Elijah and his first cousin

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Grandpa, I have a new cousin!

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Newborn Calvin — Elijah’s first cousin

Yes, I know. Calvin was born last week. He’s beautiful!

Yeah. What’s a cousin?

Well, you seem pretty excited, so I thought you must know what a cousin is. But since you asked, Calvin is the child born to your mother’s brother, Andrew, and your Aunt Alice. Because he’s your mother’s brother’s child, that makes Calvin your first cousin.

But he wasn’t borned, Grandpa. He was taken.

What do you mean? Of course, he was born. By the way, he was born, not borned. You’ll learn about tenses later.

Okay. Whatever. Mom was pretty tense when Calvin was borned because he wasn’t borned; he was taken by Caesar.

 

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Julius Caesar

Oh, my, Elijah! Where’d you learn about Caesar? Caesar didn’t “take” him; Calvin was taken by Cesarian section. It’s a medical procedure, not a kidnapping.

Yeah, so Calvin never got to be borned like me. He never had to fight his way into the world like I did. I’ll teach him how to fight, Grandpa. He’s my first cousin, my little cousin.

It’s much more complicated than that, Elijah. Someday you’ll understand it better. It wasn’t that Calvin wasn’t fighting his way through the birth canal; your Aunt Alice’s blood pressure became dangerously high. You’re lucky to have Calvin for your cousin. And he lives just a mile away from you and Mom. You’ll get to play with each other all the time.

Do you have a first cousin, Grandpa?

I do, Elijah. Lots of them. But, when I was growing up, all my first cousins lived far, far away in Maine and Massachusetts. We lived in Pennsylvania. We only got to play with each other for two weeks every summer when my parents took me there on vacation. You’re fortunate, Elijah! You and Calvin are both blessed to have each other. So are Grandma and Grandpa.

That’s sad, Grandpa. That’s really sad. But you’re not making sense. You said “first cousins“. Calvin’s my first cousin. You can’t have more than one first cousin. Sometimes i worry you’re losing it, Grandpa. But even if you are, my first cousin Calvin and my other cousins, if I have any, will take care of you and Grandma. I promise!

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, December 8, 2017

 

 

Grandpa, I can’t take it anymore!

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Elijah_9146What can’t you take, Elijah?

You-Know-Who!

No, I don’t. You said you can’t take “it” anymore. Not “who”. What are you talking about?

Grandpa, I can’t take “it” anymore because You-Know-Who is making me cry!

I’m sorry, but I still don’t know who “who” is. Who’s “who”?

Grandpa, you’re supposed to know this stuff!!!

Well, communication’s a very tricky thing, Elijah, as you’re finding out. You can”t assume other people know what you mean by “it” and “You-Know-Who”. They don’t unless you spell it out. Clear communication depends on you.

No. Depends are for adults, Grandpa; we discussed this yesterday. Huggies are for us. Your generation wears Depends; my generation wears Huggies. And President You-Know-Who is taking away all the huggies your generation is supposed to give the next generation.

Ah, so now you’re speaking more clearly! You-Know-Who is President You-Know-Who, the president whose name your babysitter refuses to say out loud like all the curse words she’s teaching you not to use. So now I know who “who” is. But I still don’t know what “it” is? What is “it” you can’t take anymore, Elijah?

Grandpa, you know! “Who” and “it” are the same thing. You-Know-Who just made an announcement in Utah — something about cutting bears’ ears and shrinking grand staircases. He thinks they’re too big. How big can bears ears be? He just keeps wrecking stuff. And he’s all in for that guy from Alabama! What’s with that?

Oh, you mean Roy Moore?

Yeah, Roy Moore, the 10 Commandments guy.

Bill Day Moore cartoon

Bill Day cartoon – The 10 Commandments and Roy Moore

He’s not a 10 Commandments guy, Elijah. Neither is You-Know-Who. They only know one commandment and they think it’s about them: “I am the LORD, your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” That’s the First Commandment.

