Thursday, April 29, 2010


This living alone thing really stinks! Ya, I know that there are a lot of things a guy can do alone that are fun and okay to do. Like fly fishing for trout, hiking a fourteener, going to and from work, watching a ball game, and..... showering. It's not the going to and coming home from work, it's the empty house once a guy gets home. That really sucks. So, should I join "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club?" (Beatles).

But, who really wants to belong to a lonely hearts club? Who wants to be lonely? Belonging to a club of lonely people would be worse than being lonely by myself. For those of you who have never been lonely, it is accompanied by a deep ache and longing. There is a void that is not being filled. Call it solitude if you like, but it's not the same. Solitude is a contented aloneness.

So goes life, day after day, week after week. To me it doesn't make a bit of sense. But as Walter Cronkite used to say, "that's the way it is."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Good as Gold

There aren't many things that are as good as gold nowadays. But I know of one thing that is, I mean other than gold, itself. That one thing just happens to be My Starbucks Gold Card! Yes, sir! the card is gold. I had to buy 30 beverages to get this card. And the card does have benefits like, free refills with each visit. So now I can buy a tall (which is a small) for a buck-sixty-eight instead of a Grande (which is a medium) for two-oh-one. Then I can get the free refill (at no cost.... that's why its free). So I can get a hot coffee to go at no cost. Cool.

Hey, I also get a free beverage after 15 purchases, a free beverage for buying a pound of whole bean coffee, a free beverage on my birthday, and a free personalized gold card (the card is not free, I bought a lot of stuff to get it). But the card is as good as gold.... for Starbucks. I got a gold card, but they got my real gold. But the good thing is that coffee helps prevent colon cancer (so I'm told). So, drinking coffee (my favorite beverage) is like an insurance policy against colon cancer. Pretty cheap if it actually prevents colon cancer.

What else can I say? Visit your local Starbucks Insurance Company and buy a policy at $1.50 a cup.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is it About Drivers Lately?

Yesterday, when I needed to get something done, it was really hard getting in done. I had a home owner who stayed home from work so my crew could finish up projects inside and outside his house. But, alas! My crew leader didn't show up on time. In fact, he was two hours late. And only one of the crew members showed up.... the slowest one, of course.

So, I called my crew leader to see what the hold up was. Well, he had to take his wife to the airport. Something he could have told me on Friday, and it is now Monday, and I need him on the job. A couple of hours later I called him again. This time he had gotten rear-ended as he was leaving the airport and he was waiting for the police. Finally, four hours after start time he showed up. We had some jamming to to to get the job done.

But getting the job done required about four trips to the hardware store at the cost of about $250 extra expense. Why is it the 90 year old guy always turns right in front of me. He's not in a hurry to get anywhere and I am. Boy is he not in a hurry! The other guy that gets in front of me is the guy who just bought a car and has one of those stickers in the back window. I know that he is convinced that the sticker says "must drive 10 mph under the speed limit." Because that is exactly what he does...... creating road rage behind him.

No, don't tell me you can talk on your cell phone and be a good driver. I think everyone thinks they can do that. But I average about 100 miles per day around this city and see lots of people yacking on their phones. None of them are good drivers. They swerve, hold up traffic, make turns without signals, and miss their turns. They try the one handed U-turn maneuver while still yacking and and are oblivious to the guy that is about to broadside them.... me. They also don't see the light turn green and they sit there just Yacking. At least the lady who was changing her baby at a stop light had a good excuse. But she still got honked at.

Well, I do admit that I get my share of speeding tickets. But folks, I haven't had an accident since I was a teen-ager, and that one wasn't my fault. I should get a safe driver award along with a discount. In fact, the insurance company should pay me to drive. All these slow drivers on their cell phones cause the accidents. Well, so do jack-knifed semis coming down Floyd Hill and all the idiots on their cell phones going too fast up behind them...... on icy roads. And also that guy from Florida who rear-ended me at a stop light. He couldn't understand how that happened because he had it in 4WD.

