Friday, November 05, 2010

My Christmas Wish List in a Down Economy

In light of our trillions of dollars of debt, with nearly 15 million people out of work, and the very real threat of a double-dip recession here is my wish list of gear for the uncertain future.

Please note you'll see no 12' sarissa, no gilded pillum, you'll not even see a long bar chain saw (all for potential zombie action!). The future I see is one of very tight economic belts, of continued job loss, and a very depressed and devalued dollar.

So without further ado, my list:

$50 worth of junk silver (preferably pre-1964 dimes, and $50 by no means has to be the cap):)
Pistol ammo in any of the major calibers
.22 ammo
12 Gauge ammo
Thermal underwear (the under armour or Cabelas house brand)
The last two Wheel of Time books by Brandon Sanderson (or any good book for that matter)
Craftsman bow saw with replacement blades
Craftsman Metric wrench set (I already have the standard)
Fiberglass handled shovels (square and round nose)
8 lb maul and splitting wedge
Blue Fox #2 spinner baits
Spools of 8 lb mono fishing line
Leather work gloves
Wheelbarrow
Large box of bicycle tube patches (vulcanizing rubber type)
Wool Blankets (the old mil surplus)
A dozen 5-6 gallon food grade buckets
Gamma seal lids
Roll of 4-5 mil contractor bags
Roll of Visqueen
4-5 rolls duct tape
#10 can of survival seeds (heirloom quality, non-hybrid)
5 Gallon bucket of Utah honey

And I nearly forgot, a box of aluminum foil from Costco (the large roll), so I can continue to make those foil beanies so the aliens/gov't won't be able to read my brainwaves (sarcasm of course, they can both see right through tin/aluminium foil) ;)

-Jay

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Update

I've been busy writing old school thoughts in my moleskine, too busy at work to spend a few moments to check anything but work email, let alone personal email, or even *gasp* my blog.

Apologies reader.

My writing has been reduced--between work, parenting, the odd few hours I can help Melissa with her canning, and repairing my bicycle (don't ask)--to jotting a few tittles in my black leather notebook.

Loose prose, ideas about stories ranging from Zombies to more mundane, shopping lists, rants. Very little of my writing has been electronic, not even in forum posts.

I've been throwing firewood, cleaning dust bunnies, folding laundry, kissing boo-boos, draining a swamp cooler, avoiding the overgrown front lawn, picking grapes, oogling pistols on ksl.com, reading survivalblog.com, and sleeping.

I will try to be better about posting here, meantime share a bit what you've been up to, will you?

-Jay

Monday, September 27, 2010

In our age of throw-away everything, the the Ball Mason Jar should serve as a revelation. Something to be reused repeatedly, passed down the generations even. When was the last time you used something 50 years old to store food? I did, and just last night. The Ball Mason Jar wold seem to be a constant in that all too ethereal world of food production; it should serve to play the same idea with all our things.

Am I suggesting that a handheld or a stereo should be functional after fifty years? No, but shouldn't something at the very least be able to be re-engineered and re-employed? If the half life of an electronic device is 2 years, what does that say to our attention spans?

We are meant for far greater, we are meant for more.

-Jay Blair

Monday, August 30, 2010

I am up too late and reading about the Circus which seems to have set up its tent in our government. The only thing missing are the salt peanuts

Tums, anyone? If you've got 'em, do pass me three. I prefer the mixed berry; we buy them in bulk from Costco.

What is it about the lunacy with money we've got going on? Why am I smelling a very nasty red herring? Why does Mr Ben think printing off a few more sheets of green and white Christmas wrapping paper and throwing it out there to the bankers will help? Why doesn't our President fully embrace the unemployment numbers, give credence to the unloading of T-bills by the Chinese, discuss the horrid housing market, and most of all leave the &@*^ private market alone? Why doesn't he allow the companies to painfully fail and new ones to come up in their place?

I realize some of our problems have been around a while. I realize my ramblings are on subjects that no magic bullet will fix. I also realize I am no socialist. I am conservative with a bent of libertarian. My blog is heavily flavored with those two seasonings.

I feel frazzled by our President (oh, and I don't care if he is Christian or Muslim, BTW), frazzled by our former President (erosion of privacy anyone?), and trying to find any glimmer of hope in the House, the Senate, or the Judicial branch of our government (on a side note, I am glad that Chicago v McDonald panned out the way it did).

Anyone else left wondering what the hell is happening to their country?

