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BY tinman

12/01 Direct Link
My month's sabbatical from this site has ended; it's time to return to the discipline this site provides. The time went more quickly than I expected. I need to admit that the lack of the discipline that this site provides was a bit too easy to which to succumb. It also affected other areas of my on-line life. I kind of lost myself meandering without any real purpose. However, meandering had its positive values. I did stumble across many a thing of which I took note for future possible development. The question is, "What to develop and to what purpose?"
12/02 Direct Link
Pope Francis has been in charge of the Roman Catholic Church only since March, 2013, but I have to admit I am quite impressed with him. While I am not content that he continues to hold a medieval contempt of women, and refuses to re-examine the traditional teachings on gay relationships, despite evidence that, based on literary archeology of the scriptures, the traditional perception of what those writings meant is in error. His view is that the Church has concentrated too much on the issues of homosexuality and abortion and contraception, while ignoring the needs of compassion for the poor.
12/03 Direct Link
The new Pope, Francis, attitude, regarding Papal privilege, seems a punch in the eye to Benedict XVI (and previous Popes). Francis forgoes the fancy garments, wears a silver, rather than gold, ring. In audience, he uses a chair instead of the Papal throne, and doesn't even reside in the Papal palace, choosing simpler Vatican accommodations. One of his first acts was to reprimand and re-call to Rome an Archbishop who was building a showplace of a residence, for himself, within his jurisdiction. This suggests Francis takes his Jesuit vow of Poverty to heart. Not all the hierarchy will be approving.
12/04 Direct Link
My appreciation of the new Pope should not be taken as a sign I'm thinking of returning to the fold; that ship sailed a long time ago. That doesn't mean, however, that I can't appreciate the honest efforts of an espouser of an idea trying to live what they teach.

One wonders if the Cardinals in the last Conclave knew and understood Francis before they elected him. He seems to be as big a surprise to them as John XXIII was to the Cardinals that elected him. I believe John was elected only as a temp, but started Vatican II.
12/05 Direct Link
My sacred space is the time I spend writing. Lately, I've been experiencing less of it than is good for my soul. I'm not sure why this is true. Perhaps part of the answer is that I'm spending too much time on Facebook and not enough time exploring what I think and feel. I use 100 words to at least do something daily, but as evidenced by my failure to enter anything last month, I'm having difficulty doing even that. Another part of the answer is that I live in a nursing home and have two roommates; solitude is rare.
12/06 Direct Link
The death, a few days ago, of Nelson Mandela, this week, reminds me that I have lived in remarkable times, among remarkable people, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Rudolph Nureyev, Tennessee Williams, to name a few of the people. World War II, the explosion of the Atomic bomb, The Civil Rights, including Gay Liberation, struggles are a few of the history changing events. We have seen a Black man elected President, and these are just the the people and incidents that leap to my mind. Everyone sharing any of this period has their own list.
12/07 Direct Link
What is that quality called sex appeal. Here, where I live, are two men. The first is a white man, six plus feet tall, not yet fifty, with a model's face and build; he has the sex appeal of paper scraps. The second man is over sixty, ordinary looking, black, has a bit of a paunch and uses a walker; I think of him as sex on wheels. He's sexier, fully dressed, than the other would be stark naked. If man two asked me into his bed, I'd be there before the question mark aired. The other couldn't pay me.
12/08 Direct Link
Woke up, at 1:30 am from a dream in which I was shivering to find I was actually shivering, despite bed-clothes and under blanket and a comforter. Turned on the heat, for the first time this year (at the moment, it's -3 degrees.) I believe we are going to have a long, cold journey to Spring, this year. I think it is going to be a very snowy journey, as well. Given how mild Winters have been the last few years, I guess it is to be expected. O, well, dream of S. Cal and grin and bear it.
12/09 Direct Link
"Obedience brings out the best of everything. It never fails or errors in any matter; and no matter what you do, if you did it in true Obedience, it will not miss being good." Meister Eckhardt.

So wrote a thirteenth century Dominican friar/philosopher, some of whose writings (but not this) were judged heretical. Tyrants of every stripe make this the first tenet of any governance, religious or secular.

It is said that, following his own bullshit on Obedience, he recanted those ideas judged heretical and surrendered his writings to the authority of the Catholic Church. He walked the talk
12/10 Direct Link
"Good Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions." Jerry Falwell on the value of independent thinking and critical reflection.