Remember when you could send in 4 Wheaties box tops and 50 cents and get a prize? Well, I think that is exactly how a lot of people got their drivers license. It's a fright, now cars are being manufactured with the ability to parallel park themselves because the drivers can't. What next? .... cars that you can talk to? Oh, yeah, I just read an article where Ford is coming out with those pretty soon, too. At least I won't be talking to myself in the car anymore. I understand those cars will talk to us, too. So, will there be a lot of heartbreak when a guy gets rid of his talking car? Who knows, maybe the new car will have sleeker lines, more comfort, and a sexier voice. His wife will be jealous.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Georgetown is one of my favorite places to go. No, I'm not talking about the university town, I'm talking about a little historic town in Colorado Rockies just about an hour from where I live. Take I 70 west of Denver, and before I know it, I am there.

Here there are some pretty rustic restaurants and cafes. There are rock shops, antique shops, clothing shops, a Christmas shop, an old time grocery store where you can actually buy fishballs (yuk), an ice cream and candy shop where they actually make candy, and a soda fountain shop. Today, I thought I came across and new tea shop. It said "tea" on one side of the sign. So I walked in only to discover a woman's boutique.

What I did discover, though, was a soda fountain shop where you could get gourmet coffee, Ice cream sundaes, a certain amount of candy, sweatshirts, tee shirts, blankets, and an array of other things. The hot fudge sundae with real ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry on the top was really good. The coffee was ok, but the gossip was superior. The owner told us about various shops that were closed due to tax evasion, family feuds and the like. She told it all in soap opera fashion. Just a minor part of Georgetown history. I also bought a book which I would not have bought had I been anyplace else. You may get bits and pieces of that in future blogs.

If you need a place to relax, do a different kind of shopping, eat in a rustic cafe, or even have a cup of coffee in a different setting, Georgetown is a nice place to go. Bring your camera because you'll kick yourself if you don't. I can't promise you won't get any slivers when you sit down, though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Everyone needs to vent sometime. Some of us need to vent more than others. I think a lot of it has to do with what kind of job we have and what kinds of problems we encounter. Of course, when we vent, it is alway nice to have someone to vent to, who has nothing to do with the situation. Hopefully, a sympathetic ear. But there are some rules to venting, and also rules to being a listener.

When you are a listener, remember, you are just that. You are not an advisor. The person who is venting doesn't want an advisor.... only a listener. A sympathetic listener. Remember, the venter is getting something off his chest. He's hot under the collar and wants to tell someone why. He's not ready for any advice. So just listen and say something like, "awww, I'm sorry."

Also, as a listener, don't come across like you are taking the other person's side. That spoils the whole venting process. The venter will feel betrayed. Even if you don't agree, at least act like you do.... for a while. Remember, the venter could be venting to someone else. That might make you jealous. So if you want all the venting to come your way.... act interested and sympathetic. Don't worry, the venting will soon be past.

A listener should also not make comments like: "sorry I asked." You might be sorry you asked, but don't say it because now the venter will feel really betrayed.

But as a venter, don't make the person "sorry they asked." Remember, they are doing you a service just listening to you. Don't make listening a miserable experience for them. After all, isn't venting about 50% of what you have to talk about? Abuse the listener and you will be venting to yourself.... that gets pretty lonesome. So don't act like you are angry at the listener, unless of course, you are angry at the listener. But even then, you need to be kind because the listener might start venting back at you. I think they call that arguing.

Remember, venting is just that! Venting! You know you won't do the things you say you ought to do. Hopefully, your listener will know that, too! So after you vent, don't go out and do something stupid. Venting gives you time to not do something stupid, to think your problem through. After you have vented, you will probably realize that a lot of your thoughts are stupid and you will abandon them. The constructive thoughts can be implemented in a calm and peaceful and well thought out manner.

It's important to vent, but equally important to not abuse your listener. I find venting over a Starbucks tones it down quite a bit. It's also good for the economy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ax Man

Last summer I built a deck for one of my customers. But before I built it I had to remove a 10' by 12' slab of concrete. So I hired a company to remove it. It had to be gone by noon because my deck builder was going to start building the deck at that time. The company sent one guy over and promised that a jackhammer would arrive soon. 9:00 AM came and went, and no jackhammer arrived. Finally, at 9:30 we realized there would be no jackhammer. I was starting to get nervous.