Time to buy some food stuffs humans, if you already haven't. It is time to pick up a few extra tins of stuff at the market, perhaps purchase a basic first aid kit, or acquire a 72 hour kit or bug out bag.

If you are one of the types who thinks this'll all pass--that your 401K is sacrosanct, that your pension is iron clad, or even that folks who prepare for things are a bit on the nutty side, I beg you to reconsider. If it even seems just a bit too much, do a google search for prepping or food storage, and try taking a few baby steps. Get your house in order. Even if it is just a little bit of something.

Even better, try to grow some stuff. Dig a little bit of your lawn out and plant some tomatoes (they'll taste better than store bought). You can thank me later.

The belts are gonna tighten farther folks, and being conservative with your funds is the smart hedge. That and it is pretty damn difficult to cook and eat a 50" OLED TV.

-Jay

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Work called during my vacation--I missed it, but heard the voicemail. Gotta love when a manager asks if you're 'making a colleague reinvent the wheel' because you forgot and neglected to complete a task.

Perhaps I am simply being persnickety about it. Perhaps my perception is not quite so black and white, and work is more of a gray area. Perhaps I am overreacting, and work with its plethora of veiled allusions really can be left at the door when one leaves the office.

With cell phones, no vacation is sacred, not even one in the mountains.

Yes Mr Hunt (legal speak: all names bearing any semblance to reality in this blog are pure happenstance, and in no way reflect any knowledge of the author of said work), I did not complete the report you foisted on me. No, I did not do it in hopes my colleague would be obligated in completing it. Yes, if you must know I do believe the scrambling of 60+ lives which my changing their schedules will do is asinine. No, I don't want to tell you where to shove your favorite Bic pen. And no, that wasn't my feces in your breakfast cereal last Friday.

Oy. What is it with middle management that makes them think of their workers as assets and liabilities? Why is it that people tend to be dehumanized in filling the jobs they have been hired to do? What is it about the office environment that makes a manager's words holy writ; and since we're asking a bunch of midnight philosophical questions, what happens when the inevitable pendulum changes that holy manager touch to the caress of leprosy?

I am no union goon--I do not advocate or endorse the backroom deals and threats accompanied by the sound of cracking knuckles. I do believe in respect, in fair opportunity and fair dispersal of work, in working hard, and completing the job. I also believe in folks leaving on vacation and having a break from the company and not being harassed by the company while on vacation. People work hard and deserve a break. I don't hold other folks' feet to the flame when they vacation; I expect others to extend the same courtesy for me.

Not too much to ask? A modicum of respect--a nice break where a manager treats one with benign neglect and allows that one to recharge the batteries. Allows them to pause before girding back up in business causal, arming himself with a red swingline stapler (they're better than the Boston stapler!) and a TPS report coversheet and leaping back into the fray.

But ladies and gentlemen, as I have said before, I am merely an unfrozen caveman lawyer, your world frightens and confuses me!

And on that note, my fictional philosophical ramblings are all posted out in algore's cyberspace. I am headed for bed.

'Gnight humans

-Jay

Sunday, August 08, 2010

It's been nearly a month since my last post, the rant about 'Inception' (I still feel it is a worthy film, btw, even after a month's worth of percolation). What have I been up to?

Time with Melissa and our kids

Work

Writing in my Moleskine

Driving in my paid for suburban with the windows rolled down (no AC)

Gardening

What are my recent developments?

I've cut the umbilical with Facebook--I log in maybe once a week to check updates

I have started lifting weights again

I finally got around to seeing "Despicable Me", "Shrek 4", and "Ironman 2"

I opened a checking account after going all cash for nearly three months

My kids have lost four teeth, gained 12 teeth, and think CTR rings come from the tooth fairy (LOL!)

I finally read Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" trillogy

I got a case for my ukulele

I learned about Philip Achille

I watched all the "Survivorman" DVDs

I got to shoot my new rifle

I finally got around to cleaning the toilets (sorry babe!)

I got to help my cousin Sara in her two day yard sale/fund raiser (who knew Cache County had such good yard sale traffic?)

The grapevine I planted 3 years ago finally has fruit on it!

I picked blackberries and apricots

My garden is doing well

-Jay

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nolan's 'Inception'

If you only see one film this year, go see 'Inception'

I just came back from a midnight showing of the film. What a vision!

The writing, the score, the execution. Nolan should get an Oscar. The writer should get an Oscar. DiCaprio should get an Oscar.

It's vision is still fresh in my mind--the film is perhaps one of my top five now and I am picky.

Without elaborating anything, I insist that you watch the movie. Watch it and share your thoughts.

