religion

something to ponder while waiting for the other shoe to drop(?)

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i took my ride to the toyota dealer the other day.  it was time for some scheduled maintenance and then there’s that ‘problem’ toyota is having which needed to be addressed as well.  toyota has said any number of things about the ‘problem’.  a problem which has lots of us folks wondering if the car we are riding in will be worth anything at all down the road.  the safety issue doesn’t concern me that much.  one, i know what to do.  i knew that before toyota started yammering about what to do if the deal went down.  two, given the number of their cars on the road and the number of times it’s occurred the odds are slim.  and in my favor, well, so far, that anything is going to happen to me in particular.  yeah, so far.

at any rate, the dealership i go to is owned by former football great, john elway.  whenever i go there i’m always hoping it will be one of the days he’s actually at the place.  i mean he has a parking spot out front with his name on it and the workers do say he does show up on occasion.  i figure we could toss the old pigskin around out on the lawn or something.  i could run a few patterns.  well, make that sorta walk/run a few patterns and he could fire the pigskin at me.  hopefully, not disabling me in the process.  ah, dreams.  and i’m drifting.

the place was busier than i’ve ever seen it.  folks and cars stacked up everywhere.  i’m sure that’s probably the scene at most toyota dealers all over the world.  a madhouse.  i had an appointment so things weren’t too bad, though the whole deal took much longer than usual.  it gave me time to think about stuff while i read a bit and people watched.  i was thinking, what if…

the tiny village was quiet except for the sound of the crackling fire.  the smell of fatty lamb hung in the air as the platoon of green berets made their way out of the ville and on to the next.  two men standing in a doorway smiled slightly as the soldiers moved further into the distance.  once the troops were out of sight they moved back inside the hut and sat by the fire.

the americans are stupid.

yes, but we’ve always known that.

hand me the knife, i’m still hungry.

they were quiet as they started to eat again.  the whole village remained quiet.  their two guests were very important people and the villagers didn’t want to disturb them in any way.  the men began talking again.

our plan is working.  soon the others will follow.

we learned much from the north vietnamese.  americans, as well as the rest of the world, have no patience.  we have patience.  and we have true believers on our side.  believers who will do anything to make allah the one and only true god.

all praise to allah.

your plan to infiltrate capitalist corporations was brilliant and is working even better than expected.

yes, it took time but time is on our side.  time and allah.

all praise to allah.

you know, my brother, when i first thought of it i couldn’t imagine that it was going to be this successful.  i mean, a simple plan is always the best.  several engineers in several different jobs in some of the biggest capitalist corporations in the world.  a simple thing, several small glitches programed into and buried inside electronics and computers that are almost impossible to find.  glitches that are beginning to bring down the auto giant toyota.  soon, others will follow.

god is great.  all praise to allah.

yeah, strange thoughts while sitting and waiting at my local toyota dealership.

jmh

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our lady of mount carmel church, rancho cucamonga, ca w/photos

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the old catholic church still stands where it has for as long as i can remember and was there even before i was born.  one of the oldest catholic churches in the area.  the church sits just steps away from the old padre winery.  while i was visiting padre winery the other day i stopped by the church as well.  the church was my grandparents back in the day.  they could walk there very easily and did several times a week.

our lady hasn’t held up as well as padre winery.  plenty of parishioners but not the well to do types of other parishes in cucamonga.  just your average work a day joes go to this church these days.  the salt of the earth types.  not unlike in the old days.  the old days, when the street that fronts it was smaller.  the intersection was also the home to some old stately eucalyptus trees.  long gone due to street widening projects and the addition of curb and gutters.

since the church stands so close to padre winery i’ve been by it many many times over the years.  though i hadn’t been inside of the church since june of 1968 or 1969.  the day of my grandfather’s funeral.  you would think i could remember the exact date but i was in a wisdom tooth extraction haze and all i really remember about the day was the huge cloud of incense drifting about my grandfather’s coffin.

i made it back inside the church the other day.  it was an odd experience at best.  there have been some changes and the floor is now carpeted.  i guess carpet is easier to maintain than the old hardwood floors.  the simple beauty of a very very old and small catholic church that served old italians and mexicans remains.

i miss, nona and nono, italian for grandmother and grandfather.  the little house they used to live is gone.  but the little church they worshiped in still stands.  stands like a memory of a long ago past.

our lady of mount carmel catholic church.

