Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Account of Captain Archibald Newton, who Bravely Traversed the Deserts of Southern Arizona, and the Many Strange Occurrences which Occurred There, Including the Occurrence of His Sneezing Fit, and the Occurrence of His Rock Eating, and Many Other Occurrences which Most Undoubtedly Occurred, Faithfully Dictated to Squire Pablo, an Ambidextrous Peruvian.

Ah! The desert!  Ah! The cactus!
Ah! The green-barked trees
which scraggle their crooked limbs
and twizzle their twisted twigs 
across the sun-beaming skies of Cochise County!
Or maybe it’s Pima County.  
I don’t know where I am right now.

Ah! Ah!  This desert makes me say "Ah!”
Mmmm… yessiree these palo verde trees 
sure do make me queazy in the knees
because they are sooooooooooooo dreamy!
And how pleasing to the senses
are miles of desert, without fences!  Ah-choo!

Actually, come to think of it,
they’re not very pleasing at all.
When the noon-time heat-breeze bashes 
its hot breezy fist of breeze into my face,
yellow pollen blasts all over the place,
especially up my nose!  
Ah-choo! Ah-choo! I sneeze!  

Hey, desert trees and desert breeze,
I’d really like to breathe,
so can you cut that out, please?  


Keep your pollen to yourself
before I chop you up
and turn you into a shelf!

Ah!  Though I shout out a protestation,
the desert theater begins its feature presentation:
Attack of the Breeze-Borne Pollen Monsters! 

I surrender!  I surrender!
Look! I’m down on the ground!

You want me to eat a rock?  
A tree is communicating with my mind?
That’s insane!
OK! OK!  I’ll do it!
I’ll do it for you, desert tree!
But just a little one, OK?

Munch munch munch
munch munch munch.

Franklin, hey, Franklin

Franklin, hey, Franklin, Dave is dead.
Linda told me.  Linda said
he had a heart attack yesterday.
It was sudden, it was quick, 
and now he’s passed away.

I really liked Dave.  He was my favorite cashier.
Isn’t it sad to think that he won’t be here
tomorrow, or the next day, or ever again,
to buy us candy, and say we’re living in sin?

Dave is gone.  Do you understand?
Franklin, will you please hold my hand?
He never reached retirement.
He never got his wish
of living next to a river 
and catching a thousand fish.

That’ll be us someday.  
That’ll be me and you.
I only hope you’ll marry me
before our lives our through.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Small Pink Flame

Wait until the dark of night,
turn out every electric light
and envision a small pink flame.

Make it as small as the flame
of a candle, but do not picture
the candle, the wick, 
the slowly melting wax.
Only the flame.

Allow the muscles 
in your neck to relax
but flex your mind.  
Focus and focus
until at long last you find,
eleven inches in front of your face,
the small pink flame, 
floating in the air,
bright, solid, constant.

Start to notice
the gentle opening
of your third eye.

Boy Scout Camp, 1993

dog tags, medicine bags, waving flags,
rabbit skins, mischievous grins, hairless chins, 
leather packs, gummy snacks, sneak attacks,
hamburger buns, moon-lit runs, big shotguns,
starry nights, dropped flashlights, initiation rites,
woodcarving tips, potato chips, the thighs and hips 
and eyes and lips of the lady lifeguard,
lounging with a cup of lemonade, taking sips.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Here's how I'm voting tomorrow in the Arizona Republican Primary:

Here's how I'm voting tomorrow in the Arizona Republican Primary:

U.S. Representative: Paul Gosar.  (He's running unopposed)

Governor: Scott Smith   (Smith is the best candidate.  Mesa is so much better off because he was the mayor.  I hope he wins.  Doug Ducey is ahead in the polls, though.  Ducey will probably win, but the race is close.)

State Senator: Taylor MacArthur (endorsed by Scott Smith and Jan Brewer)

State Representative: Kelly Townsend and Doug Coleman

Secretary of State: Justin Pierce

Attorney General: Mark Brnovich  ('m voting against Tom Horne more than I'm voting for Mark Brnovich)

State Treasurer: Hugh Hallman

Superintendent of Public Instruction: John Huppenthal

State Mine Inspector: Joe Hart (He's running unopposed.  He's been the mine inspector for decades, I think.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure why this is a political office at all.  Aren't all the other various inspectors, like health inspectors and construction inspectors, who are unelected?)

Corporation Comissioner: Tom Forsee and Doug Little

Clerk of the Superior Court: Amanda Stanford (This one was a tough one.  I guess I'm voting for Amanda because I like her personality more.  It's cool that she's running against her former boss, the current clerk.  There must be something wrong with Chad Roche if one of his employees runs against him.  I admire her tenacity.)

