And we'd been apart awhile, which will be the routine for quite awhile. We needed to commune.

Speaking of: Dr. ER went me me to church this morning, which made my church year! :-) And it happened to be a Communion Sunday. I was out of town the last two, so was glad to partake today.

The Communion table is wide open at my church. Very cool to be there with She Who Is My Wife, since her own tradition, Roman Catholic, does not have an open table. The point being that we have rarely had opportunity to share this most basic of Christian sacraments.

Then, we went to the mall! And it's not even fricking Christmas! Minor miracle that, for me anyway. I bought three pair of fancy britches (for work), three pair of colored socks (for work) and three new ties. Then we went to Wal-Mart to stock the larder.

Now we're back. And danged if I don't have some work-work to do, so the rest of this week off I can concentrate totally on working on the house, and hanging with Dr. ER, who will be here all week.


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