Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving - Places for Everyone

Lawrence Hall

Thanksgiving – Places for Everyone

Somehow there are places enough for everyone
A tectonic shifting of tableware
A tsunami of saucers, plates, and bowls
The good Thanksgiving and Christmas settings
A rare bottle of Chateau du Supermarket
Gallons of iced tea, and soda for the kids
So many at the children’s table this year
And who will now sit in Grandfather’s place?
This year he dines at that Table in Paradise
Where there are always places enough for everyone

Aves Lost and Found - Poem

Lawrence Hall

Aves Lost and Found

Like years one’s Aves softly slip away
Across the lips and heart as songs of love
Unlike lost years, one’s Aves come again

The Chestnut Street Cafe - Poem

Lawrence Hall

The Chestnut Tree Café

Another glass or two of Victory gin
A drag on a Victory cigarette
A game of chess, idle conversation
Nothing to do now, and no place to go
A corner table just for them
Ungoods confessed and shriven by the State
Cautionary examples doing penance
Beneath the ever-busy telescreen
Purging themselves of ambiguities
Awaiting only the bullet of love

Old Robes - Poem

Lawrence Hall

Old Robes

“Lest our old robes sit easier than our new”
-Macbeth II.iiii

A re-sale blazer is liturgical
The appointed vestment for ordinary time
Dignified, yet humble and comfortable
Vested in the sacristy at Goodwill
Five dollars’ worth of human dignity
Free of ornaments and advertisements
A good old coat, blessed in its past owner
Now tried before the looking glass, approved
Then out onto the altar of the world
To celebrate again the mass of life

Two Drowsy Old Dogs - Poem

Lawrence Hall

Two Drowsy Old Dogs

The adventures are pretty much over now
And the field gear was turned in long ago
An old dog dozes in front of the fire
Dreaming of rabbits he chased as a pup
An old man dozes over an open book
Dreaming of what was, and what might have been
In letters, words, and lines upon a page
Shaped into mountains and rivers of fire
And sunrise over the rim of the world
Where awaits the greatest Adventure of all

The Dying Romantic Mathematician - Poem

Lawrence Hall

The Dying Romantic Mathematician

“Your trapezoid is vectored to a sphere”
She sighed, “and parallels are polygon.”
“All, all is perpendicular,” he coughed,
“And arcs are so rectangle to sad Pi
Equiangular in the radius
And rhombus has gone Pythagorean.
O canst thou concave the isosceles?”
“Yes!” she coplanared. “Yes!” he gasped in pain,
“Oh, yes, our love is solved for X!"
He died,
Quadratic equations upon his lips

Halloween Storm - Poem

Lawrence Hall

Halloween Storm

October’s wind and rain are being bad
They beat against the windows and the walls
Demanding to be let inside the house
Then thunder and lightning from the darkness leap
And shout “Baroom! Barrrrrrroooom! Boom! Boom!” and “Boo!”
Small children burrow deeper beneath the covers
Along with Bunny, Bo-Peep-Sheep, and Bear
And giggle through the stormy night because
It’s just Old Thunder laughing like Santa Claus,
And October’s wind and rain, making life fun

The Unbeliever's Rosary- Poem

The Unbeliever’s Rosary
On the Occasion of a Passing


Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Then say:

Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.
Funerals are for the living.

Followed by:

This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.
This is a celebration of life.

Then tie a stuffed toy to a chain-link fence, check your emails, take a selfie, and depart in peace.

The Deposit of Faith - a Poem

Lawrence Hall

The Deposit of Faith

Do Catholics believe in anything now?
Our ancient Faith is a tangle of ruins
Where Aves and Paters are never heard
The only sounds now are ghosts arguing
Accusing each other of desecration
And keyboards clattering in ecstasies
Of outrage at synods droning in time
To the bowel sounds of bitter partisans
Other than gossip and mutual sneers
Do Catholics believe in anything now?