I am predicting a royal flush at Oscar...this film is going to sweep the Oscars.

-Jay

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Someone I know through the Internets has a handle of treatmewithbenignneglect

This is they way I feel--leave me alone, let me succeed, and don't fetter me with a zillion rules.

Let me be able to win or lose; let me do it myself.

I worry that we are a society who props up folks instead of letting them fail miserably. Why the artifice? Is it truly as one Woman in power said she's "in keeping with the values of Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh."

Why do I disagree with the rhetoric? When someone says they are doing something, they should mean it, not just spin it.

I don't believe Nanci Pelosi. I don't believe that they are doing these forced changes out of respect for us.

I believe they do these things because they believe we cannot govern ourselves. That we cannot choose things which are free and good and autonomous.

And that scares me.

So if it comes to that, I just might have to change my handle to treatmewithbenignneglect as well.

Let me be please, let me be free.

-Jay

Friday, May 07, 2010

Psalm

Oh God, I feel as if I were at times as Saul--the jaded angry king who can do no right thing, young usurper looking over my shoulder, satan ever handy with a vial of hemlock, so quick to tip it into my ear. Oh how music to soothe!

Work has been arduous lately. The past eighteen months have taxed me; one set of demands after another, escalating ad nauseum, moment after moment of apology, scrambling, scuttlebutt.

I make a sincere effort to be a husband and father when I am home, but most of the time I just feel fatigued. From work at work and more at home, and Saul creeps along the floorboards of my heart, occupying more space than David; calmed so strangely.

I know I sound cliche, even mundane. Millions have gone before me, spending their lives working at things they don't want to do. They worked and felt the waxing shadow of a spectre over their shoulder, felt the weight of a poised axehead above their heads and yet pressed on. Why should I be any different? Why should I feel I deserve more than they?

David played the lyre and Saul was comforted. David turned to God and Saul was angry.

I find myself seeking silent moments more often. I thank you for this God. I have been trying to speak less and listen more without interrupting the other speaker. Weighing their words not just for my own rebuttal, but for merits sake. I bite my tongue more, and the smart is not so great. Please take from me the bitten remark, the swallowed pride, the suppressed opine.

Perhaps oh Lord thou will make me more humble yet. I ask that my anger be drained away and a peace be there in it's stead. That my restless heart be calmed, my ear so filled be able to pick out the simple strains of wind in the pine boughs, the call of a meadowlark, the whisper of sun on my face and shoulders and hands.

Take this from me oh God, these threatening moments of despair. I give them to you. Take from me the thoughts of bleakness. Instead plant in me a hope for a better day. Take this slump from my shoulders. Make my back as a rod of iron. Take from me these downcast eyes. Fix my sight on the brazen serpent, my heart upon the treasures of heaven, my feet upon the straight and narrow way. Take from me this lonely stool. Set a chair at thy table, even a lowly one in an outer room, and pleased I'll rest in thy house.

Oh Lord make me a young David and not a Saul. Take my heart and whisper to it through the fire; and comfort me as I am fashioned form ore to gold. Selah

-JRB

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 25, 2010

I want to share a little bit about myself tonight.

It's 23:11 at night, after a very busy but wonderful day. Today was my birthday and Melissa and I hosted a shindig at our apartment. We wanted to go to church this morning, and last night Graham was up throughout the night due to a combination of teething, a low-grade fever, and the flu (poor kid!). Needless to say both Melissa and I slept poorly, and the one person who saved us was my Dad (who is in town for a month-long visit, staying at each of his children's homes for 3-4 days). Dad and his impressive Uno skills kept the kids preoccupied for nearly two hours while Melissa Graham and I slept in.

Church was filling. It felt like the speaker was delivering a message tailored directly for me. The speaker was a recently returned missionary who spoke about God's will and how we should pray for that instead of asking for something which could potentially hurt another (for example asking for a day without rain when in reality the desert needs any rain possible). This struck a chord within me; I often feel I can compel God. Thankfully He is patient in my learning. :)

We prepared the house yesterday and continued to prep things after church, clearing out little clutter zones which have accumulated over the past 5-6 months. For me, cleaning is a panacea--not only does it have the obvious benefit of getting the house in order but I feel a mental weight lift as the little "get to it laters" are finally done.

I got to assemble a trampoline in the back yard (inherited from Melissa's folks), marinade chicken, clean the grill and set up chairs on the lawn. I felt ready for the family to visit.