Justice of the Peace: Shaun Babeu.  (He's running unopposed.  He's the brother of Pinal County Sherrif Paul Babeu.)

I'd like to thank my wise co-worker for all the last-minute voting advice.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Senator from Utah, Mike Lee,

The Senator from Utah, Mike Lee,
brings true conservatives glee.
He'll fight any tax
like lumberjacks
confronted by a very large tree.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Latest Thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In this post, I’ll try to persuade you to adopt the conservative, pro-Israeli position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  This post will be more persuasive if you believe in the Bible.  If you don't, this post might still be a little persuasive.  

The Jews took the land of Canaan from the Canaanites and Philistines, as recorded in the Book of Joshua.  The methods the Jews used to take over the land were extremely harsh. The Old Testament God didn’t really favor diplomatic efforts, to put it mildly.  God told them to kill all the Canaanites who didn’t run away, and to destroy their idol gods and to erase their depraved culture.  Did the Jews do the right thing when they took over the land of Canaan?  I believe they did.  

Legally speaking, the ancient House of Israel had no “right” to the promised land.  They didn’t buy the land.  Their ancestors didn’t live on the land.  The only justification for them taking the land from the Canaanites was that one of their great great great great great grandfathers, Abraham, claimed he received a revelation in which God told him that his posterity would inherit the land of Jerusalem.  

And so, one could argue that the Canaanites deserved the land.  They had lived there for generations.  I’m sure they had a legal system and a government that ensured that they rightfully possessed the land.

But… whose side are you on?   The ancient Jews, or the Canaanites?  I’m on the side of the ancient Jews.  They were the chosen people, specially favored by God.  Now, the multiculturalists among you would say, “Well… all the cultures are pretty good, in their own special way.  There really are no chosen people.”  But I would argue that multiculturalism is really just a practical application of moral relativism.  And I would argue that there really are “chosen people” from time to time, and that the ancient house of Israel were the “chosen people.”  If you believe in the Bible, then I think this is the position you have to adopt.  Deuteronomy 7:6: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”  

What advantages did the Jews have over the Gentiles who have always surrounded them?  Paul answers this question in Romans 3: 1 - 2: “What advantage then hath the Jew?  Or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much every way: chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles of God.” In other words, the Jews had the prophets.  The Jews had the revelations.  That’s what’s so great about being a Jew.  Sure, God communicated, or tried to communicate, with Canaanites occasionally.  His lovingkindness and mercy is always extended to every person on the planet, regardless of culture, religion, etc.  But the Canaanites were just too hard-hearted.  Their culture was too depraved.  In the communities of the Canaanites, God didn’t have very much human material to work with.  He just couldn’t raise up a prophet or a true religion among the Canaanites, because the Canaanites were too busy sinning.

And so, in the grand scheme of things, from a celestial point of view, the ancient Jews did have a right to the promised land.  

Now, let’s fast forward to the fighting between the modern day Israeli military and Hamas.  Sure, you could argue that the Arabs have a right to the land because more of their ancestors lived there.  Sure, you could argue that the way in which the nation of Israel was created was unjust.  But then, by these same arguments, the Canaanites had a right to the land of Canaan.

(By the way, you could also argue that the way the USA was founded was unjust or illegal.  And in fact, it was illegal.  The colonialists had no “right” to rebel against the British crown and form their own nation.  They also had no “right” to displace the Native Americans.  And yet… aren’t you glad that the Founding Fathers broke the law and fought the Revolutionary War?  Aren’t you proud to be an American?)

I think more important questions than, “Who has a legal right to the land of modern-day nation of Israel?” are, “What culture would do better things with the land: the Israelis or the Palestinians?”  and, “What culture affords a higher amount of basic human rights, democracy, peace, freedom, and prosperity: the culture of the Israelis or the culture of the Palestinians?”   

And maybe an even more important question is, “Who does God want running things in the land of Israel?  The Israelis, or the Palestinians?”  (Oh, and by the way, when I say Palestinians, I actually mean Hamas.  Hamas is calling the shots among the Palestinian people right now.  And, just so we’re all on the same page, Hamas is a bloodthirsty, depraved gang of terrorists.  They use Palestinian children as human shields.  They target Israeli civilians.)

This may sound crazy, but, in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, I do believe that God is with the Israelis.  Here’s an interesting article about how a lot of Jews believe that God is on their side of the war.  Israeli military personnel even claim that the hand of God has thwarted some of Hamas’ rocket attacks. 

Of course, Hamas also believes that God is on their side.  But they can’t both be right, can they?  God can’t be supporting both sides, can He?  No.  One side of the conflict must be mistaken, and I think that Hamas is mistaken.  God is supporting the Israelis.

Belated Birthday Poem for my Aunt

Sorry this poem is late
and though it’s not very great
here's a poem anyway.
Did you have a nice birthday? 