Twinky-Twank Jesus - a Poem

Lawrence Hall

Twinky-Twank Jesus

These are my church clothes; it’s all about me
Dressed to praise Jesus in my sneaks and my tee
I’ve got my electric worship guitar
Drums, keyboard, and cymbals (but no sitar)

MY Bible all dressed in a fluffy pillow
I’ll clap and sing, and sway like a willow
I’ll wave my hands all up in the air
Which is good for drying my armpit hair

Twinky-twank is salvation, don’t you see
And Jesus is lucky to have precious me!

So Who's the Snowflake?

Mack Hall

So who’s the Snowflake?

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves…”
- Julius Caesar I.ii.140-141

A good citizen is always hesitant to believe anything that flashes across the little screen of The Abominable Autoscribe (cf. A Canticle for Leibowitz). While respecting this caveat, the reports of students at something called Mizzou expressing anger that the murders of over 100 people in France displaced attention from the students’ hurt feelings are not surprising (,,

Most people have never been blessed with the opportunity to study at university. Last week some of the privileged few, alleging hurt feelings based on nyah-nyah he-called-me-a-bad-name moments never substantiated, demanded the submission of the university administration. Over hurt feelings. As in a Soviet show trial in the 1930s and 1940s the president abased himself and resigned. Unlike the sequel to a Soviet show trial, he was not shot.

And now the protesting Mizzouzi snowflakes – who weren’t treated even to a whiff of tear gas – are outraged that their look-at-me-me-me moment has expired as the world turns its attention to other young people, young people who were murdered during a sustained attack in Paris.

The immaturity and the bullying of Missouzi students has been well noted. However, none of this should be a surprise. What else have they ever known? That is how they were raised. Consider the adult – adult - role models the Mizzouzi students (so to speak) have known since infancy:

The Secret Service
Bill Cosby
The Veterans’ Administration
Bradley / Chelsea Manning
General Petraeus and his flying harem
President Clinton
Senator Clinton
Al Sharpton
Al Gore
The Diocese of Boston
Black Friday shoppers who trample people to death
John Kerry and his band-aid Purple Heart
The 50% who don’t vote in presidential elections
The 90+% who don’t vote in school board elections
The Khardassians
Jerry Springer
That strange woman who twerks
The View
The Brothers Castro
Helicopter parents

The list could go on and on.

In sum, why should Junior be expected to show good manners and remove his cap at a funeral when his father doesn’t remove his, and his mother is taking a selfie? Why should Zoey Kloey restrain herself from yelling obscenities when that is how her grandmother expresses herself?

There are rumors that this is not consistently so – rumors that there are young people who want thoughtful sermons, not guitar sing-alongs; genuine challenges and risks of failure, not participation ribbons; Tolkien and Chesterton and Lewis and even Dostoyevsky, not coloring books; real music, not three-chord poseurs shrieking propaganda; soap and water and vigorous health, not self-disfigurement; a few turns with a pipe wrench instead of making a Power Pointless Presentation; sunlight slanting across the autumn woods, not vampire videos in a dark, unclean room; a day on the deer stand instead of smoking marijuana behind a dumpster.

Sadly, when young people do try to better themselves and grow up to take a man’s place or a woman’s place in the worlds, their efforts are often in defiance of the poor role modelling by the grownups around them.


"At this Point, What Differend Does it Make?

Mack Hall, HSG

“At This Point, What Difference Does it Make?”

The Constitution, through a series of complexities including the Electoral College (and, hey, is their team going to a bowl game this season?), provides for the election of certain federal officials through a cloud of obscure words and run-on sentences, and a complete lack of paragraphing. Quick, now, sort this out:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;-The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall be counted;-The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person having such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the vote shall be taken by states…

Got all that?

This is only the beginning of an excerpt from Article II, modified by the 12th Amendment, itself later modified by the 20th Amendment. To understand the Constitution requires neither an attorney nor the Delphic Oracle, but a miracle. If our repeatedly patched-up, added-on, and torn-from Constitution were a building it couldn’t pass the plumbing code in Tupelo, Mississippi.

At present the Constitution seems much ignored anyway, with rule by executive and judicial fiat, and now selection of candidates by comedy programs on declining television networks.

Is there a presidential candidate in the last three or four election cycles who hasn’t been required to present himself or herself for an inquisition by talk shows, comedy shows, or the screaming coven on daytime teevee?