You could say, based on what I know about them, the same about Muslims, or Jews. I'm betting that you could say this about any group of believers, religious or secular. A good Democrat, (or a good Republican- is there such a thing, today, as a good Republican? However, that's another issue with a different meaning of the word good) doesn't question the prevailing party line, not if he wants to stay in a working relationship. Government depends on friendships.
12/11 Direct Link
Am I gay? You dumb shit; Are you hoping I'll scurry into the closet because you ask me this in a room full of strangers who have nothing else to do but eavesdrop on our conversation? Are you afraid to hear me say yes because it means you have to make a choice about how you feel knowing it? Are you afraid to hear me say not only that I love you, but am in love with you? Well, fasten your seat belt, baby, cause I ain't playing it safe. Yes, I'm gay, and yes, I'm in love with you.
12/12 Direct Link
Dress for the Dance

I dress myself for the dance,
for the offering, the nourishment
the mother provides, the mother who knows
the secret why and how of being

I do not know the theme of today's
dance, I do not know the rhythm
she will beat, the rocking storm,
or the waltz of a drizzle

I know only of the dance as
a cleansing baptism scrubbing
both street and soul. I know
only, that I must dance.

I am trying to decide if this is worth keeping even in the unfinished folder. The idea of rain as baptism intrigues me.
12/13 Direct Link
"The enemy uses the shadows to mask her evil, but she forgets, in her pride, that shadow may help, also, those who strive against her." Gaspard spoke with a light, disarming tone, the wisdom of what he was speaking. His surety came from his long experience thwarting the enemy's plans.

Alistair couldn't read how the others were taking their leader's words, he, however, as was his habit, bracketed them with skepticism. The enemy was at home in the shadows and he and his companions, except for Gaspard,possibly, were lucky they could walk in it, without tripping over their feet.
12/14 Direct Link
Today is the anniversary of my youngest sister's birth. She was the second youngest in a family of four (I'm the eldest). If she had not died, five years ago, she would have been sixty-seven. She was diabetic and did not take care of herself as she should have done.

She had been dead a couple of days before she was found by firemen who let them selves in through a second floor window of her home. When it was discovered that she had not been in touch with anyone in the family, my brother called the fire department.
12/15 Direct Link
America.

From the beginning we made our history myth,
our causes, the most noble, painting ourselves
as a race made by God for others to follow.
we will not hear more than the petty lies
even we no longer believe, but still insist
upon as catechism for our children.

We have no one to blame but ourselves,
these faces made by God for others to envy.
The world watches us trip over our lies,
myths we know as lies, yet insist on them
as gospel for our children,enslaving them
forever to the myth.

Feb. 19, 2012 96

Someday, maybe, a poem.
12/16 Direct Link
I may, or may not, have mentioned that I live in a nursing home. It's not the vision I had of how I would end my days, but it could be worse. There are a lot of people out on the cold, cold streets. Still, what would life be, without a bitch, or two.

I have two roommates who largely spend their days watching television re-runs that I had the good sense, and good taste, to avoid the first time around. I wouldn't bitch if it weren't all day and always at a volume loud enough to disturb my concentration.
12/17 Direct Link
Those who know me, know I don't like Christmas, especially as it is celebrated in America. My dislike of it is less based on the fact that it is based on 'historical myth', than it is on the fact of how it has been twisted into a celebration of envy and greed and exclusion.

All of this is orchestrated by 'seasonal Christians' who are are more interested in the cash generated the Christianity proclaimed. These are the same Christians want to put the 'Christ' back in Christmas, yet remove the Christ principles of brotherhood from life as they live it.
12/18 Direct Link
The insidiousness of "Christmas" is that it is so insistent. It forces itself upon the public with the zeal of a Crusader. There is the constant message that YOU WILL BE HAPPY- YOU WILL SPEND YOUR CASH buying things for others that you never thought they needed (or wanted). Most of the time, that proves to be true.

A fairly recent developing custom, is the grab-bag at places of employment. You throw your name in a hat for another to draw, while you take another's name. Everybody's committed, gifts for names drawn, even if you wouldn't share umbrellas in a storm.
12/19 Direct Link
When I was twelve, I could hit the D above high C strong and clear. Father, I forget his name, the choir director for all the major church functions, seemed to think that quite remarkable. However, that feat didn't seem to be enough to dislodge Ed Bade as the O Holy Nightsoloist at Midnight Mass. I think his mother had a lot to do with that. I have to admit, though, he did do it justice.

Ed and I stayed friendly over the years and I did a visitation when his mother died. He, too, has since passed away.
12/20 Direct Link
Why is it that people who can't sing, insist on doing so? If they don't have respect for the integrity of the music, why don't they, at least, respect the presence of others around them?

I love to sing, but don't, anymore, publicly. Even privately, I sing sotto voce; I don't have the breath, anymore, to support the music. It is a great sadness to me, but better silence than to make noise.

When younger, I had a pleasant voice. Who knows what I could have done with it, had it been trained to its full potential? If wishes were horses.
12/21 Direct Link
The first day of Winter , hah, could have fooled me. For me Winter hits with the first freeze and that was a week, or two, ago.

