Eat Oysters, Live Longer?: Must be true! Monday, Sep 17 2018 

IMG_1728.JPGNew Orleans is an oyster-eatin’ town.  Growing up in the region, we regarded the salty shell fish as special food for special celebrations.  I recall an aphorism that I may have seen on the side of a refrigerated seafood delivery box truck in the 1960s: “Eat fish, live longer; eat oysters, love longer.”

Well, here’s Mama on her 93rd birthday a couple of days ago, chowing down on fried oysters, not fish.

Me, I like oysters better than fish, anyway.  I think I’ll keep eating oysters and take my chances, if Mama’s genes are any indication.

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Speed Poetry: Hump, Lump, and Bump Thursday, Sep 13 2018 

Hump not the lump,

Jump not the bump,

And for sure,

Don’t stump the lump:

Speed kills!

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Lump, bump, or hump: Slow down, for your car’s front end’s sake.  Sarah found these three different street signs, all in  south Louisiana towns.

“Safe and Secure From All Alarms” Saturday, Sep 8 2018 

Wake-up alarms, that is.

One of the most magnificent benefits of retirement is the freedom from wake-up alarms.

Before I retired, I would often rouse at 5:00 or 5:30 for a potty stop.  When I returned to bed from the bathroom, the brain started calculating the time intervening until wake-up.  That was the end of rest!  My mind rehearsed the worrisome routines of the day, anticipating the trials and worrying about waking up on time to get to work on time.

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Roll over and sleep some more!

The result: Stress!

Now, when I make that early-morning potty stop, I return to bed with a smile on my face.  Who cares if/when I wake up?  What are the trials of the day?  (None–they don’t exist!).  I return to my pillow and fall fast asleep.

This must be the way life was meant to be.

Papa’s Little Girl . . . Forever! Tuesday, Sep 4 2018 

papaslittlegirlMy little girl is an all-grown up adult, 29 years old and happily married, ABD in a Ph.D program in kinesiology at the University of Northern Colorado.

But she’s still my little girl!

She blessed us this Labor Day weekend with a visit, partly for her Mom’s birthday.  We were blessed!

But when it came time to bring her to the airport to send her home yesterday afternoon, we endured the torture of watching her from a helpless distance endure the harsh realities of airport security.  Because her arm was disabled, cast in a sling from a dislocated shoulder a few days earlier, TSA  subjected her to the most intrusive security treatment imaginable under the circumstances.  Her Mom and I were beyond the security area but within eyewitness range, so we were privvy to every  demeaning moment of the pat-down.

Had she been healthy, she would have breezed through the scanner!  But because she couldn’t stand in the body scan machine and raise both arms over her head because of a legitimate injury, she was subjected to the cruel treatment of suspicion.

That’s what infurates me even now.  Why are the disadvantaged  subjected to the most harsh ordeal?

I have to bite my tongue and remember—-to convince myself—-that her treatment is in the interest of national security.

And I really wonder how that TSA guard would feel if she had to watch her own daughter with a dislocated shoulder endure the same ordeal.

I bet that guard would repent.  I sure hope she would.  Any parent who’s had a little girl would understand.

That’s because little girls never truly grow up in their Papa’s eyes.  Mine will always be Papa’s little girl.

Iconic Eunice: The Superette Bull Friday, Aug 31 2018 

superetteFor as many years as I can remember Eunice, Louisiana, this massive Black Angus bull statue has stood out front of the Eunice Superette, for years and years at the original slaughterhouse location on Maple Avenue and recently moved to  the store’s new retail outlet on the US 190 main drag.

What a community icon!

In Florence, where we visited just a few weeks ago, we saw Michaelangelo’s larger-than-life magnum opus statue, David.  Surely, we can never have such a world class work of art on public display in our rural South Louisiana town.  But we can have this larger-than-life statue of the bull.  The notoriety isn’t great, but at least it turns a head or two as motorists pass by on the way through town.

When Politics and Religion Clash: The Corrupt Hijack of Evangelicalism Tuesday, Aug 28 2018 

All my life, evangelical meant something like this definition:

adjective

  • 1. of or according to the teaching of the gospel or the Christian religion.

The way I was raised,  that definition makes sense.  But what has happened in the last decade or two?  The meaning of evangelical has been hijacked by the rabid politics of the religious right.  In the current politicism, the term means something like this:

“Of or according to the politicized doctrine of the far right wing of the Republican party.”

