David and Bathsheeba Monday, Nov 27 2006 

10m.jpgTypically, when I want to freshen the blog but can’t find the words of the moment, I raid the portfolio. I found this little piece I wrote about David and Bathsheeba back in ’94. What a tale of lust, power, coverup, but ultimately, . . . what we need the most, grace!

Quite an encouraging story for us mere mortals!

 

 
David and Bathsheeba
By David L. Pulling
December 1994

When young King David
was a man after God’s own heart
and got red hot ablaze,
intoxicated with incendiary desire
confusing his loins,
binding reason to passion
in groveling servitude
because he was hungry
to taste Bathsheeba in the bath,
he sent loyal Uriah dying in battle
so he could have his royal cake
and make love to it, too,
but he lost Absalom
and he lost joy
because delicious Bathsheeba was forbidden,
and he wrote a whole book of Psalms
lamenting and groaning
agonies and supplications and confessions
before he got his joy back
because God granted grace,
which doesn’t excuse sin,
but it’s nice to know that you can always come back
if you get into it,
which again is no excuse
because Paul says sin is not for abounding grace,
even though temptation is natural,
considering God made flesh delicious
and men and women hungry,
which makes you wonder why it’s sinful
if it’s natural,
but the main point about David is that
he tasted Bathsheeba and he tasted grace,
so thank God for both,
and grant us both,
but mostly grant us grace.

Mr. Bingle, My Main Man Friday, Nov 24 2006 

mrbingleo.jpgMy sister from Bogalusa, Louisiana, gave me an early Christmas present: a stuffed Mr. Bingle doll. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for a stuffed doll, but this dude is Mr. Bingle!

Now who is Mr. Bingle? I won’t elaborate, suggesting instead that you click here to learn about the fan club for this 1950’s-1960’s New Orleans/Maison Blanche department store Christmas icon that my generation from Greater New Orleans grew up with. The puppet Mr. Bingle appeared daily on New Orleans TV during the Christmas shopping season. My recollection goes back to the late 50’s/early 60’s. We just loved Mr. Bingle!

BestofNewOrleans.Com ran an interesting feature with a lot of fascinating cultural and “Bingle-ese” history back in 2004. That article–linked right here if you care to click— offers a lot more on the subject of Mr. Bingle.

I really was all about that dude when I was six years old. It’s fun to remember.

The Continuing Saga: A Country Boy Can Survive, Part II Monday, Nov 20 2006 

chef_boyardee.jpgAs I had occasion to travel to another city last week, this time Nashville, Tennessee, I also had occasion to live out what is becoming a thesis of my life here lately: e. g., “A country boy can survive.” (To read an account of the initial episode, click here to view the Hollywood Memoir blog for November 1).

Admittedly, Nashville is not nearly the citified, concrete waste-land of freaks and weirdoh’s that I found in Hollywood (at least the citizens of Nashville know how to speak American English with a proper accent!). But like any metropolis, Nashville struggles with the issues of large populations living in close quarters. More specifically to the point of the present illustration, like any metropolis that hosts conventions and conferences for a livelihood, Nashville has big-city hotels that exploit citified conventioneers and conference-goers who don’t know any better.

But not this country lad! No-siree. My Mama raised me with common sense. Here’s how this episode of the ongoing saga unfolded.

I noticed in the conference schedule weeks in advance that we would have some meetings-on-the-go with rushed lunch breaks. On Friday particularly, we had to change venues right at midday, not affording time to look for a decent lunch. So the conference announced that the Marriot would provide boxed lunches at a cost of $10.00.

Ten dollars for a boxed lunch? A dry sandwich with a bag of chips, a bruised apple or banana, a stale cookie, and a canned soft drink? And you’re going to charge me $10? Like we say in Cajun country (the home of some of the noblest country boys in the Deep South!), “Mais, je crois pas!” (Translated, “But, I don’t think so!” The Cajun idiom loses a little in translation, especially the pungent sarcasm in the Cajun’s tone when he spits out this sassy  quip, but you get the idea of the Cajun country boy’s resolve.)

