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Thoughts, stories, ideas, recipes, cheers, and more... What else did you think you would get for a $1 tip?

For those of you looking for something on the more sophisticated side you have my apologies. This blog unfortunately mirrors the author (yours truly.) Some of the humor is not for everyone but I liked it and it's my blog so there! My patrons sometimes ask me where I come up with some of this stuff. I am glad to tell them my mind is a lot like Canada. It is sometimes a bit cold, there are a few dark corners, some of it down right confusing and even a bit dirty but there is also a lot of neat stuff up there. So I hope you all enjoy this blog! ... Cheers!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Importance of Education

As of late I've been looking into the possibility of going back to school. In a time so long ago and in a land so far far away I attended Norwich Military University a small military university settled just far enough into the mountains of Vermont so no one can hear you scream. While all my friends went to schools like University of New Hampshire, Keene State and Plymouth State all well known less for their academia and better for their active student life and reputations of epic parties. Instead I opted for a dry campus, shoe shine parties and doing push ups just about everywhere. Now I certainly am not looking to relive those years of achene, awkward conversations with women, suspect grooming capabilities and living only for the next 20 minutes with total disregard for the future. Even my healing time was fast then. I swear I could have cut off my arm and watch it heal in the mirror. Now if I stub my toe I'm out of commission for 3 days.

Now back to what i was saying... I have a few friends with their Doctorate degrees. I refuse to call any of them Doctor. Like my Grandfather use to say, "you could be the greatest leader of this world and I still wouldn't follow you across the street." He would also go on to add that he didn't believe I could "find my asshole with both thumbs, a map, compass and a flashlight in broad daylight." I always found that last part unnecessary.

One of my oldest and dearest friends, we will call him "Dr. B" to keep his identity sealed is a Doctor of Mathematics and works in the high tech field. Essentially one of those as they say in New England "wicked smart guys." the type of guy a company pays a butt load of money to lock him away in an office and figure out something groundbreaking. Although I have done pretty well without it, I always envied his level of education and thought often about going back to school. Now I am not sure I will ever attain the almighty Doctorate degree in this life. However "Dr. Charles The Bartender" certainly has a nice ring to it. To add to this my closest friend, Shawn works within the higher ed field and will be the first to tell you that a degree is something no one can ever take away from you. Whenever he speaks about this education I feel like the Great and Powerful Oz speaking to the Scarecrow...

Wizard of Oz: From the rock-bound coast of Maine to the Sun.... oh - oh, no -- -- ah - Well, be that as it may. Back where I come from we have universities, seats of great learning -- where men go to become great thinkers.
And when they come out, they think deep thoughts -- and with no more brains than you have.... But! They have one thing you haven't got! A diploma!

** The Wizard reaches back and obtains several diplomas -- selecting one and presents it to the Scarecrow as Dorothy, Tin Man and the Lion look on **

Wizard of Oz: Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitatus Committeeatum e plurbis unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D.

Scarecrow: Th.D.?

Wizard of Oz: Yeah -- that...that's Dr. of Thinkology!

Scarecrow: The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh joy, rapture! I've got a brain!

After this meeting about my mind I left hopeful for my future learning experience. Although throughout this entire process I couldn't help but remember some of my past times with Dr. B. You see like I said previously he was a Doctor of Mathematics and obviously a bit smarter than your average party girl we use to run across in our favorite watering holes. Dr. B is also Australian and between that laid on thick Aussie accent and a business card bearing his name and title I rarely had a chance to take first place in the pretty girl race. I spent many a night stewing as the wing-man. The funniest part is that he wouldn't even sleep with these nit-wits. It was more like a flexing of his pick-up muscles, he would merely get the phone number and throw it away! Why you might ask? "Because I can" he would reply. Hell at least I would put out! Trust me I might not be bright and I might not be rich, or great looking but I am easy!

Although every so often I would be the one in the lead. I would be the one for once about to get the pretty girl. I could see the finish line and I was in the drivers seat. Just at this moment Dr. B would say something like "trust me I'm a Doctor" and then show them the card. Game over! Standing there all I could think is "Of mathematics!!! what are you going to do? Help them solve for Pi?" "Look at his title for Christ sake you ninny! it's VoIP!" there is not a stitch of medical to it!" If ever they did ask he would just tell them it was V.I.P. of Doctors AND THEY BELIEVED HIM!!! After that it was "yes, I have met your friend." "Yeah she seems like a nice person." Game, set, match. I was spending the rest of the evening talking to the friend about her cats and over active thyroid gland. The words of the Wizard ringing in my ears once again.