Finally everyone arrived and I began the bratwurst, hot dogs and chicken. The food was a hit, the conversation great, and I got to be surrounded by a bunch of folks I think the world of. By the time the birthday song was sung I realized how real was all their love. It struck me like a hammer blow as they sung and I was humbled. How fortunate a man! What a great family I belong to! What a legacy I have come from!

My eldest sister, Anna had put together a few photo albums about our ancestors; my father as a youth, my great great great grandmother as a child, a newspaper clipping of my great grandfather's last day in court, right before he passed, arguing a case. How near that veil separating me from the afterlife today--It seemed a spiderweb across my face, and if I merely reached for it, pushing it away like a nussiance that I could lift it and see them all, My ancestors who care about their progeny. Forbears who lived, gathered at sibling birthday parties of their own, laughed, loved and died. I know they still ive on in the next world.

To them I write; I've not heard your voice nor known the inflections of it, but I feel as if I should, as if the time and space between us is naught and we have sat and eaten together, visiting in animated fashion about this or that. Your face is mine, and mine yours; my passions and interests most likely none too different. May hap my hand and yours, palms pressed together (as often a child will do) would show the same size and shape, handprints swirling is symphony, mirrors of one another.

This is a time for me to reflect; 32 years of life, years of moments, years of family around me, seen and unseen, my life moving from landmark to milestone as if in a dream. It occurs to me that those first dates in high school were half a life ago. Further that my childhood, such a foil compared to my sons, was twenty five years ago. My future, an easy to read map in the topography of my father's face; each crease and wrinkle spelling out a worry for his seven children, each furrow in his brow a contour line closer and closer in elevation.

One can learn a lot about self when surrounded by family, when surrounded by photos of their past, when surrounded by thoughts of how dear each heart is.

Absent tonight were Becky, Mom and Ma'am. I thought about you three and hope may hap you'll read this--knowing you were thought of, realizing you are loved, feeling you were missed. If I could hug you all I would, happy to see ach of you, glad to be near each of you.

It is late--the dog is snoring, his belly overfilled with a half dozen child-spilled hot dog and buns. All in the house are abed and I should be too, yet I write. I write to thank God for the life He gave me, for the great blessing of my family, and for the atonement of Christ. I thank Him for 32 years, and for the prospect of however many more He sees fit to send my way.

And for that, today was a wonderful birthday.

-Jay

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If you live in the Rockies and don't like the weather, just wait a few hours.

It was snowing this morning and now it's 60. Oh the joys of spring!

-Jay

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Altruism and the Boy

I was surprised tonight by someone. Someone I suppose I shouldn't have been startled by, yet it still happened. I was about my business and this person commented something cutting, on the fly, while they passed.

I wondered at it, wondered at the action this person took by venting such spleen, marveled at the fact that a change, any change, had elicited such a reaction. Why?

Is it the economy? I realize folks want more for less in today's market; it is that way straight across the board. That housing, retail, service industry, shareholder profits and cost cutting all add up to a great strain on people working in them. These all are great places to catch the pulse of a nation under financial duress.

These financial woes trickle down to the lowest man; do they justify foul language and callous attitude? Do the daily pressures the bottom breadwinners feel justify such action? Could the incident I had today be justified in any rational way?

I realize the path of the human heart is a maze. Through self-talk we justify anything. Through auto rationalization we embrace our actions. These combine over time and the experience builds our reality.

But how do these realities and our pseudo-empiricism mesh when brushed up against another very different cognizance on how life works? And where does the responsibility lie in the teaching?

As I age I see how patterns of selfishness in my past led me to believe in a certain reality. I realize I could simply justify my own actions or even insert substitute actions to suit my need. I rested at night on a pillow of my own naive invention.

I am by no means altruistic; reader please realize this fact. But I wonder at what point does the teacher painfully lead the learner along a path that will only result in odium on one of their parts? Does the teacher owe the student the pain that will bring them along the path to self-enlightenment?

Prometheus knew the price of fire, yet he gave it to man. What if Narcissus had been warned by that same sage? If in fact Prometheus had explained that pains of the liver were worth the realization that self was not the ultimate and only creature? Brought the child to the realization that the results were worth the possibility of eternal daily agony?

Narcissus, dear boy, hearken to my sage-like words. Your pains to come from today will teach you something if you will see it.

I hope you can open your eyes and behold it, despite the very possible pending anguish.

-Jay

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Is Jay Inactive? Does He Still Believe?

I am writing this on Easter Weekend, while some thoughts about a recent conversation my wife had concerning our church attendance are still fresh.