As it turns out, this country boy has an Italian friend named “Chef Boyardee,” and before I left Louisiana for Nashville, I headed on over to the local Winn Dixie and bought a few cans of mini-ravioli bites, the kind with the pull-top lid. I also picked up a few other miscellaneous canned goods and a bag of golden delicious apples. I packed the foodstuffs in my bags and caught the plane the next day.

On Friday of the conference, the day we were supposed to shell out $10 for the boxed lunch, I was wise. I packed my lunch before I left, stuffing the can of Chef Boyardee and a couple of those apples in one of the Winn Dixie baggies, and I struck out for the conference.

When lunch time came, all of those city folk conventioneers lined up, clutching their ten dollar bills. How willingly they sacrificed that money! But not me. I went straight past the line to a table where I opened my “picnic,” popped the top of the ravioli, and enjoyed my meal. I ate one of the apples for dessert and the other apple later in the afternoon for a snack.

I reason that not only did I save $10, but I also ate healthier than the city slickers who ate those chips and all that mayonnaise on their sandwiches. Plus, I didn’t have to hang around waiting in line.

Ten dollars richer I am, and a living testimony to my theme: A country boy can survive!

If I keep this up, I may become a legend?

To Kill a Rat Friday, Nov 17 2006 

rat.jpgEver seen a dead rat?

If not, now you have. My brother who lives near Abita Springs, Louisiana, prematurely ended this poor creature’s wretched existence by cleverly setting this lethal trap.  

 The only good rat is a dead rat!

The Hope in Faith: Un-dogmatizing the jargon of the redeemed Tuesday, Nov 14 2006 

180px-giotto_-_scrovegni_-_-44-_-_faith.jpgNow faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

–Hebrews 11:1 (Holman CSB)

I really like that verse from the New Testament book of Hebrews, one of the most scholarly and profound treatises in the whole canon of Christian scriptures. I read it last night. Even though that’s a Bible verse I’ve heard all my life, it struck me fresh. “Hmmm,” I wondered. “That almost sounds like existentialism!”

 

But existentialism aside (that’s really a joke!), this passage defines “faith” better than Webster. And best of all, the Hebrews definition doesn’t “dogmatize” the term as I’ve heard it so carelessly abused so often in my life by church people. We churchgoers have a tendency to mindlessly toss around terms like “faith” as bits of what I (sarcastically) refer to as “the jargon of the redeemed.”

 

So, I freely mean to imply that churchgoers have a problem with the term, like much of the “jargon of the redeemed,” because we (yes, I’m a churchgoer!) talk about having faith, but we attach that faith to abosolute terms of belief (or, dogma?) that are contrary to the spirit of this inspired statement from Hebrews.

 

Look at what this verse says: Faith is based in HOPE! Most of the well-intentioned dogmatists I’ve known in church all my life practice as if faith is based in fact. If you think about the difference, that’s pretty profound.

 

I like this idea of holding to hope as reality, of finding proof in that which I can’t see. That’s what I call an inspired definition! And it makes me feel better about not having all the answers! (I really distrust those who make that claim.)

 

So that’s my devotional thought for this evening. How refreshing!

 

(The photo credit above: Scrovegni’s Personification of Faith from the article on faith at Wikipedia.


Weather Forcast for National Writing Project annual meeting Sunday, Nov 12 2006 

Here’s the long-range weather for Nashville, where I will visit Wednesday through Saturday of this week at the annual meeting of the National Writing Project.

Wed
Nov 15

T-Storms / Wind
57°/37° 70%

70 %

Thu
Nov 16

Few Showers / Wind
46°/35° 30%

30 %

Get Tips for Driving in the Rain

Fri
Nov 17

Partly Cloudy
56°/40° 10%

10 %

Sat
Nov 18

Sunny
53°/34° 10%

10 %

This post is mainly to conduct an experiment of the Word Press functionality of “copy/paste” from the Internet. I simply drag-selected and copied the graphic above from the Weather Channel 10-day forecast for Nashville, Tennesse. When I pasted it in the Word Press composition template, voila! It works fine! (Looks like we better thrown a pair of longjohns in the valise–That forecast looks like winter!)