Did you get a new sweater?
I bet your birthday was better
than the former birthdays
during your working days,
because now that you’re retired
you can sleep whenever you're tired,

even if it’s the middle of the day
or near the end of the day
or right at the start of the day
or in fact any part of the day.
Even at, say, 3:23 p.m.,
you can turn the lights down dim
and invite the sandman in.

And with the days and nights of slumber
bringing peace to your aging mind
your family and your friends will surely find
that you've developed a power,
and a soul, and a heart,
all loving, all steady, all kind.

Friday, August 8, 2014

About Divinity

The Book of Isaiah. The Book of Revelation.
Abstract paintings. Charts of the Universe.
Thick novels, rife with symbolism, perched
on bookshelves like menacing gargoyles
that guard ancient, sacred, dark cathedrals.
It’s good to keep these things around the house.
Climb the mountain, reach the peak,
and still you will not find a wise man,
nor an up-to-date, all-encompassing dictionary,
nor a cosmological telescope in which to peer,
only an army of charlatans in trench-coats
stocked with knock-off merchandise
and armed with tranquilizer darts.
They’ll get out their guns and shoot you
and then, while you’re fainting,
assure you that they can fathom infinity
and know all there is to know about divinity.
Along the trail, though, you may encounter
a few of your fellow hikers, who will faithfully,
freely recite the words of holy revelations.
Hear them when they speak to you,
for they love God as fish love water.
The fish attempt no transoceanic analysis.
They feign no theology of the water.
They merely live to bubble along,
humming a joyful, fishy song,
and swim and swim and swim and swim,
pausing to pray now and then.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

8 Reasons to Support Scott Smith for Governor

Dear Readers,

Here are eight reasons why I support Scott Smith for Governor of Arizona, written in a hurry before I have to go to work:

1. He oozes maturity.

Listen to Scott Smith speak for a while, and you’ll learn two things: he’s mature, and he’s smart.  He has a firm grasp of all the issues facing Arizona.  He avoids clever one-liners and buzzwords, and can get into the nitty-gritty of any legislation or any issue.  For example, I heard him on the radio discussing why he supports, or at least tolerates, Common Core.   He said something like, “look, 80 % of Arizona children attend public schools, and it looks they’re not going anywhere.  The answer to fix education is not to have everyone leave the public schools.  It’s to fix the public schools, while still maintaining a multitude of parochial, private, and charter school options.  And in the public schools, Common Core is already well established, and the teachers are saying that within Common Core, there is a great amount of flexibility.”  All the teachers I’ve talked with like Common Core. The people adamantly opposed to it seem to not know very much about it.  I’m not saying I love Common Core, I’m just saying… it’s not that bad.  

2. He’s trustworthy.

Scott Smith has grown up in Mesa, and over the years has gained trust as a great businessman, accountant, church leader, family man, and Mayor.  I personally know some people who have worked with Scott Smith, and these people tell me he’s a good man.

3. He’s tough, yet realistic about the border.  

Other candidates will talk about satellites, mass deportations, and “sending Obama the bill” but Scott Smith is just… well, realistic about the whole situation.  

4. He’s got the experience for the job.

Scott Smith is the only candidate in the race with executive experience in the private sector and the public sector.  He was an accountant and a CEO for a home-building company for twenty-something years, and he was the Mayor of Mesa for… um… I think it was six years.   (I would go look up the exact years, but remember I told you I was in a hurry to get to work?)  Both the private sector and public sector enterprises flourished under his leadership.

5. Infrastructure

As Mayor, Scott Smith built the Mesa Arts Center, the new 24 freeway, the cubs stadium, the light rail, and lots of transportation and infrastructure improvements.  These have greatly improved the quality of life for Mesa residents.  Also, he got Apple and other big corporations to move in to Mesa.  That means more high-paying jobs for your friends and neighbors.  And he built all that while creating a surplus in the Mesa City budget.  

6. Budget Know-How

Even while cutting the budget of Mesa Police and Fire, he kept Mesa as one of the safest cities in America.  He knows how to cut out non-essentials in any organizations and fund the things that really matter.

7. Endorsements

People from Arizona endorse Scott Smith.  Governor Brewer and about a ba-zillion Arizona mayors.  Doug Ducey may have a lot of big name endorsements from some great people like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin but how much have these people actually worked with Doug Ducey?  Not at all!  Scott Smith, on the other hand, is getting the endorsements from the right people- local people who have known him for years, people who have actually worked with him.

8. Electability

Scott Smith is electable.  If he wins the primary, he’ll win in the general election.  And the latest poll numbers show him only 2 points behind Doug Ducey!  That’s great news!

I could go on, but you can see for yourself why Scott Smith is the best man for the job.  Go to his website, and vote for Scott Smith!