Wizard of Oz: [booming voice] And you, Scarecrow, have the affrontery to ask for a brain, you billowing bale of bovine fodder!

Scarecrow: Y-Yes... Yes, Your Honor... I mean, Your Excellency... I-I mean, Your Wizardry.
Wizard of Oz: [booming] Enough! 

Now even though I wasn't the one getting the girl. I did have a lot to thank Dr. B for. The crumbs weren't always that bad and nor was the perks. I can remember one time his B.S-ing the powers that be at a large and over-booked casino on a busy weekend into giving us a very nice room when we didn't even have reservations. Something tells me that the card came out then too.

So to Dr. B, Shawn and all the others in my life that have stressed the importance of education. I say thank you. Like Rodney Dangerfield in 1986 I will be going back to school. You will all be my motivation. Who knows maybe someday I too will hold the title of Doctor.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just James

I'm sure everyone that reads this blog is also an avid reader of the Bible. However I was listening to the radio the other day and they where talking about the brother of Jesus Christ, James. This got my wheels turning and a serious need to learn more about the life and times of James Christ.

In October of 2002 a stone "bone box" no more than 2 feet long, made of limestone was found in Jerusalem. These "bone boxes" where used to keep the remains of the deceased from approximately 20 B.C. to 70 A.D. The inscription on the box was in ancient Aramaic and read "James, son of Joseph. Brother of Jesus." Now there are a few questions here. The first is "that Jesus?" the Second is "was he the real brother or half brother?" No one really knows for sure mostly because the reporting rituals of those crazy Catholics can be quite convoluted.

Mosaic law encouraged young couples to have a butt-load of kids thus advancing the race and religion. Now J-Date is carrying this torch. Along these lines Mary and Joseph went at it like bunnies only after Jesus came by way of immaculate conception (yeah right...) Let's get this straight, one day Joseph comes home from his daily grind as a carpenter and is sat down by Mary. Mary has been searching for the words for the past month and a half after Joseph has been teasing her about maybe getting out and to the gym because it looks like she has been gaining a little weight. Mary finally sets the record straight. Letting Joe know that although he has never hit it, she is in fact pregnant. Oh and by the way the baby is his although when Jesus arrives he is described by the book of Revelations as having hair like sheep's wool and dark skin and the Old Testament has him as having milky white skin and hair, essentially a albino. No matter who or what you believe you have to admit the story stands on shaky ground. After getting this news Joe's reaction is to tell Mary to get on the donkey so they can get to Bethlehem from Nazareth to be born before Angels and Shepard's and be exalted as the savior. To which I can only imagine there must have been a huge relief that Joe bought this story. Cheating on your husband in this time period was punishable by  the accepted penalty of death.
Getting back to James. Depending on what you believe according to the New Testament Joe and Mary in fact have a few kids after Jesus. The next being James then Jude, Simon and Joses these are the English translations of the common Hebrew names Yaakov, Yosi, Shimon, and Yehudah. These are mentioned in the Bible under the book of Mathew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 among other exerts. Jame's name is always the first on the list which suggests he was the first.

Now for all you second kids out there let's think about this a little. Brothers can be brutal to each other. However the younger brother typically idolizes their older sibling. Now enter the parents and James comes home from school with some low grades and Mary and Joe can be over-heard in the kitchen saying "how come he can't be more like Jesus?" James constantly finds himself trying to live up to the expectations of his parents and trying to reach the bar set by his older brother. And you can probably bet he was always asking Jesus to carry him around after he read the "Footprints in the Sand" poem

Now James was no slouch himself. In fact has was a prominent figure in the Apostolic Age. His title is "Bishop of Bishops." However he is called by Paul and several others (Galatians 1:9) "James the brother of the Lord" Which I am sure went a long way on the street. You can almost here the people whispering. "See that dude right there? Don't mess with him. That's Jesus little brother." And you know Jesus has street cred with the stigmata marks (holes in the hands and feet) from those bastard Romans.

