March 6, 2017
A place to share some words of beauty, inspiration, and fun. WARNING: This week’s selections are not politically correct. They include cruelty to an alligator, hurtful slurs to native Americans, and a proud black man exploited by a white boss. Click on the name of the piece to get a video or more information. You have some favorites? Please share…
We fired our cannon ’til the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannon balls ‘n’ powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind
– Battle of New Orleans writer James Morris, singer Johnny Horton
Please Mr. Custer, I don’t wanna go
Listen Mr. Custer, please don’t make me go
There’s a redskin waitin’ out there, just fixin to take my hair
A coward I’ve been called, cuz I don’t wanna wind up dead or bald
– Please Mr. Custer Singer: Larry Verne, Composers: Fred Darian, Al DeLory, and Joseph Van Winkle
John Henry said to the Captain
Well a man ain’t nothing but a man
And before I let a steam drill beat me down
Going to die with a hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord
Going to die with a hammer in my hand
– The Ballad of John Henry Richard Buckner, Melanie Clarin, Alex Liu, Stephanie Rogan
Put your affairs in order, for the end of the world is coming soon. I know that it’s easy to be skeptical about such things, since there have been folks throughout the centuries who have predicted that the end was near and warned everybody to get ready for it. And each time, the world kept imperfectly toddling right along as it had been doing before their dire warnings.
For instance, you may remember evangelist Hal Lindsey, author of the 1970 book, The Late Great Planet Earth, in which he predicted the end of the world. He didn’t have an exact date, but he suggested it might be sometime in the late 1980s. Well the 1980s have come and gone, but Lindsey’s still around, still predicting that the end is near.
In 2008, he suggested that then-newly elected President Barack Obama was nothing less than an advance man for the Antichrist. Lindsey is now 86 years old and still going strong, but after all these years, the world has moved on. And I have to wonder, if President Barack Obama was the advance man for the anti-Christ, what does that make President Donald Trump?
I keep thinking those two guys hated each other, but then again maybe that’s just part of the plan. Or just maybe, Mr. Lindsey really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
I got my information, on the other hand, from a serious, if shabbily dressed, middle-aged man in the parking lot at Walmart, who thrust a paper in my hand and told me it was something that I needed to read.
It was a flyer, printed on both sides, full of arrows and biblical verse warning about the “7-YEAR TRIBULATION,” the coming of the Antichrist, and Armageddon.
I tried to read it. I really did, but some of the handwritten letters were really big and some were really small and with the arrows pointing from one phrase to another and sometimes back again, it was very difficult to figure what went with what.
Let me be clear, I like Christians. I also like Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and even the much maligned Muslims. But the end of the world? HOLY MACKEREL!
I had hoped to be long gone before the Antichrist arrived. On the other hand, if it’s right around the corner – or maybe even in the oval office – it would certainly be something that would be a shame to miss.
– George Lee Cunningham
February 27, 2017
I’m old – 76 years and counting. This comes as a shock to me sometimes, because I tend to forget. Then I will catch my reflection in a store window as I walk by and it comes as a total surprise – every single time. What the hell, I think to myself. How in hell did this happen?
And the answer, of course, is one day at a time – so slow you tend not to notice. You’re too busy living life to worry about the creeping little aches and pains that get a bit bigger with each passing year. Then one day, walking past the store window, it all catches up with you.
What the hell!
You look back at your life and you think – wow, that went quicker than I thought. And then you look forward to that day when it’s time to shuffle off the mortal coil, hand-in-hand with your contemporaries, and it seems like just a short little jog. It’s not that I’m afraid. I’m not. I’m just a little disappointed. It all went by a lot faster than I thought.
And that brings me to my first piece of advice for all my young friends. An entire lifetime may seem like a long time now, but it goes by so fast it will take your breath away. You only have a few years on the planet, so make them count.
My second piece of advice is don’t let them put you in a box. Who are “them?” Your parents, your teachers, your young naive friends, preachers, politicians, singers, actors, or other entertainers. This is as much a warning as a piece of advice. I hit all the potholes in life, I’ve done most of the things I’m warning you not to do. Love your parents, your grandparents, your uncles and aunts, but use their experiences as lessons not only in what to do with your life but also in what not to do.