Yeah! “Love yourself only, and feel free to abuse women, teenage girls, and Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Monuments in Utah.”

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Bears Ears National Monument

I’m glad we had this talk, Elijah. You’ve made yourself clear. I can’t take “it” or You-Know-Who anymore either. “It” seems to get worse every day.

But remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, Elijah. We all need to take a break and remember who’s God.

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, Dec. 5, 2017.

 

 

 

A Reckoning for Older Men

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When sin — I call it ‘sin’ but, if you use some other word without a religious ring to it, you know what I mean — becomes the prevailing topic from which we cannot break away, it feels good to take a break from the news, and from ourselves.

So we pass along Lloyd Omdahl’s column “Reckoning has arrived for older men” in the Nov. 27 Grand Forks Herald in hopes it might bring a chuckle at some point, but also knowing that some people think any sort of chuckle on this topic is downright sinful.

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Lloyd Omdahl

94 year-old Lloyd Omdahl, the man with the twinkle in his eyes,  served as Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota and is professor emeritus of  political science at the University of North Dakota. He continues to write a weekly column for The Grand Forks Herald. His former student, Gary Severson, brought this column to our attention today as a comment on Views from the Edge‘s morning post.

In case you missed it the first time, here’s the link: “Reckoning has arrived for older men“. Sexual harassment is not funny. It’s ugly. It’s sinful. Even so, if you can’t find a laugh somewhere in Lloyd’s column, take a nap, take a walk, or see a priest, rabbi, imam, or guru, and, by all means, go back and read Norman Cousins before you’re taken by a stroke.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, November 30, 2017.

 

Giovanni’s Buffet Mirror

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“Buffet Lunch: All You Can Eat” says the sign.

I decide to try it. “Eight dollars with soda; $7 with water,” says the woman at the counter.

Sugar makes me fat and frantic. I choose the water.

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The buffet is loaded. Full salad bar. Spaghetti with meatballs and your choice of meat or meatless marinara sauce. Garlic toast. And four kinds of pizza – fattening … and more fattening.

I pass up the salad bar and load up on spaghetti with meatballs, meat sauce, and, of course, garlic toast. I love garlic toast.

Since I’m alone, there’s plenty of time to look around while I eat. You’re not supposed to stare at people, so I don’t. I’m careful not to stare. But I can’t help but look. There’s no one to talk with. My dog’s outside in the car. So is my MacBook Air. There are no distractions. So my eyes scan the room for something of interest.

Eventually I realize a common characteristic to the buffet diners — obesity. I think of Richard Simmons, Oprah, and Michelle Obama, and their attempts to get people to eat better and less.

I fill up my plate with a second helping of spaghetti, and add two slices of pizza. It’s good. Really good! All that gooey cheese, and a great crust — just like the pizza I’d had as a child at Fonzo’s Pizzeria in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But this isn’t Philadelphia and this isn’t the 1950s. I’m at Giovanni’s Pizza in Staples, Minnesota almost a year after Michelle’s White House school obesity initiative went the way of all flesh.

“They’re all fat!” I think to myself. I take another sip of water before getting up to pay my bill.

Next to the cash register is somebody’s idea of a joke: a full-length mirror. I see an ugly guy with a belly staring back at me and think I hear a voice scream: “You’re fat too!”

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I pay the $7 with tip, swallow hard, and begin to digest an old biblical teaching:

“Before you criticize the pounds on others, first remove the ton from your own abdomen.”

  • Gordon C. Stewart, November 3, 2017.

Alt-News: President resigns

My Fellow Americans,

I stand before you today to announce my resignation, effective tomorrow at noon E.T.

To all of you who supported my campaign to drain the swamp in Washington, this decision will come as a huge disappointment, but it will not come as a surprise.

6a00e554dac08588330115702f407e970c-320wiAs a real estate developer I know that some swamps can’t be drained. As the Bible teaches, the wise man built his house upon the rock; the foolish man built his house upon the swamp. And the rains came down, and the rains came down, just like they’re coming down now in Texas, and the floods came up and washed the foolish man’s house away.