Then Hegesippus comes along and dubs him "James the Just." Which is cool because now he has a nickname given to him by his peers. Now you know that after the first party James went to and they ran out of wine and he couldn't do the water into wine trick "James the Just" was quickly re-worked to be "Just James." Everyone looking to him to keep the party rocking and there is James just chilling in his sandals. Just prior to this he was getting a little shine from the ladies. He's riding the coat tails of his brother taking crumbs and sloppy seconds. Sort of like Sylvester Stallone's brother Frank. Yeah he is in a few movies and all that but girls are just chilling with him till they get an opening with Sly. In the end they find out Jesus isn't messing with the chicken heads trying to get with him and he strictly rolls with a gang of 12 called the apostles. His crew roams the land just paying it forward and teaching that it's all good. Although there has been a little talk about how Jesus might have hooked up with Mary Magdalen but Catholics and Jew's alike will tell you that's just an ugly rumor. Then why does she get to sit next to Jesus at the Last Supper?

L to R: Bart, Young James, Andy, Pete, Judas, Dirty Mary, JESUS, Tom, Lil' James, Phil, Matt, Thadeus, Simon  
James has a lot to overcome too like the time he was following his older brother and almost drown... "isn't that Jesus Brother James Christ. Yeah, don't get excited it's just James. Everyone including him knows James can't swim. Mom has to throw him a bone every so often to keep him from displaying middle kid syndrome so she asks him to bless the food on the table while winking at Jesus and nudging him with her elbow like "don't worry Jesus we all know whats up." Sort of the equivalent of Phil Jackson giving the ball to Scottie Pippen in the last seconds of a game versus the Clippers instead of Michael Jordan. I mean it's just the Clippers and no one will ever remember this game and Scottie could really use the confidence at this point. If James hooks up with a fine young lady they all scream his brother or his fathers name in bed. You just know that must make it tough to stay hard. Friends of James in the hospital and James comes to visit with a little bouquette of flowers and a get well card. Everyone looking at him like "If you really meant it you would talk to your brother and get me up out of this mess here."

However with all this adversity James keeps on fighting the good fight. And this isn't an easy thing to do with all his detractors. No one wants to believe James is Mary's son. You see in those days Mary is a dime and Joseph is just a carpenter probably around a 7 at best. No one wants to admit that Mary is slumming with
Joe. But Mary sticks with him especially after he bought the whole immaculate conception. James becomes a "made man" and is given the title Head of the Church at Jerusalem.  The Orthodox come up with a doctrine of perpetual virginity which makes Mary with the cherry a virgin for life. Essentially saying Mary did not have any children after Jesus. Mathew however set the record straight from the Protestant side of the story (1:25) saying "Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son" (Jesus.) Basically saying even he bought Mary's story about getting impregnated by the Lord, but after that Mary finally started doing her wifely duties and gave it up to Joseph on the regular. Thus producing 4 more sons.

Now James didn't follow all Jesus had to offer. Actually none of them where really "followers" of his word till after his death. It wasn't till after the Resurrection and Jesus appeared before 500 + people (1st Corinthians 15:7) That James finally got with the program and started dropping Jesus' name. Telling all who would listen that his dead brother was the messiah, the conquering hero who would overthrow the order of things and sit on David's throne. He quickly rapidly became a leader in the growing Jesus Movement, but there was never any question of him replacing Jesus, or becoming an alternative messiah. He was still and always was Just James.

James died as an act of martyrdom. He was sentenced to death by stoning for his apposing views concerning Mosaic Law. According to scribes, James took it like a boss kneeling before those stoning him he prayed "I beseech Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." One of the priests Rechab the son of Rechabim tried to put a stop to it. “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But someone took a staff used to wring out the garments he dyed for a living, and hurled it at the head of the just man. It is said James was buried on the spot and a pillar erected to his memory still remains. James died in 62 A.D.
To this day the Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, Episcopal Church and Roman Catholics all celebrate the life of James. Calling him "Apostle James the Just, brother of Our Lord", and feasting in his honor at different times of the year depending on the faith. However we all now know him as "Just James."

Amen & ...