The Lake Erie Blues . . . 8 years ago this month in the life of me Thursday, Nov 9 2006 

Nobody would likely write an Elizabethan sonnet these days to be serious, . . . or would they? Hmmmm. Rummaging through the portfolio looking for the “anniversary of something” to post, just to freshen up the blog, I came across this little piece from eight years ago when I spent a few bone-chilling days in Cleveland at a conference. Serious or not, writing it sure was fun. It wasn’t quite as cold as the pic depicts, but cold it was! So here we go, just for fun . . .

 

Upon the Windswept Erie Shore
(For Sarah Ann–Upon my being homesick in Cleveland!)
By David L. Pulling
November 1998

lakeerie-2.jpg

Upon the windswept Erie shore I stand
And cast my gaze across the inland main.
Pond’rous billowing clouds roll o’er the land
As weary thoughts besiege my homesick brain.

How rude the bitter gale dispelleth cheer!
Her icy darts so penetrate my soul!
And I a stranger, a wayfarer here,
Am cast forlorn upon this foreign shoal.

 

O bright sun, why refusest thou to smile,
To melt away the chilling loneliness?
How long must I endure this winter vile?
When love’s glad union shall I repossess?

 

But soft! I’ll close mine eyes and of thee dream–
O love, console me by the fairy stream!

A Weary Land Saturday, Nov 4 2006 

red_sunset.jpg

A Weary Land
By David Pulling
August 2005

A weary land is where I am
Mostly.
Ridden with
Nervous anxiety
Stressed in (not out) with
Busy-ness and
Much ado about foolish matters
That matter little
In eternity,
Hoping for
The end of a day,
The end of a week,
The end of a semester,
The end of something
That never ends,
Just piles on and up and over.

“A Country Boy Can Survive”: A Hollywood Memoir Wednesday, Nov 1 2006 

hollywoodblvd.jpgAs promised, here’s the story many of my faithful readers undoubtedly returned to the blog to read today after that tempting teaser I closed with yesterday. This is a story of survival, an illustration of the raised-in-the-woods Deep Southerner’s natural impulse for preservation, an example of the small-town American’s native savvy that is lamentably passing from the national character as our population grows increasingly urban.

It happened like this: I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard last Sunday afernoon (October 29) sightseeing. I had ridden the subway out from downtown, emerging from the bowels of the subterranean station (ooh: “subterranean station”– how’s that for poetic, euphonic prose?) into a thoroughly unfamiliar piece of the world. I headed in the direction I assumed was back toward town, calculating I could walk the mile or so to the next subway station at Hollywood and Vine, return to the train, and travel back to the hotel.

As I walked and walked and walked some more, passing from the tourist-choked sidewalks along Grauman’s Theatre and the other gaudy sites in that heart of town, the neighborhoods became increasingly residential–rows of apartments on rows of apartments. After walking a considerable distance, I started to wonder: “Could I be headed in the wrong direction?”

At this point, a lesser man — a citified man, if you will — might have panicked. Here’s a summation of the situation:

 

  1. Two thousand miles from home,
  2. Alone,
  3. Lost in the concrete wilderness.

How potentially exasperating!

 

But never fear–those superior instincts honed in the wiles of Louisiana seized control and cooly analyzed the situation. Recalling from my map study before leaving the hotel that Hollywood Boulevard runs east and west, and realizing the hour of the afternoon was advancing, I simply surveyed the position of the sun. Determining that I was heading in the direction of the sunset . . . ergo, westward, I immediately reversed my course, backtracked the mile or so I had walked out of my way, and eventually came upon Hollywood and Vine, at which point I descended to the subway and rode back to town.

 

No panic, no stress, no sweat (except some literal perspiration, for the afternoon was a little balmy). For you see, a country boy can survive!

 

I am indebted to my colleague from Baton Rouge, Jared Wall, for refreshing my memory on the “artist” (I use the term loosely) who recorded “A Country Boy Can Survive.” It was Hank Williams, Jr. If you’re not familiar with the execreable lyrics, here’s a link–Click here to read this mouldy celebration of decadent red-neckism rom a few decades ago. Reading Williams’ lyrics should be good for a laugh or two–If I’m offending any of Hank Jr.’s fans, what can I say? This is my blog!