I’m no fool. I’m a developer. I know when to get in, and I know when to get out.

No matter how hard I’ve tried to lead you out of this swamp, the evil press continues to undermine my efforts — efforts greater than anyone in history before me and, I’m sad to say, greater than anyone who will ever come after me — to rid the country of the snakes, alligators, and crocodiles that are destroying our beloved country and undermining my promise to make America great again.

Donald Trump

America will never be great again. Our best days are behind us.

You elected me because you wanted a winner. I’m a winner! Hillary lost. She lost big! She’s a sore loser. Just the other day she whined about our debate. “Donald stalked me; he stalked me!” Wa-wa-wa! I won. She lost. But the America I ran to save can only be saved by you, the American people. It can only be saved when you rise up to empty the whole swamp of Washington.

Tomorrow I will turn over the swamp to Vice President Mike Pence. Mike is a man who knows the swamp as well as anyone. He came to his office from Congress and will fit right in.

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Pincely Diamond Suite, Hotel Hermitage, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Melania, Barron, Ivanka, Jarod, and I will be moving to Monaco at the invitation of Prince Albert II. Monaco is a principality, but it’s already great! The Prince has invited the Trump family to live as his guests in the Princely Diamond Suite of the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo where our beloved Grace Kelly — remember the beautiful Grace Kelly, sooo beautiful; she was drop-dead gorgeous — found a home outside her country as Princess of Monaco, and has invited me to be the grand marshal of the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, the world’s most famous grand prix.

I love you all. I love America. I wish you well. I’m not a loser. I’m a winner like Prince Albert II whom the press also tried to destroy with vicious allegations of sexual exploits and illegitimate children.

Finally, I say to the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and all the other fake news media, Mitch McConnell — what a loser! — to Hillary and Bill (whose campaigns, by the way, I generously supported over the years without a word of thanks), Mr. Comey, and Mr. Mueller, as President of the United States of America, I hereby absolve myself of all responsibility for the swamp by issuing a presidential pardon of Joe Arapio and of myself for all alleged offenses past, present future.

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May God bless Joe, may God bless what could have been the United States of America, and may God bless the son of our beloved Grace Kelly.

  • Oh, my, it felt so good to write this! Ghost writer, Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 26, 2017.

 

 

Square pegs and round holes?

Are you a square peg in a round hole, or a round one in a square hole?

squarePegWith apologies to Kermit the Frog, “it’s not easy being square . . .  or round” or whatever other strange shape we may be.

It takes years to understand who we are or, for that matter, what your book is really about.

“What’s the book about?” folks ask, and I stammer away, fumbling to answer in a word or two. How do you summarize a collection of 48 essays on multiple themes and topics other than to answer, “Well . . .  it’s a collection of 48 essays on multiple themes and topics. It’s about blah, blah, blah”?

Readers find what they’re looking for by selecting an aisle or category in a book store or on an online menu that fits their taste.

But what if a book doesn’t fit the square and round hole categories into which publishers and the book-sellers squeeze a book?

More perplexing, what if an author himself doesn’t know whether he’s square or round? Doesn’t know why he writes, and can’t explain what the book’s about, or why, in this world of verbal assaults, anyone should pick his blah-blah-blah off a book-seller’s shelf? What if the author wakes up in the morning looking in the world’s square/round-peg-square/round hole mirror and sees only a confused face looking back?

Then, suddenly, after 75 years of wondering, six months after his book has hit the shelves, he looks into the brand new mirror created by readers and reviews, and sees something altogether new and different.

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An octopus!

Be Still! and I are an octopus! A searching digesting center with tentacles reaching out in all directions gathering food for thought, spitting out the toxins, and growing more or less mature in the sea of societal madness.

But wait! Wait! Maybe not! Maybe they’re Kermit on a lily pad.