 

jmh

 

in search of the miraculous

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that’s the title of an old book that was a semi sort of hippy required reading deal back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  i had a copy of the book for many years.  the book in question first appeared in 1947 and was written by p. d. ouspensky.  lots of interesting stuff in it but that book isn’t why i’m here.  i’m just borrowing the title for a bit because i’m searching for a miracle or the miraculous myself. 

long time readers know i bought a trailer here in the brittney spears memorial trailer parkin the early summer last year.  well, it’s not really that bad.  the trailer or the park.  at any rate, i’m trying to sell the place.  i wouldn’t be selling it if i hadn’t met and married the brown eyed girl, who with her arthritis problems, can’t manage the stairs here very easily.  trying to sell the place in this economy hasn’t been easy either.  some lookie loos who expect you to give stuff away.  no chance and no thanks.  and no offers.  it’s become obvious that it’s time to go in search of the miraculous.

it’s not that either of us don’t like this place.  we do.  as a matter of fact, it’s a very nice place and we do some of our entertaining here in the mobile home.  there’s easier parking than our other place and a much more spacious kitchen for us to whip stuff up and move about.  plus, it’s a good 500 square feet bigger than our other place and much newer.  but that’s just realtor mumbo jumbo and i’m drifting.

many years ago in santa fe, new mexico, the nuns of the lorreto chapel had a dilemma.  they needed a staircase in order for them to get up into the choir loft of the church.  when the church was built a staircase wasn’t included for some reason or another up into the loft.  one of those early builder oversight thingys i suppose.  ah, what can we say, mother superior, other than…oops.

the nuns had no other recourse than to pray a lot and hope for somebody or another and perhaps a miracle to come along and get the staircase built.  well, after many prayers, one afternoon this guy showed up and said he would build them their staircase.  very cool.  the nuns were very happy.  they went to bed that night with dreams of a staircase dancing in their heads.

depending upon who you are reading, when the nuns got up in the morning they had their staircase and the man was gone.  plus, the gentleman who had built the staircase hadn’t used any nails.  nary a one.  some stories recount that it took several days to build the stairs.  however, they all claim that the builder was, st joseph, and there were no nails used in it’s construction.

yeah, the dude in question was none other than the father of jesus and apparently a pretty good carpenter to boot.  ok, so not THE father but well, you know what i mean.  the nun’s prayers had been answered.  a miracle had been performed.  the staircase had been built. 

the church still stands today as well as the staircase.  the original staircase didn’t have a handrail or newel posts.  they were added later and no nails were used in their making as well.  just wood dowels.

some of you have seen these photos before but they are worth repeating here.  the lorreto chapel and the staircase. 

ok, so just what does all this mean?  in regards to my search for the miraculous?  i suppose, ever since st joseph built that staircase for the nuns he acquired the reputation for getting stuff done, building or house wise.  or maybe it came about sometime even earlier in his saintdom.  i really don’t know.  but it’s not something others and myself haven’t overlooked down through the years.  um, say what?

it seems that st joseph comes in very handy when you are trying to sell a piece of property or your house.  all that needs to be done is to bury a statue of him in the front yard and viola he works his miracle and the place sells.  something i’m indeed going to try.  and hopefully i get a minor miracle of sorts and the mobile home sells.

of course, i figure it would probably border on the sacrilegious if i were to bury the statue.  so with that in mind, the brown eyed girl’s older sister has come into play.  she’s a very religious catholic lady.  a fine thing indeed.  i gave her some money and she found us a very nice pewter statue of st joseph holding the baby jesus.  she’s coming here on monday and the three of us are going to plant the statue in the front yard under the for sale sign.

years ago one of my aunts went on a pilgrimage to lourdes, france.  as a gift, she bought me a small bottle of lourdes holy water.  the statue of st joseph will be anointed with some of that holy water before it’s buried.  a few prayers will be offered up as well. 

it’s too bad my sister-in-law can’t make it here on sunday, as it’s all saints day.  logistically for her it isn’t possible.  she’s busy with church stuff all day plus she lives way over on the west side of l.a.  all that being said, perhaps it won’t matter when the deal goes down on monday.

if st joseph comes through my sister-in-law’s church will get a very nice donation for their poor box.  as will a local catholic church’s feeding the hungry program.  at any rate, both places have already been given something this pre-thanksgiving season.  i’m by no means trying to blackmail st joseph in any way shape of form.  but, well, things are things and stuff as well.  we hope.  we pray.  we give. 

i hope my search for the miraculous comes to fruition.  hopefully, wonders will never cease.

thank you, st joseph.

