Monday, December 31, 2012

12.31.12 - Happy Cliff Year!

Mack Hall
31 December 2012

Cliff Dwellers

“Adieu! / Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!”

-      Macduff in Macbeth II.iii.37-38

Whether or not any American citizen will tumble off any cliffs, real or metaphorical, remains to be seen. 

When visiting the Grand Canyon, the sight-seer is cautioned regarding the nature of gravity by numerous signs, and yet numerous young men – because men are stupid – fall screaming to their deaths each year while posing for a daring picture beyond the warning signs.  That’s a bad cliff.

People making $250,000 a year might find themselves flung off a metaphorical cliff for being industrious and thrifty.  This menace comes from a government and a populace unclear on economics – very few people draw a paycheck for $250,000 a year, except perhaps for the beautiful people who run non-profits.  A small business – a dentist’s office, a large-ish beauty salon, a farm, a store - run by someone working 12 hours a day may well generate that much revenue in a year, but most of that money goes away again for rent, utilities, layers of taxes, salaries, insurance, and the supplies or commodities necessary for the business. 

Dental fillings, haircuts, food, and clothing do not come from fairies or elves or vague good feelings; they are the result of hard, intelligent work.  Envy of people who work is as old as Cain and Abel.

In Syria a taxi driver and Christian named Andrei Arbash was beheaded and his body thrown to the dogs after his brother complained about the Syrian Free Army acting like the sort of people who would behead Christians.  Our nation supports the Syrian Free Army.  That’s a bad cliff too.

Hobby Lobby, a chain of stores selling debris for decorators to assemble, glue, paint, and cover with feathers, is being pushed off a cliff by our own government, though as yet there is no anticipation that anyone will have his head chopped off.  Hobby Lobby refuses to assist its employees in killing their babies, and so must be punished.

While the federal minimum wage is $7.25, Hobby Lobby pays its entry-level full-time employees $11.  Still, our freely-elected government feels that this extra compensation cannot cover killing babies, so Hobby Lobby will be fined $1.3 million dollars per day until the little corpses begin stacking up outside the incinerators.  That’s a rough cliff for Hobby Lobby and their 13,000 workers, and a rougher one for children.

Saudi Arabia reports that their police arrested some 43 people at the private residence of an unnamed Asian diplomat for “plotting to celebrate Christmas” (  Note that the arrests were not for celebrating Christmas, but for plotting to celebrate Christmas.  Lots of American soldiers were killed defending foreign oil companies and the Family Saud from Saddamn Hussein.  The Family Saud show their appreciation by throwing everyone off the cliff.

The American Red Cross has issued a somewhat indignant statement about inaccurate emails regarding the salary of CEO Gail McGovern.  Ms. McGovern’s base pay is only $500,000 per year, thank you (  The residents of Haiti, Sandi Hook, coastal Mississippi, coastal Louisiana, and all of East Texas (Rita and Ike – you may have heard of them) will be relieved that Ms. McGovern can afford her own hot lunch and a big blue tarp to cushion her fall from any cliffs than come meandering along.

Hey, Happy Cliff Year, everyone.  Let us hope our new robes sit well enough upon us.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

12.16.2012, "Here I Am"

Mack Hall

“Here I Am”

Last Friday, on a very grim day for this nation, four young women chose to light candles against the darkness, and to say “Here I am” to those who suffer.

Brittany Carroll, Amber Coleson, Samantha Guillory, and Tara Roe-Sanchez took The Nightingale Pledge in a candle-lit ceremony at Jasper’s First United Methodist Church.  As LVN candidates in Angelina College’s nursing program, they have completed the first phase of their classroom studies and practical experience, and now look forward to taking their state board exams.  All intend to work towards the RN.

Brittany Carroll and Samantha Guillory received their caps and pins from their lead instructor, Lisa West, RN, MSN, FNP-C.  Amber Coleson elected Whitney Franklin, RN, BSN, for that honor, and Tara Roe-Sanchez was privileged to be capped and pinned by her mother, Patti Hooks, herself a new RN. 

Sharing the solemn joy were the new nurses’ families, friends, and their other instructors:  Liz Powell, RN, MEd; Charlet Blades, RN, MSN; Jacquelyn McClain, RN, BSN; Winifred Ferguson-Adams, RN, MEd; and Amber Murphy, RN, BSN.