Pardon my rough-hewn planks of thought; if you know me, I am the atavistic sort, not quick witted, but have to think and edit, pounding out my thoughts instead of speaking them freely.

I want to allay some fears about me.

I may not be a super active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I believe. I believe in the divinity of the Book of Mormon. I believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ the Savior appeared to the boy Joseph Smith as he knelt and prayed. I believe in the power of the Priesthood. I believe God, my Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

I feel my savior Jesus Christ's love. I know he atoned for me, died and was resurrected for me.

I love my family, I love my wife, I love my kids. I want to be with them forever.

I am not by any means a saint, I cuss, I sin, I fail at times. But I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and I look forward to the resurrection when all knees will bow and all tongues will confess that He is the Christ. I look forward to His Millennial reign.

To my family out there who may wonder about me, please don't. I believe. I acknowledge Thomas S Monson as the prophet, I love the Book of Mormon.

I love you all and want you to not worry about me. Pray for me, absolutely! I will continue to pray for all of you. If we are all praying for each other, what time is there for worry? Melissa and I keep you all in our prayers.

I am thankful to my loving Father in Heaven for so very much and am hopeful that He will always lead me to Him.

Thanks for listening and Happy Easter

-Jay

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I had an anonymous letter sent to me when I was a struggling youth, and the words have come to mind again in light of all the upheaval in the media/government.

For people of faith the background should be familiar

When you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
When in spite of all you can do
There is no way back, there is no way ‘round,
There is no other way but through
Then trust in the Lord with a faith supreme
‘Till the night and the storms are gone.
He will still the winds, He will part the waves,
and He'll say to your soul,
‘Go on!’


The poem is attributed to an unknown author.

-Jay

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interesting article from Beck on Che, Socialism, Communism and Nazis:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583732,00.html

Monday, March 29, 2010

A bit of prose I neglected to upload:

At Sea

I found my place today
A tiny postage stamp of teak
Under the lifeboats, beside the salt spray
A miniscule nook of a place
Away from the throbbing music
And the throbbing pulse of youth
My solitude in itself an irony~
As only steel and glass, and a corner turned
And I’d moved from that chaos people choose
To the intimacy of the sea
The cool side of the ship, the blue water slipping darkly past
Rhythm of waves broken by the stern
Boiling white in cobalt blue
What an odd place,
Looking up at the hulking mass of lifeboat
Orange prisoner in Sisyphean chains
Cursed to remain, cursed if used.
And we’re headed south, just off Mexican shores
Bookended by horizon to horizon with no land in sight
The east side of the boat is cool
And the west side of the boat hot
Warmer side still dark, yet mixed from a palate to a lighter shade
Tumbling crests the trillions of Poseidon’s jewels
Facets changing to uncut stone and back again
Such a magician’s act!
I could stare at the sea in its many faces
And see the face of my lover, see the scope of her time
See her in the storms and the calm,
Her hair the great waving expanse
Her breath the brine of life
As if she were blushing Venus, newly stepped from the shell.
No, my life is not found in the gathering events of masses
Mine is found under the lifeboats, beside the salt spray
A tiny nook of a place
Away from the throbbing music of youth
A steel and glass column turned,
And moving from the chaos people choose
To the savage beauty of the open sea
Down sleek white ship sides into the blue,
Knifing through the dark
Boiling white meeting cresting cobalt blue

Jay
3-7-10

Fish and Man

I fed fish today
No, not the exact sort of activity you may suppose
A pinch of flake food poised above a glassy sided tank—
No, I was among them, in their watery element
An air breather thus positioned by contrivance
A mask, plastic fins, and a snorkel
But the fish didn’t seem to mind
They happily joined me to dine on scraps of sandwich and cereal
Taking in and accepting; my black shirt and plaid shorts
All too like their own coloring
Sleek dark bodies and bright yellow caudal fins
They torpedoed in from the dark, fire in their quizzical eyes
The eyes compelled me, spoke to me
Those orbs were filled with life; were not the eyes that a fisherman sees on shore
The eyes of a dying thing
These held the spark of noumen in their element
And I felt privy to something God already knows
That all beings are intelligent~
They were quick to come to my little feast, and slow to leave, ghosting along
Hesitant to leave, like the puppy that refuses to stop playing
After this stranger strokes it.
These all were my pets today while I fed them
And I was the one behind the glass this time
The alien in their world
They were kind enough not to tap on my mask
Happy to oblige me in my feast
This alien visitor in their watery world
Supplanted son of the same Creator
Sharing a snack in their world.