jmh

random rainy day dream away randomness

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winter has finally hit socal.  cold weather.  well, cold for this desert anyway.  plus a nice hard rain.  there’s nothing like a nice rain especially after the last few winters of desultory or just vague rain fall.  if the state doesn’t go broke in the next few days i’m certain the water police will be out and about this coming summer.  count on it. 

my friend, jwfh, did a nice piece on rain today.  it got me thinking.  rain is god’s atonement for us or a washing machine, as it were.  sure sometimes there is a bit too much rain but sometimes the washer overflows or one of the hoses breaks.  none the less, those of us who live here in this desert love the rain and god’s stellar rinse cycle pretty much anytime it’s available.

this past friday the brown eyed girl and i attended a family function.  a funeral to be exact.  one of the brown eyed girl’s uncles.  funerals are funerals and this one was just the usual except for the music.  a small mariachi group, led by the uncle’s oldest son, played some fine haunting stuff during the mass, at the graveside, and at the lunch after wards.

during the lunch i had to make several trips to the food line to get stuff for the brown eyed girl and myself.  it was a small room and a large crowd of relatives and friends.  there was an attractive young blond woman with huge tits who was clogging up one of the aisles.  she was chatting with someone and seemed to get annoyed with anyone who had to walk through her, i’m sure, very very important conversation.  women pushing kids in strollers or old white guys hauling stuff to and from the food line.  it didn’t matter.  she wasn’t happy and only grudingly moved.  anyways, i’m thinkin’ she’s one of the reasons it’s raining.

the brown eyed girl and i spent yesterday afternoon making english toffee candy and merange cookies called brutti something or another.  she was supposed to do the deal with one of her girlfriends.  they do it every year around this time.  trouble was they just couldn’t work out a day and a time.  something always happened.  so i volunteered to assist the brown eyed girl. 

i’m a pretty good cook but baking has and never will be one of my fortes.  i just don’t have the patience for it.  even though my mom was an amazing baker and my dad made a living doing it before ww2.  i guess those genes didn’t get passed along.  it was fun and i enjoyed it but after 3 or 4 hours of the fun i’d had enough candy cookie making for one day.  i must say the stuff tastes wonderful and i’m happy i was able to help but as a regular thing.  no thanks.  but then i’m not a sweets or desserts person for the most part.  i’m a ‘call any vegatable…call one today’ sorta guy.  ok.  before someone asks the veggie reference is an old mothers of invention tune of the same name.

the rain has been coming down for almost 12 hours straight now.  it’s still raining hard.  the street out front is a sorta rampant stream.  one i’m glad i don’t have to ford.  the temperature is hovering around 43 degrees.  winter has finally fallen and i couldn’t be happier.

jmh

there is no magic

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yesterday was the day of the wedding i’d promised the old g/f i would attend with her.  a small affair with maybe 30 people total.  a catholic church ceremony along the lines of the olden days high mass wedding ceremonies from my youth.  an hour an fifteen minute deal that would have left my butt permanently numb had it not been for all the getting up and sitting back down stuff going on.   

it’s getting hot again here in socal.  but then it’s summer so what else is new?  i made the trip out to the old digs and i was early so we could pick up her parents.  turns out i was too early because her sister had called and said they would pick up the old ones.  i asked why she didn’t call and tell me about the change in plans.  no real answer.  i wasn’t happy about the idea of sitting around for over an hour listening to her tell me how wonderful she was and how fucked up i am for the bazillionth time.

i pulled out the stops and she took the hint.  thankfully, her sister called and told us to go to the old ones place and we’d eat some singapore noodles and soup before the wedding.  fine.  plus the noodles and soup were superb.

the wedding was nice as far as weddings go and the church was a newer one and air conditioned.  yes!  the padre who performed the wedding was an old veterano filipino with over 35 years dealing with the work of the church.  i must say he did a nice job and kept his comments to a minimum or we might still be there. 

no bride and groom want to hear anything resembling a sermon on their wedding day.  the invited guests don’t want to hear it as well.  the padre said as much.  good for him.  he’d won me over.  

though he did say one or two things.  the most important being ‘there is no magic.’  a church wedding doesn’t change anything.  when you leave you leave with what you came in with.  love wise.  it’s all up to you.  god or the church can’t change any of that.  an interesting and thoughtful way of putting the deal in perspective.

when the time came for communion i went up and got his blessing instead of the wafer and vino.  it was nice to have someone with some sort of street cred with the man upstairs lay a blessing on you.

some time was spent at the bride and grooms home.  with a chinese fire drill thrown in for good measure concerning parking in their townhouse complex.  park here then no key to open the gate.  it’s locked.  of course.  move someplace else and you can’t park there as it’s reserved for someone else and so on.  finally the old g/f got to park in the garage probably because of the old ones.