Although many nursing schools have dropped The Nightingale Pledge, along with capping and pinning ceremonies, Angelina College knows that nursing is more than a state-licensed occupation; it is a vocation grounded in faith; it is a vocation that says “Here I am.”   

Advent is the perfect time for men and women to respond to the call to nursing through The Nightingale Pledge, for just as our Blessed Mother said her own “Here I am” to God, so do nurses. 

There is perhaps no higher calling, for in emergency rooms, home health, ICU, clinics, hospital wards, missions, operating rooms, ambulances, medevacs, aboard ships at sea, and in the desert aid posts, nurses, to those suffering from disaster, disease, and the murderous follies of mankind, are the constant “Here I am.”

On this happy night there were photographs and cakes and congratulations, but after that there will be long shifts and sleepless nights and impossible demands upon their nursing skills and their energy.  There will sometimes be victories and happy endings, but there will also be many losses and sorrows.  To this sacred calling, Brittany, Amber, Samantha, and Tara have said, without hesitation, “Here I am.”


Sunday, December 9, 2012

12.9.1012, What Evil Lurks in the Mayor's Refrigerator?

Mack Hall

What Evil Lurks in the Mayor’s Refrigerator?

In the Village of Charlo in New Brunswick, the local government is arguing as to whether or not the city council may keep their beer stash in the mayor’s office refrigerator.

New Brunswick, as you will recall from third-grade geography, is a Canadian province that borders Finland and Ulan-Bator, and is famous for Mounties riding in sleighs drawn by reindeer while chasing polar bears.

In merry Charlo, according to the CBC, the councilors are accustomed to meeting in the mayor’s office to bend an elbow and continue discussing village business after concluding the official council meeting.

In the USA we used to called folks elected to a city council councilmen, and now city councilmen can still be councilmen unless they are councilwomen and sometimes councilpersons.  Councilor is shorter and neater. 

The leader of any meeting back in Ye Olden Times used to be called a chairman, but the position was shortened to chair.  Visitors on the agenda are allowed to address the chair, which could be awkward if no one is actually sitting in the chair.  If the mayor has stepped out for a moment perhaps the speaker may address some other object: “Thank you, Madame Table, for allowing me to speak today,” or maybe “Mr. Ashtray, I wish to urge this committee to consider…”

Anyway, the mayor of Charlo, Jason Carter, thought that councilors shouldn’t be discussing village business while treating the mayor’s office refrigerator as the local franchise of the Long Branch Saloon.

Mayor Carter told the councilors to stop it.  They didn’t.

He then removed the wine, coolers, and whatever 40-ouncers are from his office refrigerator; the councilors told him to put the booze back, and he did.

Councilor Roger LeClaire said that he and his fellow councilors “sometimes have a drink after public meetings, but only on special occasions.”   Like, maybe, days ending in “y?”

Mayor Carter, shocked, shocked that there was drinking going on in council, tendered his resignation, which the council joyfully accepted, not with “Aye!” but with “I’ll drink to that!”

Charlo seems, from the information available on the ‘net (and the ‘net is always accurate, right?), to be a pleasant little town of about 1300 folks on a bay off the St. Lawrence.  Its first Euro types, in 1799, were Cajuns, and French remains the dominant language.  The area features a nice little airport, commercial and sport fishing, tourism, forestry, agriculture, skiing, hiking, and numerous motels, B & Bs, and restaurants, and suffers almost no crime.  In the summers the highs are in the 70s; just now Charlo is an invigorating 24 or so. 

In 1943, flower-class corvette HMCS Rimouski chased away German sub U-236, which had been lurking in the bay off Charlo in a blocked attempt to take on board escaped German prisoners-of-war.  The Rimouski was long ago turned into beer cans and fenders, but you can visit her sister ship, HMCS Sackville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Charlo, New Brunswick sounds like a great place to relax for a week or so, not only for the many attractions for both the active and the sedentary visitor, but because the worst political squabble they have had in recent memory is about what might be chillin’ in the mayor’s office refrigerator.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I have forgotten to mention that my new vanity collection of poetry, The Road to Magdalena, is available from on kindle for .99 (yes, cents), and from as bits of a dead tree for $6.95. 