Right now, here, in Chicago, it is 33 degrees farenheit with a chilling rain that will probably make the roads and walkways icy and dangerous. I expect there will be many slide into kind of accidents, tomorrow morning on the way to Church, necessitating, emotionally at least, non-Church language.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I am not fond of Winter. I can tolerate, barely, colder weather, but I hate snow, and Winter clothes.
12/22 Direct Link
It is a sad rule of living that the greater you love, the more devastating, the more the pain, anger and confusion when that love is threatened by the compassionless vagaries of circumstance. This is the unfair, outrageous price that loving demands. And yet, love is the best defense you have against the inflictions of life, even if repayed with with a monkey's allowance in return.

Today, spend your love, rejoice in it, spend every coin of hope and courage you can beg, borrow or steal. Don't worry about Tomorrow's price, it will collect, one way or another, believe me.
12/23 Direct Link
Tis that dread night,
before Christmas eve,
ribbons and wrap paper
up to our sleeve

Scotch tape and glue
stuck to my thumb-
I've found the red glitter;
Here, you'll need some.

Wrap that I-pod we
got dear Uncle Ben,
I need to wrap
This porcelain hen.

Leave the price sticker
on that brooch for Lenore;
She'll want to take it
back to the store.

That pile in the corner,
those will all keep;
wrap them after
the kids are asleep.

Now all gifts are wrapped,
Except one for Charlie-
Santa wrote him a short note:
"Buy your own goddamn Harley!"

12/24 Direct Link
I guess I'm not a complete Scrooge. I have had an embarrassment of of candies and cakes bestowed on me, this Christmas, so much, that I was able to share some of it with the staff and the residents, here. The part that surprised me that I gave out to all and sundry, even those residents I avoid and I just don't like. As I was passing goodies out, I felt a little resistance in me when coming upon those persons, but I included them, as well, and actually found myself really wishing them the best of the season. Christmas miracle?
12/25 Direct Link
And so, I've gotten through another Christmas. Renee took me out to an early lunch at Seven Brothers, where I had my usual Christmas treat, Matzo Ball soup. We each had the turkey dinner, but frankly, it was not like Renee's Thanksgiving turkey spread, and the stuffing was terrible.

Conversing with Renee is sometimes a chore. Unless she's talking about what interests her, her attention wanders.

Still sharing with family, however small it's become, is always special. So many people where I live either don't have family, or their family doesn't care. Life's often hard. Abandonment is the worse poverty.
12/26 Direct Link
It's the second day of Christmas (two turtle doves), the Catholic Feast Day of St. Stephan (the first martyr), the first day of seven of Kwanzaa (unity) and god knows how many private birthday and anniversary celebrations. Hell of a burden for a single day to carry. As for me, I just want to sleep off this heavy Christmas sugar rush.

I've spent the day watching from episode 1, the eighth season of Supernatural. The season's DVDs were part of my sister's Christmas kindness to me. I missed most of season eight, last year, because of my hospital stay.
12/27 Direct Link
The simple plot of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is a quest undertaken by an ordinary being to destroy a Ring, in which evil has been centralized, and thus destroy the power of its maker. I am going to be jotting down some ideas that have arisen in me about a number of themes that carry this plot along.

My first thought is that LOR is like Scripture; everytime you read it, something not seen before, suddenly catches your attention. The first of which is that, at the crucial moment, the hero personally fails, succombs to evil.
12/28 Direct Link
There were three essential elements to the quest. The first was the willingness of Frodo to undertake it, the second was the unfailing support and loyalty, even devotion, of a friend, and the third was the acts of mercy granted to and upon someone for whom a show of a lack of mercy would have been justified, or at least understood. The second carried the name Sam, and the third was a little wizened dual personality creature known as Gollum-Smeagol. There were, of course, subsidiary plots involving the rising dominance of Men in Middle-Earth and the departure of Elves from the same.
12/29 Direct Link
"The evil that was devised works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls." The Hobbits discover the truth of this after the quest, when they return to Hobbiton. Indeed, they discover that it had been at work even before the quest had begun. Though they set right what needs to be set right, innocence, like virginity, can never be restored.

The Elves know that no matter if Sauron stands or falls, their time in Middle-earth is through; all their choices ill. Those who choose not to go into the West will dwindle and their power will fade.
12/30 Direct Link
I was coming out of anesthesia following a colon cancer operation, my family gathered around. A sister leaned in to inform me that "her dog had had what I had, and they had to put her to sleep. Without missing a beat, I looked up at my sister and replied, "Don't ask why you don't have my power of attorney."

One of the things I've always appreciated about myself was my ability to make quick comebacks. It comes from my childhood years of studying Bugs Bunny cartoons. His smartass remarks got him into trouble in one breath, out, the next.
12/31 Direct Link
Reflecting on the New Year just seven plus hours away reminds me that, having been born during 1942, in the middle of the Second World War, I can't remember a time when this country was ever at Peace. We seem to have careened from one war to another, although in Ingsoc (Nineteen Eighty- Four) parlance, we have called some, like the Korean War, Police Actions.

This country has become an Orwellian Lie; our leaders, of every political stripe, officially deceive us, manipulate the truth, and burden us with continued, and growing, secret surveillance, all in the holy name of National Defense.