I told the man they had sent over that I had my deck builder coming in a couple of hours and that his company was screwing me up. The went over to his truck and got a concrete ax and started whacking away. I thought, ya, sure, this is going to work. But I was surprised, I had never seen concrete get broken up so fast in my life. He kept swinging and the concrete kept breaking. Chips and chunks were flying everywhere. Pretty soon the guy was sweating, but he didn't let up. Within and hour the concrete was a pile of rubble.

The jackhammer guys finally showed up. But all they could do was clean up the mess. My deck builder started on time. I was happy, my deck builder was happy and the guy who broke up the concrete, well..... he was..... also happy. And tired.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Who Broke the Window?

I played a lot of sandlot baseball when I was kid. We'd choose up sides, find a vacant lot and play.... all 8-10 of us. This was one sport where I was never chosen last. And I have a couple of memories from those days, unfortunately, none of them are good.

One game that I was playing with about a dozen guys was in a vacant lot about three blocks from my house. We played there often, the base paths were worn in and the pieces of plywood we used for bases were stored there permanently. I remember I was sliding into home plate. I cracked my head on the ground and knocked myself out. I don't remember if I was safe or out. But is do know I was definitely out. When I came to, both teams were gathered around me. I don't remember much else about that game.

Another incident happened in my own front yard. I had been lifting dumbbells that day and was feeling pretty energetic. So I was tossing a 20 pound dumbbell in the air (I was the dumbbell) catching it and throwing it up again. Well, I missed it this one time and it came crashing down on my big toe. O man, did that ever hurt! Later that day toward evening I was feeling a little better and was catching some grounders my brother was batting to me. I went to scoop up this grounder, stepped on a 2x4 with one foot and kicked it with the other. The same big toe I dropped the dumbbell on kicked the 2x4 and lifted my toe nail. I hurt so bad I was swearing. Dad took me to the emergency room, and that's where the real pain began. The doctor had the nurse swab underneath the toenail with alcohol. It still makes my fingers tingle today to think of that moment. Then the doc grabbed the toenail with a pliers and gave it a good yank! That hurt bad enough to make a terrorist talk.

The third experience I had also happened from my front yard. I threw a ball into the air and whacked it with a bat. I intended to see how far I could hit it into the vacant lot across the street. Man, did that ball sail! Right through the picture window of the house across the street. I immediately ran and hid. But somehow everybody in the neighborhood knew who did it. Surprisingly, this is the one time I didn't get into trouble. The neighbor made my dad vow not to whoop me! And dad really know how to whoop!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Angry White Man

This guy is getting rather old and most people are getting tired of him. He keeps showing up at the most in opportune times spoiling the fun. He always creates a mess and most people run indoors. He makes most people shiver and he just doesn't seem to know when to quit. He's rather irksome, pushes things to the limit, and even causes people to have accidents. Plan something important and he is sure to show up. Because of him people have back aches, numbed fingers, and even heart attacks. I just wish he would go away. He is the true angry, white man. Yes, Old Man Winter, go away and leave us alone for a while.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Farmer Rod. Part 2

Well folks, It has finally happened. Something I never would have imagined.... I became a farmer. The land deal went through yesterday and we have already received $9300 in rent on the land. That's a little over 5% on the cost of the land. I wonder what I am growing this year. Do you suppose I should contact the renter and find out? I hope it's not pot. Wouldn't that be something?

The realtor said there were three other offers on the land since we tendered out offer. That must mean something good. If anyone knows where Climax, Minnesota is, that is where the land is. I suppose I should go up there and watch the corn grow. Have a cup of coffee if they have a coffee shop. Have a sandwich if they have that. One thing for sure, though.... they have no Starbucks. The Scriptures say that the day will come when a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold. When that time comes you might find me there selling bread. The two most expensive things on the planet will be bread and Starbucks Coffee. People will be running to us wanting to trade in their old used jewelry for a loaf of bread. But guess what? The land is clear and free.... but the house is not.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Communion

I am somewhat alarmed about the modernization of the sacrament of holy communion. As we read Scripture we know that Jesus took a loaf of unleavened bread and broke it and also passed it around to all the of the disciples. He then took the cup, drank from it and passed it around to all of the disciples. Thus they all drank from the same cup and ate from the same loaf. The bread, of course representing his body that was to be broken on the cross of calvary, and the wine representing his blood that was shed there for our sins. Therefore today all Christian churches observe the sacrament of holy communion.