My third piece of advice is don’t waste too much time in school. If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or a researcher, you will obviously need formal training, but those disciplines are trades – skills you acquire to make a living. Math and the physical sciences are aimed at understanding the world, they’re not the same things as arguing legalities or designing a better airplane. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very much for education. We can’t make proper decisions unless we understand history and the world around us, but education is a personal choice and it doesn’t happen just in college. Be curious about life. If you want to understand how the world works, you will do so. The only question is whether you go into years of debt to learn it at college from professors – most of whom have spent most of their lives in school, either learning stuff or teaching it to others.
My fourth piece of advice is don’t take experts too seriously. Experts are mostly just people trained to spout the common wisdom, which sometimes is right, but often is not. Use common sense. Think for yourself. As you get older, you will look back and see how seriously flawed expert advice has been.
My fifth piece of advice is have fun. Enjoy yourself. You are not guaranteed 70 plus years. People around me have died, stretching as far back as elementary school. Some of the young people I currently know may well die before me. That really sucks, but let’s face it, life’s not fair. Don’t be planning so much for the future that you forget to enjoy the present.
And my very last piece of advice is to take everything I just advised with a grain of salt. You’re not me and I’m not you. Consider what I have to say if you like, but in the end make up your own mind and make your own mistakes. Be your own person – not who anybody else, including me, thinks you should be. It’s your life, live it, which is exactly what I am doing with mine.
Meanwhile, I’m still learning from my old mistakes and moving on – hopefully a little smarter. I will make brand new mistakes, I’m sure, but not the old ones. My plan is to be around as long as possible, having fun and enjoying life.
Wish me well in that endeavor, and I will do the same for you.
— Your pal, George Lee Cunningham
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A place to share some words of beauty, inspiration, and fun. Click on the name of the piece to get a video or more information. You have some favorites? Please share…
And it’s knowin’ I’m not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some lines
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory that keeps you ever gentle on my mind
– Gentle on My Mind composer and singer John Hartford
Papa loved Mama
Mama loved men
Mama’s in the graveyard
Papa’s in the pen
– Papa Loved Mama composers Garth Brooks & Kim Williams
you boys can keep your virgins
give me hot old women in high heels
with asses that forgot to get old.”
— One of the Hottest poet Charles Bukowski
I would like to get it straight once and for all. I am not a conservative and I am not a liberal. But people keep wanting to put me in one of those boxes, depending on whether I agree or disagree with them on specific issues. I am me. Some of the things I believe in are in line with conservative thought; some are in line with liberal ideas. Many of the things I believe are neither one.
Like most Americans, I am not pro-life or pro-choice. I am somewhere between those two extremes. I also am not willing to see children go hungry, no matter how irresponsible their parents may be. Children are entitled to love and support. Not so with their parents. Adults need to get off their asses and help themselves.
I am also tired of people who claim to be on the side of working people, but who walk by janitors and tradesmen as though they are invisible. I am disgusted by politicians who take big contributions from the people who work for me (public employees) then grant those same people extravagant salaries, pensions, and job security whether they work hard or not. I want the politicians I vote for to represent me, not the people who work for me.
I don’t smoke or take illegal drugs, but I think people should have the freedom to do so if they wish. I think prostitution is a terrible way to make a living, but I don’t think it should be illegal. Shooting heroin to get high, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, eating fatty food or being a couch potato may all be both stupid and unhealthy, but I don’t think they should be crimes. Some of these things should be regulated to protect children and the general public, but none of them should be illegal.
We look down at Mexico for supplying illicit drugs, but we’re the ones consuming those drugs. American drug buyers are the ones responsible for the blood bath south of the border. Mexico should be angry with us for destroying their country. Blaming Mexico for our drug problem is similar to busting hookers, but letting the Johns go free. It doesn’t compute.
My bottom line is this: You can believe what you want and still be my friend. Just don’t insist that I walk in lockstep with you to stay in your good graces.
Friends like that, I can do without.
— George Cunningham