Sorry, folks, I don’t believe Christ intended his movement to so largely embrace political principles, especially when those principles include anti-Christian racial and classist dogma.

For that reason, I disassociate myself with the label.

I continue to be a follower of Christ, a Christian.

But I refuse to identify myself as  evangelical.  The label has been hijacked by immoral men and women concerned more with political power and influence than advancing the gospel.

In fact, they pervert the gospel.

I am done!

Mellow is the Night Thursday, Aug 23 2018 

This late summer season of the year, we long  for fronts . . . not cold fronts—-we realize the climatological absurdity, given where we live—-but cool fronts, mellow wind shifts

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Patio lights are mellow.

that usher in a slightly drier/cooler breath of the fall season that’s still a month or six weeks away.

Those fronts occasionally drift through beginning in mid-to-late August and into September.  The early fronts usually don’t last long, but at least they provide us a harbinger of things to come.

We’re enjoying such a pre-autumn front this week.  Compared to the brutal heat and miserable dew points that we endured earlier in the week, it’s been pretty nice.  Mosquitoes notwithstanding, we can hang out comfortably  on the patio past dark’s arrival.

Mellow is the night. . . at least for now.

But still waiting for the fall promise of October . . .

Saga of the Incurable Pedagogue: Beginning Career Year 39 Sunday, Aug 19 2018 

Yes, I retired in 2015.  And then I taught 2 1/2 years in a private high school.  And now I’m teaching part-time online freshman comp: Three sections of English 1001 on tap for this

schedule

My schedule for this 39th school year: Three sections, one prep.

39th career fall semester opening tomorrow.

As I noted in good-natured correspondence this afternoon with a peer colleague who, like me, began teaching high school and worked her way up to college, and who, like me, retired recently, and who, like me, continues to teach online part-time, we are simply incurable pedagogues.

We can’t help ourselves: we live by the motto, “Have wifi, will teach.”

We are helplessly conditioned to practice the craft of pedagogy: May ignorance flee before us!

 

The Highways and By-ways of Europe: Narrow is the Way! Friday, Aug 17 2018 

Among the impressions Europe left me with was how narrow and tight are rights-of-ways for motorists driving the  thoroughfares.  Whether the streets of the old cities of Florence and Rome or the major four-lane [not-so-super] highways that we traveled  into the cities, lane width is NOT a European feature.  I’m sure that’s another reason that compact cars are favored in those countries—-maneuvering a mid-sized Camray in some of the thoroughfares would be nerve-racking, so narrow is the way.

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Slow down!  These skinny streets were not designed for toute vitesse.

And as for pick-up trucks, they’re practically non-existent!  In five days of visiting five ports in three countries, we the grand sum of  two!  I contrasted that impression Monday driving home from Houston on six and eight lane-spacious Interstate 10 where pick-ups and SUVs are more common than sedans.

I’m sure much of the narrowness of the ways also owes to the venerable history of the Old World.   Granted, most of the rights-of-way were conceived and designed in ancient or Medieval times when enough space for two donkeys to pass side-by-side was all the width required.

Do I complain or wax critical in advancing this observation?  Not at all, for in truth, the narrow thoroughfares and the random pattern of old-city streets lend their own  charm to the Old World’s quaintness.  The narrow thoroughfares of Rome and Florence remind me, in fact, of our own New Orleans Vieux Carre, which I realize now after visiting Europe is probably the most European-like city in the New World.  I never realized we had such a treasure so close to home until I visited Europe.

 

 

 

Lost—-or found?—- in the Ruins Wednesday, Aug 15 2018 

Our trip to Europe last week exposed us to the ruins of ancient civilization.  From the magnifcient Colosseum and the crumbling seven hills of Rome to Vesuvius’s hellish crater that wrought Pompeii’s dramatic tragedy in the valley below, the ruins of history which once were pictures in history books burst alive before our imaginations.

Roman ruins

The ruins of ancient Rome on one hand reflect the glory and achievement of the past, yet on the other the crumbling, temporal vanity of  man.  What achievement of man truly endures, save the love St. Paul wrote about in his second letter to the Corinthians?

As an American who always thought of the eighteenth century as ancient history on this New World side of the Atlantic, I remain awestruck.  To be lost in the ruins is to be found in the marvel of  history!

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