Although the symbols of wine and unleavened bread still mean the same today, the methodology of communion has changed in a lot of churches. When I was growing up and attended the Brainerd Gospel Tabernacle (Assemblies of God) communion made up a significant part of the church service the first Sunday of each month. A tray with the bread, usually broken unleavened crackers was passed up an down the pews, which was followed with a tray of little communion glasses (made of glass) which were filled with the juice of the grape. A significant amount of time was spent with this ceremony and communion was received with great gravity.

Then came along the individual pre-made wafer, which did not look at all like broken bread. It was a little tough to chew and certainly needed something to wash it down. This was followed by using disposable communion cups made of plastic, rather than genuine glass. It just seemed to cheapen the ceremony a little more. Then came the communion cup that came from the factory already filled with grape juice with a sealed peel-off top. I felt like that made the communion service a little awkward and, well.... cheesy. I had a hard time peeling that little film off the top.

But now, we have advanced to the place where they hand you your communion as you come in through the door. It has a little plastic cup filled partway with juice, with a peel-off top. And on top of that is a tough little wafer that is also covered with an additional peel-off top. And by the way, would you please throw it in the trash as you go out the door.

Although the symbolism is the same, something very important is lost in the ceremony. I believe it is that scared, quiet moment before God as each man examines his own heart. I found myself examining ways I could actually peel back the the peel-back tops rather than savoring the moment before God.

While I am glad I am not drinking from the same cup as the guy with the flu or Hep C, I am also not glad that I am peeling little labels with my numb little fingers, becoming frustrated instead of settling into a peace at the moment I have with God Himself.

What do you think?

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Doctor

The woman was standing outside her place of work when a bullet whizzed past her and smashed into the brick wall. The next bullet hit her in the hand and she quickly ran inside. Yes, she ran inside the hospital where she worked as an anesthesiologist. Another doctor dressed her wound. In time her hand would fully heal. When asked if she was a target, her answer was "no". It was election time and things were getting a little out of hand.

About three weeks later the emergency room of that same hospital was overrun by dozens of people. Emergency surgeries were being performed. Lives were being saved and some were being lost. This same doctor was administering anesthetics as the surgeons were operating. A bomb had gone off in a market place. And when people gathered to see what had happened and to help, another bomb went off killing dozens more. 36 people ended up in emergency care, over half of which were children. A boy of 9 had two pieces of shrapnel imbedded in his body, was trying very hard not to cry because crying was for girls. It was heartbreaking for the hospital emergency staff. And it was heartbreaking for those who lost moms and dads and children.

This is Iraq. This is life at it's norm. They live with the fear of this happening every single day of their lives. Today could be their last day. Tomorrow's dreams may never come true. And anyone and everyone may be a target. And this is not against any religious or ethnical group. Muslims, Christians, and others are all victims of this terrorism. And why is this happening? It seems that no one knows for sure. The terrorists are doing what they do best.... terrorizing and killing as many as they can. There seems to be no goal or purpose, only death and destruction. And no one is safe. Many are giving up hope that they will ever be able to live in peace. Nearly every family has tasted the bitterness of death.

Elections are corrupted. The Iraqis know none of the candidates, who they are, what they stand for, whether they are enemy of foe. Henchmen go door to door asking the people who they will vote for. The wrong answer may mean you are dragged into the street and are beaten or even shot. Or they may just shoot you. Most Iraqis don't vote at all because a vote the wrong way could mean death.

Iraqi Christians attend a church that is close by. Too many Christians were killed on their way to or from church. So Christians of all denominations gather to the closest one. But they do attend.

As Americans are basically fed up with the war in Iraq, and as we pull our soldiers out of that country, let us keep in mind several things. First of all, not all Iraqis are terrorists. The vast majority are the terrorized. They are people just like you and I who want to live normal, peaceful lives. Secondly, we have it so good in America. We are yet the greatest country in the world because we have a free society. We should never be apologetic for who were are. We are still the envy of the world, the place where people want to come. And, finally. We should never hide our faces from the sufferings and injustices in this world. We must remain a compassionate country.