Imagine George Washington in a comedy sketch – “Okay, George, we’ve got this really funny set-up. You’re back at Jumonville Glen in 1754, okay, ha-ha…?”

Or President Truman – “Right, then, it’s 1945, late at night in the White House; you are in prayer for hours about whether to use the atomic bomb, and an aide sneaks up behind you and pops a balloon. What a classy network comedy moment, eh!”

Lyndon Johnson could guest on Gilligan’s Island in a skit about the Professor performing an emergency appendectomy on the President, bungled by Gilligan’s well-meaning attempts to help. The President then holds Gilligan up by his ears. Broadcast date 4 August 1964.

Given that broadcast television is declining, perhaps in 2019 potential candidates will be selected by the number of their electronic friends on MyFaceSpaceBook. President Justin Bieber right there in your in-box, pitching a shrieking hissy-fit so intense that his junior high school tattoos fly off.

In the meantime, stay tuned for next week’s Dancing with the Stars featuring Kim Jong Un.

On this Veterans’ Day we may well reflect on how all of us, especially young Americans in the military deployed in hot zones all over the world, deserve constitutional government, not arbitrary rule by personalities in two of our branches of government while most – there are noble exceptions - of the members of the third branch sit around, form committees, and investigate things without results.


Used Spy Blimp for Sale

Mack Hall, HSG

Used Spy Blimp for Sale

Given the numbers of garage sales, yard sales, flea markets, and resale shops, and telescreen shows about them, one wonders how much of the national economy at present is based on the population selling their old stuff to each other. In line with the times, I’m thinking of starting my own internet resale site. I’ll call it MeBay:

Cheap – two first-class tickets on an airplane owned by a leasing company in one country, flown by a SomethingJet airline based in another country, and crewed by a bunch of folks who can’t understand each other.

Hitler’s Childhood Rubber Ducky – we’ve got, like, papers and stuff, like, provenance, y’know, to prove it.

Bargain Landfill – made-in-China electronics. Sold by the ton. Some of it might not be all that toxic.

Scientology – a granola bar with an image of L. Ron Hubbard that appears in a glowing green color when the lights are turned off. The world’s greatest scientists have not been able to explain this mystery. Imported.

Ancient Critters - the skin of a genuine chubacabra. Or maybe a sophomore. Just the thing for your ManBro Toronto Blue Jays corner.

Carpeting – from John Boehner’s office. Smoke detectors sold separately.

Blimp – a fixer-upper. According to the U.S. government blimp technology is the future of surveillance technology. You and your friends will enjoy the Hindenburg experience aboard your own genuine military surplus blimp as this nation continues its progress into the 19th century. Some re-assembly required.

Stock Certificates – Enron, Radio Shack, Pan Am, Westinghouse, Kodak, Texaco, Hudson’s Bay. Begin saving for your future now.

Black Rifles – in a crumbling adobe warehouse just south of Magdalena, New Mexico our investigators found a cache of Viet-Nam-era Black Rifles in the original boxes. Never used. Some of them might not jam every two or three rounds. Maybe.

Doctor Zhivago – a rare first edition in the original English. With a certificate of authenticity.

Music – from 1962, Frank Sinatra Sings the Best of Happenin’ Elvis. LP record. Mint condition. Together with random Pez dispensers of the 1945 Boston Red Sox.

Fine Art – a velvet painting of President Reagan, Stephen Harper, Vladimir Putin, Teddy Roosevelt, and Rin-Tin-Tin playing poker. A classic.

Sherlock Holmes – a matched set of combination Holmes and Watson apple corers and pencil sharpeners.

Sergeant Preston of the Yukon – The Lost Episodes. These rare VHS tapes were discovered in a secret vault in an abandoned (and said to be haunted) Tim Horton’s in Salvage, Newfoundland. Most people don’t know that Sergeant Preston of the Yukon episodes were used as training films in the RCMP for years. “Hush, you muskies!” Or something.

You really want that C.I.A.N.S.A.N.C.I.S. blimp, don’t you! Nobody can tell us we’re behind the Russians and the Chinese in military technology. Have they got a blimp? Nooooooo.