-Jay
3/9/2010

Traveling

Transplanted today
From wave and gull and sea
To the desert
Greasewood, barrel cactus and Joshua tree
Makes me want to bless this land
Land of many places
Land of people with pride of place
Straight highways
Dust brown desert mountains black with shadows
‘tis home that we are headed for
no strange land where strange tongue rolls
but home, home, spoken by familiar tongues
the voices of my children
Hyrum, Madolin, Miles, Graham
A place fixed; nothing moving, polar as the north star
Our ultimate destination
Transplanted no more
At home in our Deseret
With the leaves of my progeny all around me

-Jay
3/12/2010
For a little cross pollenation, please go find me on www.facebook.com

-Jay
Book finished this week

Shooter by Sgt. Jack Coughlin, Lt. Casey Kuhlman, and Donald A. Davis, ISBN-13: 978-0312336868

I started a book this morning, the final installment of the Fablehaven series, Keys to the Demon Prison (ISBN-13: 978-1606412381) by Local Utah author Brandon Mull. it is fast fun reading with a moral message; I hope to finish this one tonight and then on to an book co-authored by Tony Dungy.

The Dungy book is titled Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, ISBN-13: 978-1414318028

-Jay

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wow...just, wow.

"This might be the most dangerous monologue I've ever done, because I'm telling you now: They need you to be violent. They are begging you for it. You are being set up. Do not give them what they want. I saw a report earlier today on Fox about how congressmen are getting death threats because they voted for the health care bill.

I am telling you: Do not become them! Not only is it completely nuts and wrong, it's exactly what they want. That's what they did!

They have dropped the radical pose for the radical ends. Don't play into their script: They need you to become them.

I know it is extremely frustrating right now and they are doubling down, but do not give them what they want. Remain who you've always been: A decent, religious and moral people. Don't pick anything up except your religious scripture.

Our country is in real trouble. Radicals are poking and prodding. Get on your knees. Beg for forgiveness for our arrogance and for how we've disregarded our freedoms.

I have said on the program before: Expect miracles in our lifetimes. I'm telling you, you will see them. There are tough times ahead, but the only weapon in our arsenal we need is God. Beg him for guidance and help. He will take care of everything else."


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,589943,00.html

-Jay

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fiction Braindump 3/24/2010 @ 0355

In my dreams it is always the same; places I know. Not all are familar as my boyhood home, some are as vague as the doc we stood on before boarding the great cruise ship bound for mexico. In the dream today we are at the Preston rodeo and it is summer. The stadium is filled but none of the people have faces, at least none that are dicernable. Each one I look at is indistinguishable, as if I am looking too closely at a Vah Gogh painting and each layer and swoop marking the lines in their faces.

In the dream you have just excused yourself to the bathroom, yet I feel the panic building. Dreams have that way about them; time skewed, reality warped. Have you just stood up or have I been sitting here for hours while you were away?

The children are nowhere to be seen. I smell popcorn, and my cheek is still sticky where the littlest one touched me; his hands smearing gooey caramel on my rough face. He always has sticky fingers, that one.

These dreams are disturbing for the great swooping motions of sociality. One moment we are together and the next it is as if the stadium is quiet; the stands empty save for wrappers and stale popcorn, the lights out and a cricket chirping in the juxtaposition of stillness. The constant contradiction of nature in a filled and then emptied venue holds me. I am stayed by the change, the animus of the place lost with the absence of people.

It's akin to the way a worn pair of jeans must feel when missing the legs that filled them for years after being cast off. If jeans and empty benches are like cast shells on the beach; washed up, empty, mere husks of what they were when life was in them.

My dreams continue along a familiar plane as I stand to search for you, flashing to places we have been; the old apartment, the movie theater where we stood and walked out of chicago to the snickering of the couple in the row behind us at our conservative audacity, in the cab of our long gone Jeep.

My call is the cry of a shore bird and yours the quiet whisper of the sea against the hull of a boat; and I am gone, the air, the salt spray, gone. Pelagic wandering albatross searching for a spar to rest on.

-Jay

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thank you Dad for sending this email to me. If you check your sources you will find this is no false chain mail.

Mr Hall's words make me sad for the direction America is currently taking. I do realize many of the educated are wearing Che t-shirts and applauding the social health bill that was passed yesterday. The direction America took Sunday is one they want. I am not one of them and am saddened by this path we appears poised on--the Social programme.

I do believe in God and hard work. Hopefully God will give us time to fix the issues that plague our freedoms. The road ahead is going to be an interesting one.