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Frog on a lily pad

“Have you ever stopped to wonder how a frog, obviously heavier than a lily pad, can manage to stay above water and not sink a lily pad?” – Frog on a Lily Pad

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 25, 2017.

 

10-week-old Elijah & Grandpa

Eli at 10 IMG_0753“Grandpa, I’m big. I’m 10 weeks old today! How old are you?”

“Well, Elijah, there are lots of ways to calculate that. Usually we tell a person’s age in years. Kinda hard for a 10-week-old to understand, huh?”

“Yeah. What’s a year?”

“Like I said, it’s kinda hard to understand but let’s try. Okay?”

“Give me your best shot!”

“Okay, a year is 12 months and…”

“What’s a month?”

“A month is four weeks and usually a few days. It’s always at least four weeks (28 days) but, depending on the month, it can be four weeks and three days like November, April, June, and September, or it can be four weeks and one day like February, except every four years when it’s Leap Year. All the rest of the months have 31 days.”

“Grandpa, why are you talking like this? You’re not making any sense. Do you have dimentia or something? Does being old mean you can’t answer a simple question, Grandpa? This conversation started with a simple question: How old are you? I’m 10-weeks-old. So…how old are  you?”

“I’m almost 75, Elijah.”

Eli 10 IMG_0754“Wow! You’re 7.5 times older than I am!

“Actually, the difference is a LOT bigger than that, Elijah. Let’s think of the years as weeks. There are 52 weeks in a year.

“Yeah! I’m 10. How many are you?”

“I’m 3,899 weeks OLDER than you, almost three-quarters of a century, Elijah.”

“Wow! What’s a century?”

  • Grandpa Gordon, August 1, 2017.

 

The Hustler

“In America, the race goes to the loud, the solemn, the hustler. If you think you’re a great writer, you must say that you are.”Gore Vidal (1925-2012)

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Gore Vidal – Dobson’s Improbable Quote of the Day

After driving four hours Tuesday to lead a discussion of being still while resisting social madness, and spending the night alone in the Super 8 parking lot in Storm Lake, Iowa, the 2003 Toyota Avalon returned home yesterday with all the books still in the trunk. Its driver failed at hustling Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness.

Had she read The Guardian‘s tribute to Gore Vidal following the controversial writer’s death, the Avalon would never have left Minnesota. 

His quick wit and acid tongue made him a sought-after commentator; he himself once quipped: “I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.” A stint on ABC opposite William Buckley, covering the 1968 Republican and Democratic conventions, degenerated into abuse, with Vidal calling Buckley a “crypto-Nazi”, Buckley suggesting that the “queer … [should] go back to his pornography”, further attacks in the magazine Esquire, and suits for libel on both sides. The same refusal to back down characterised his dispute with Norman Mailer, whose attitudes towards women had brought rebukes from Gloria Steinem and Kate Millett. Vidal entered the fray with an article suggesting there was “a logical progression” from Henry Miller to Mailer to Charles Manson. Mailer responded at a Manhattan dinner party in 1977 by throwing a glass of whiskey in Vidal’s face, head-butting him and then throwing a punch. Vidal is said to have replied: “Lost for words again, Norman?”

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The Avalon’s licking the whiskey from its face before trying again!

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN 55318.

 

 

 

ALERT! TURKEY LEAKS SECRETS …

The world is really weird these days, as Marilyn Armstrong demonstrates here.

SERENDIPITY

So I saw this headline:


Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S.
Troops in Syria


and I thought — “What a strange business. Turkeys don’t usually have media ties.”

It took me a few minutes to remember that Turkey is a nation and not necessarily a gobbling bird trying to avoid Thanksgiving. This probably speaks to my overall loss of sanity regarding the world in which I live. I’m pretty sure that in earlier days, I’d have instantly recognized Turkey as the nation and not the bird.

Sanity is gone. What is left is a sense of being desperately short of sleep, broke … and holding a list of things I need to fix that exceeds any rational likelihood of doing them. Ever.

What to do next?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had more reality than I can handle. I’m going to read a book. Take me away…

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