Creating a Mood With Remotes While a Storm Rages

He gives thanks,
thanks for the remote
that turns on 90.3 Blue Lake
Public Radio and the
classical music he tries
hard to name from memory.
He gives thanks,
thanks for the remote that
turns on the faux fire in the
fireplace and turns up the
fireplace heater to 70
after the furnace is turned
up from 67 to 70 in the
He gives thanks,
thanks for the remote that
turns on the TV and let’s
him see programs ad nauseam
about the progress of the
virus and the lack of progress
of the Administration in combating it.
He gives thanks,
thanks that he and his wife (after
all that sitting 😇) and dog
can leave the house and find trails
to jog on while maintaining a safe physical
distance from others.
He gives thanks,
thanks in the evening for the remote
that lights the fake candles,
which can be put on
constant or flicker depending
on one’s desired mood.
He gives thanks,
thanks that all those remotes
can be used to turn off
all that stuff as he readies
for bed and moves
to turn the furnace back
to 67 before patting the
Chocolate Lab on the head
and saying, “I love you, girl.
Sleep tight; don’t let the
bedbugs bite,” and heading
downstairs where the temp.
will settle out at 57.

The Universe Keeps Expanding

The universe keeps expanding
but we can’t, so it seems
we are contracting —
smaller and smaller,
more and more vulnerable
to all the events expanding
which spells significant trouble
to our notion of importance
especially when in the midst
of that expansion,
a killer virus has no intention
of retraction; it just keeps
keeping on till all in its
path is gone and then we ask
the feckless Feds to do what
they were elected to do —
help keep us safe
in a universe and budget and deficit
while we are constantly contracting —
smaller, smaller, smaller, almost gone.
So, I suppose
that if we are to get any
rest at all, that rest will be
in Thee and Thy eternal love
expanding exponentially.

The Great Unanswerable: How Did He Ever Get Through School?

How did I ever get through school?
I can’t ever remember studying.
Seriously, how did I learn anything?
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
One teacher said, “Your personality will get you through.”
Till then, I had thought that teacher was pretty cool.
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
My French teacher thought I was pretty cute.
She did suggest I get my mouth from around my foot.
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
It remains a great mystery.
It wasn’t social promotion for me.
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
Now, I’m too old to remember.
I just didn’t show up one school year.
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
You’d have to ask my teachers,
But there aren’t any such creatures.
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
The diplomas sit in a dusty box.
I’m certainly not as smart as a fox.
How did I ever get through school?

How did I ever get through school?
Yes, it will forever remain a mystery
for the rest of my earthly history.
Yes, how did he ever get through school?

Those who know him just don’t know….

The Leader With No Dicacity Is No Leader in Any Capacity

In a leader we want sagacity;
in this leader we just get rapacity;
he eats with edacity
and unquenchable voracity
which fills him with fugacity
unto an unbelievable capacity;
he’s the big baby balloon spewing mendacities;
He doesn’t realize he is incarnate nugacity;
in him, there is the absence of perspicacity.
He has no dicacity;
and so, we must retain tenacity
even to the point of pugnacity
in dealing with one so unbelievably nasty.

Yipe! I’ll Never Again Be Skyped

With the lockdown, he’s seeing
people on TV interviewed on Skype.
Yipe! Skype. He thought he
looked horrible on Skype (or
was it Apple’s Zoom?) but
now he has evidence of how
bad people do look and he will
never, ever again use Zoom or Skype
to talk with grandkids, because
he would just gripe about Zoom and Skype
while at his Skyped face, they
would just stare and scream in fright.

Thank the Lord for the Bike Paths All the Time But Especially At This Time

He headed out by car for a jog at
his favorite trails but they were jam-
med with off-road cyclists and
walkers and hikers and joggers
during this shutdown, lockdown,
so he drove to his second favorite
place and jogged among the disk
golf players. On his way home, he
noticed all the walkers and cyclists
along the lakeshore bike paths (most
staying about six feet apart) and he
rejoiced at the foresight and wisdom
of the city/county/township planners.
Who could have known what sanity
savers such paths would be at this
time, a time when cabin fever reaches
a fever pitch (no pun intended) at a
high anxiety time like this.

What to Do When Stuck at Home If You Are Fortunate Enough to Have a Chocolate Lab Named Babe

With things this way,
the Chocolate Lab Babe
and I stay home most of the day and play.
She has stuffed animals with squeakers
and I try to get them away
calling them my babies
and holding them at bay
from her. She can’t stand
that I hold her baby at bay,
so she comes to steal it away.
I rattle the baby, pinch the squeaker
and call the baby mine.
Babe tries to grab her baby away.
I let her have it and she runs away.
I shout and tell her the baby is mine
and she just climbs up into her stuffed chair
with a smug look that says, “All is just fine.
This baby is all mine.”
Round and round we go
because she wants more and more to play.
Finally, she comes and lies by my side
and says I love you with her big brown eyes.
It is then I strike fast
and grab the baby which is her last.
I hold the baby at bay
and then we start over and play
for most of the rest of the day,
until around three-thirty when Babe
says, “It’s time to eat;
just let the babies lay.
we can go back to playing after
I eat and get my post-dinner treat.”
She flashes those big brown eyes
and I’m just a love-struck guy
and just then she grabs the last baby
and says, “This is my prize.”
I say, “Don’t you want to chew a bone?”
She says, “Chocolate Labs shall not live by bones alone.”
I cry, “Uncle!” and tell her she won.
She says, “Now get me my dinner and
then we’ll continue having fun.”

We are Strong Like Shaky Timber*

“We are in the cusp of multiple crises
and we are shaky timber but shaky
timber is the forerunner to courage,”
said the therapist in an interview. Yes,
shaky timber, we are and as such
we are able to sway with the wind,
bend and not break, grow strong
with good roots digging in and hold-
ing tight — we have the courage to
face the multiple crises some of which
are here today with the confidence
and knowledge that others surely are
coming our way. The trees in the forest
do not touch but they watch each other
sway and they say, “Remain strong-
hearted, have courage, this and every

*idea from a YouTube video produced
by First Congregational United Church
of Christ, Phoenix, AZ where Senior Pastor
James Pennington conducts the
interview of a church member and

Thinking Through the Dark

The environment is benefitting
from the CO2 hole in the ceiling,
he wrote several days ago about
what he had read and then just
left it until now. Now, he realizes
that as wonderful as it is that
the environment is benefitting
from fewer and fewer cars on
the road, it is urgent that we do
what needs to be done to save
lives, maybe millions of lives
and then when the lives have
been saved, we can put people
to work, give them job security,
health benefits, ways to save
for retirement with companies
that exist to save the environ-
ment — lives saved, economy
coming back, clean jobs for the
environment. And round and
round it goes, through the dark
into the light, into the dark
and into the light….

Waiting in the Dark*

Barbara Brown Taylor calls times
such as these “endarkenment.”
Instead of seeking the light in
dark times, to be at peace with
the dark, to learn from it, to
absorb it, to become one with
it, to join the community of dark-
ness, those who are afraid, injured,
hurt, vulnerable, despairing and listen
to the children separated from their
parents, listen to Jesus as, in his
state of separation, he cries, “My
God, my God, why have you for-
saken me?” — maybe even say,
“Tell me about it, Jesus. I have all
day, all week, maybe a few months,
hell, the rest of my life. There will
always be darkness somewhere we
can share as we wait to walk in the

*idea from a Richard Rohr
meditation in which he quotes
Barbara Brown Taylor