-Jay

"I'm 63 and I'm Tired" by Robert A. Hall

I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Christian people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.

I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why
people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don't think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.

I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially
the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military.... Those are the citizens we need.

I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls
were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.

I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet.

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught.

I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Vietnam Veteran (Marines) who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. His blog can be read here: "http://www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 15, 2010

I want to share with you all what I have been reading, and will post a weekly update of the books I finished

That being said, here are the books I completed last week:

The English Patient (ISBN:978-0679745204)

A Bride Most Begrudging (ISBN: 978-0764200724

Jay

Friday, March 05, 2010

we'd a late winter snowfall
last night, and a quiet night
no wind to stir the branches
nor breeze to craze the entire-filled chain link
(each now a study in lacework)
all lines of sight stand out in relief
every thing muted to black and white
I scraped the walk
in the colorless silence
my dampened steel blade ringing
in close proximity
After I was done, I let the dog out
and stood watching the new cornices on the roof
(where yesterday there were none!)
A crack then, from the neighbor's Elm
and I waited, watching the tree
a slight breath of wind began to stir
three more times the tree spoke out
each single crack, spaced some minutes in between
that single syllable spoken in the stillness
each time breaking the nervous silence between us
and suddenly the Sumac between us shook itself
and loosened a branch load of snow to the ground
interrupting our tacit exchange
meantime the flakes continued to fall
on this late winter day of March
building up, breaking down, transcending everything

-Jay
3-5-10

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Quote of the Day

"The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful being. His duration reaches from eternity to eternity; His presence from infinity to infinity. He governs all things."-Sir Isaac Newton

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

we children of a blessed clime
drinking mead from golden horns
so many grapes spilling across our chins
that each wears pearly beards of fruit

what plenty in this place
so much and more, a moveable feast
3.79 million square miles
far hills lost to the curve of the earth

so strange the virgin land once was
no blade had cut that new found loam
and dusty years belied it's new world youth
languidly lost in tales of time

How now this aged place become
the dirty fields and oily roads
those youthful years so far behind
and sighing, sets it down to rest

how like a life this land has grown
how anthropomorphic in it's age
that it's bones should be human and old
fissures and liver spots, loss of hair

where is that bride of my youth?
oh where the America of olden dreams
that austere continent, whos dark thatches
remained blushingly hid, not brazenly open

time changes place, and space
new mead carries semblances to the taste of old
and romance and longing for a time unknown
longs to supplant that root to my own place

today I wonder at today's own morn
this bit of time I call the present;
a time when things and jealousies rule
and lands and homes carry less and less

what plenty abides still in this land!
so much and more, a moveable feast
and we children rasied at this table edge
unknowing famine for that cust of bread

mark us out oh mighty God
true owner of that golden horn
give each of us our daily scone
and place thy hands upon our crowns

remake this land a mighty place
a changing place both tumultuous and calm
and wake this beauty from dusty age of sleep
to raise her banners up to the skies

-Jay
3-3-10

How to Find Happiness: 7 Timeless Tips from the Last 2500 Years

Some of my favorites:

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." -Abraham Lincoln

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." -Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet." -James Oppenheim

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Linky

-Jay

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Peregrine

last night I dreamt of hope
fragile bird
and that dream, so easily confused
blocked out by murder, hatred, greed
flew off till it sat in a tree
waiting patiently for the din to quell
the horror to pass
what macabre visions we acclimate to!
birds wings and bones were never meant
to carry great weight
to harness horrors
their honeycomb densities,
quills and pinions were made for the wind
and yet this hope remains
updrafts pulling me from branches
spiralling up, away from the charnel slopes
away, away into glassy dome of freedom

-Jay
2/24/10

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ship Tracking

Here is a fun little tool:

Cruise ship I will be on 2/6/10 is the Carnival Elation, headed to Cabo, Mex.

Track here:

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/default.aspx?centerx=30¢ery=25&zoom=2&level1=140#

-Jay

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

-John Adams

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,586023,00.html
Mel Gibson as Graham Hess in the movie Signs:

"People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is a fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Collapse of the euro is 'inevitable': Bailing out the Greek economy futile, says FRENCH banking chief

Link

"Strategists at Paris-based Société Générale said that any bailout of the stricken Greek economy would only provide 'sticking plasters' to cover the deep- seated flaws in the eurozone bloc.