the reception and dinner turned out to be a very nice and pricey affair.  though no open bar as i was led to believe.  there would be some vino at dinner but nothing other than an overly sweet punch with the canapes of chinese origin.  i needed something to take the edge off.  there was still over an hour before dinner.

i’m going to find the bar.

ok.

i wandered around and stumbled in on an indian affair on the same level of the hotel.  i think probably drawn by the wonderful redolent curry smell  being wafted around by the a/c.  i considered hitting the food line but figured with my natural american looks, which were already getting me looks, i’d be asked just what the fuck i thought i was doing.  so i went elsewhere looking for the bar.

i finally found the bar and waded through the golfers who were lined up at the 19th hole.

can i help you?

i didn’t want to linger too much.

yes, two glasses of chardonnay. 

there was a wine list several pages long.  i didn’t want to read it.

not the most expensive stuff just something reasonable.

the lady bartender then read the list.

i’m like, ok.  maybe i should have done that.

she then tells me the $9 a glass stuff is not available as they are out of it and the next choice would be the $12 stuff.

fine.

she poured me two glasses of the vino and i swilled half of the first glass and she actually topped it off.  sweet.  so i finished half the glass again and poured the rest into the second glass and headed back upstairs.  feeling much better about things.

the dinner was a very very good chinese affair.  excellent food and the service was nice as well.  plus a couple more glasses of dago red.  thankfully it wasn’t one of those wedding party deals that go on and on into the night.  by a quarter to 10 the hotel help was telling them to wrap it up.  you time is up kids.  go home.  fine by me i was ready.  i’d had way too much to eat and if i drank anymore i’d be a prime dui suspect for my trip back here.  which proved to be uneventful.  thankfully.

jmh

jesus as a role model or it’s memorial day weekend

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several friends are the inspiration for today’s blog.  the first being my friend, josh, and his continuing ‘kutler’ blog.  the other is my friend, ruby or aka, as i sometimes call her.  she made a comment about a comment in her latest or today’s or yesterday’s as the case may be poem blog.  her comment?  ha- jesus wasn’t a role model in my house. 

there ya go.  well, kids he was in mine.  however, he’s gone the way of the ‘dead kennedy’s'(thanks for bringing them up mel) in my current house.  um, the pun was intended.  i’ll forgo the last or current senator guy in the joe line for now.

jesus and the home front.  when i was growing up he was right there.  front and center.  daily.  as my time passed he sorta fell out of the front page in my life.  sex.  women.  drink.  drugs.  sleep.  rock and roll.  though i doubt in the long haul rock and roll had any sorta impact.  well, no, it really probably didn’t.  it was just an adjunct type deal and not really germane in the long run.  sorta like saying jazz made me give up jesus.  see what i’m saying?  none the less, drink had a lot to do with stuff in the early days.  or teenage days.  then of course there was vietnam.

just how could i as a lapsed lutheran before i even went to nam and then as a douche bag in nam being scared shit less and asking god or his kid to spare me the hardships of being maimed or being a p.o.w. or worse.  no, being a p.o.w was or had to be worse than being dead.  dear god.  i’ll do whatever you want just get me out of here in one piece and no p.o.w shit, please. 

asking all of this stuff and telling the old guy that, hey, god, get me out of this in some sort of semi sorta shape and i’ll walk the line.  please, just help me.  i promise.  yeah, right.

well, i got out in some sorta semi shape and i blew him off.  i forgot about what i’d promised.  yep.  just became whatever.  ok?

my life since nam has been ok.  i’ve muddled through.  i’m 60 and i’m retired.  though the last 26 and a half years i dealt with work to get to this point wasn’t that pleasant at times.  trust me.  it could have been worse but well worse is what you make of it.  i’d had enough of it and it’s worseness.  a new word.

all of this makes no sense and i’m rambling.  however.  i’m thinking there is a god and he had a kid.  jesus.  i’ve blown both of them off in my sad semi sorta demented life.  and would still probably do it tomorrow or next week.  like what is wrong with me? 

none the less there is a god.  and he did have a kid and his is kid my only answer.  yours as well.  like it or not.  the trouble is me.  count on it.  you should too. 

well, any the ways, just remember that things ain’t perfect and never will be and probably weren’t ever meant to be in the first place.  someone will always love you.  thankfully.  i just hope he and his kid still do after today and then tomorrow and next week or year or…when i’m still a douche bag.

jmh