Look for it under Lawrence Hall or Lawrence Mack Hall (I forget which); the "Lawrence" instead of "Mack" is a tiresome, irrelevant story.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mayonnaise Doomsday

Mack Hall

Doomsday according to the Mayonnaise Calendar

Last week, a twenty-something woman famous for being famous slugged a psychic in a high-toned juke-joint.  The relevant question is this: did the psychic see the punch coming?

Perhaps the two women were arguing over their underground shelters and their stocks of dried peas and their .556 semi-automatic rifles in anticipation of The End Times.

Yes, once again the world is coming to an end, just before Christmas, this time prophesied by a Ye Old Mayonnaise (or something) Calendar inscribed on a stone by barefoot Mayonnaise shamans chanting Wagner’s Ring Cycle backwards before the evil Conquistadors came with their nefarious global warming and it’s all over the ‘net so it must be true.

One wonders if there is a Charlie Brown special for that.

A saunter through the tangled electronic mess we access on our magic plastic boxes reveals dozens of companies selling goodies for The End of the World: guns, knives, drums of dried peas (yum), drums of waters, and vacuum-packed envelopes of freeze-dried Ye Old Country Chuckwagon Western Down-Home Mountain Trail Beef Stew (so embalmed that it will last for thirty years). 

One advertisement shows an image of what appears to a lovely family smiling as they survey shelves of preserved food in their underground temple of doom.  Perhaps Dad is saying “Look, kids, enough preserved food for thirty years!  The rest of the planet will be destroyed by the rogue planet igZapthorp X2 as predicted by ancient Mayonnaise priests, but the five of us will be safe forever in our bunker.  Go to bed, now, and don’t make me get out that electric cattle-prod.”

On the big plastic box somebody who used to be famous gallops his horsey up to the screen and assures you that with the coming collapse of civilization you’ll want to give him your worthless American currency in exchange for his company’s shiny yellow metal.  And maybe some magic beans.

No one asks once-famous-old-guy this logical question: if my American currency is so worthless, why do you want to give me your gold for it?

Since the Mayonnaise end of the world is coming, hey, don’t worry about paying off any debt.  Go ahead, spring for that Mercedes-Benz.

Hey, kids, don’t stress your report card; the flying Mayonnaise jar’s going to take out the planet before the end of the semester.  So much for algebra.

The End will be prefaced by the shifting of the magnetic poles, so we’ll all have to go out and buy new compasses because at that moment all the computers on the planet will freeze on images of Khardassian-Boo-Boo, which is because of the global warming fracking caused by the 666 government scientists in the secret bunker beneath Denver’s airport messin’ around with the Ark of the Covenant which Indiana Jones found hidden in a secret compartment of the Eiffel Tower, a secret signal-transmitter pointed toward Neptune and guarded by albino monks armed with machine guns and taking secret orders from the Dolly Llama who carries in his head the final secrets of the occult Nazi SS which were supposed to have been loaded aboard a secret Japanese submarine powered by a mysterious crystal floating in a triangle which harnesses the power of the sun as determined by ancient Sumerians who were the predecessors of the Masons who through the Jews control the Vatican finances of the Pope who is actually an incarnation of the moon god Xpoopus and through mind-beams controls the actions of the National Guard who are in fact reincarnations of King Solomon’s bodyguard of left-handed onion-sellers trading the sacred knowledge of ancient Chinese kings who lost it when Dr. No stole their sacred memory-rings and transported them to an island in the Caribbean where James Bond found them and they didn’t tell you that bit in the movie because the CIA and MI6 were in on it together and you’d know that if you’d paid better attention to The Lord of the Rings because Tolkien was a secret agent for MI5 or 6 or something, and alluded to it in the bit about the Mines of Moriah which were actually the cave in Patrick McGoohan’s The Village which caused Hurricane Sandy to destroy New Jersey and it’s all on your secret decoder ring which you can order for $12.95 from Rebel-Red Bubba’s Survival Gear ‘N’ Stuff at www.geek.paranoia.grow.up.

The space ships aren’t going to come, you know, so let’s all climb down off the roof and have a nice cup of coffee.