The stark warning came as the euro slipped further on the currency markets and dire growth figures raised the prospect of a 'double-dip' recession in the embattled zone.
The bailout of Greece will only act as a 'sticking plaster' for the Euro crisis, the bank warned today

Claims that the euro could be headed for total collapse are particularly striking when they come from one of the oldest and largest banks in France - a core founder-member.

In a note to investors, SocGen strategist Albert Edwards said: 'My own view is that there is little "help" that can be offered by the other eurozone nations other than temporary, confidence-giving "sticking plasters" before the ultimate denouement: the break-up of the eurozone.'"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Dawn

Ho Eos, rosy dactylos parting dawn
mark these curtains and part them
torchbearer against the mirk
standardbearer to this chariot
as fingers part that shroud
bring life and animation
there can be no oracle without light
no illumination by muses without fire
only languid Promethian pools~
bold Nyx flees from thee,
the only to stand against Zeus and live
and so part Aether now
and light rule the day!
Ho Eos, red-fingered dawn
cleaver of inky shades
harbinger of day
light the reed torch
and loosen these reins!

-Jay
2-5-10

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

This song can be heard here

Sgt. McKenzie
by Joseph Kilna McKenzie

Original Scottish Version
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

When they come a wull staun ma groon
Staun ma groon al nae be afraid

Thoughts awe hame tak awa ma fear
Sweat an bluid hide ma veil awe tears

Ains a year say a prayer faur me
Close yir een an remember me

Nair mair shall a see the sun
For a fell tae a Germans gun

Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

English Translation
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

When they come I will stand my ground
Stand my ground I’ll not be afraid

Thoughts of home take away my fear
Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears

Once a year say a prayer for me
Close your eyes and remember me

Never more shall I see the sun
For I fell to a Germans gun

Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

Where before many more have gone

In memory of Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie
Seaforth Highlanders
Who along with many others gave up his life
So that we can live free
We will remember them
This article scaerd me. It got me to thinking.

Jay, how do you know someone?"

The answer came. A Man once said "by their fruits ye shall know them."

In that light, I hope the words quoted in this article by Mr. Beck are truly only lipservice. Otherwise, Heaven help us!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,584505,00.html

-Jay

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Father,

Help me see the truth in all things. Help me see the person despite the anger, the fear, the frustration or the preoccupation they may express.

Help me see the potential. Help me find a way in to coax that potential to life. Help me be a light to grow the seed of their hope into a true plant. Help them be able to reflect that potential to others.

Mostly, Lord, help me to be a stone. Not the kind that is in the way; not the kind that is in a shoe. Let me be constant and kind, part of a foundation that helps build Thy house.

Let me be real, that I may touch souls. Make me an instrument of Thy peace.

As Thou loves all your children, allow me to find a part of that love.

Let my own sight turn from the within and find peace.

Guide me, never leave me. Make me a place to sit down at a table with Thee.

-Jay
1-30-10

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

-orison-

please, dear God, awake and free us
as the buffalo this field once heard
break the fetter'd binding rivets
re-make skies for wheeling birds

tickle prisons formed by manchilds
lavalieres so dark with fear
loose these welds thus dark with anger
common past and present near

dear God, break down these linked rings
with thy breath to sunder chain
touch both heart and land and spirit
washing flow and pulling drain

remake hallowed, desicration
long still graves and holy pyre
unbind dirt so great and spacious
sea of souls laid down in mire

oh, thou God, redeeming artist
make this canvas something more
than these squibs and paths so crooked
aimless paintings, pith and gore

knit that ossein again to sinew
ancient flesh and scat and bug
let these bones delight in fatness
reconcile cadaver smug

please, oh God, thou hidden captain
with thy stars so marked as eyes
by thy earthen illustration
crack the marrow and death's sigh

free the prisn'er of the darkland
bid the shrunken soul to fly
rid that binding appellation
wake up man no more to die!

Mighty God, thou fount not ending
bring about this later day
when the rough parts all are ended
smooth the path, that narrow way

olden friends again will hail here
clasping souls again unite
when darkened glass is broken
and the dirty made to light

1-26-10
JRB

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weight goal:

170

Current weight:

182

-Jay

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I got a first US edition of JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion today in excellent condition from Savers (a local thrift store) for $2.50

Same book, same condition for $70:

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=1st+us+edition+silmarillion&aq=f&aql=&aqi=&oq=&fp=ba0a4630ce98f7da

Can I get a woot?

-Jay

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more."

-Jonas Salk

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2.9 Magnitude Earthquake

We had a small earthquake in Utah this morning, the third small earthquake this month:

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=9235420

-Jay