True Believer or Toady?

Filed under: @ 2:44 pm

I was on my way to the dentist the other day and noticed, in the idle way one notices things when driving nowhere in particular, the vanity plate of the vehicle in front of me.

It was a newish Audi of sorts, all sparkly clean, obviously a pretty expensive car, sporting a plate that read: GLRY2HM. “Glory to Him”

You are all probably quite aware that I am, in no way, a firm adherent to traditional Judeo-Christian religion. Hell, I’m a firm adherent to NOTHING traditional, but the bugling forth of the vehicle’s driver’s beliefs got me thinking.

According to Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus said:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

In being so public and so blatant about their beliefs, we already know that the Audi’s driver was, at least, not following one of the exhortations of Jesus.

In Act 3, Scene 2 of Hamlet, the Queen says, “The lady doth protests too much, methinks.”
I am not trying to equate the words of Shakespeare with those of Jesus, regardless of how nontraditional my beliefs are. Shakespeare was a genius, but he wasn’t holy. However it is a common phenomenon of human psychology to be skeptical of someone who is volubly fervent about ANYthing. (Or maybe it’s just me. I’m a dyed in the wool cynic after all. 🙂 )

So it struck me that, in so blatantly advertising their belief in the One True God, the Audi’s driver may not have been the pious Christian person that they thought they were. Or hoped they were.
Andrew was the one that brought up the idea of it being a sycophantic sort of gesture… “Since I’m displaying the depths of my belief in such a public fashion, You must know that I believe, right Lord?” “I believe so much that I want the world to know how much!”

Making me wonder whether or not that truly, deep in their heart, the Audi’s driver really does have questions about their own beliefs. The people that I have known that have had a true, deep belief have been, well, quiet about it.
I can think of five people that I have known as an adult who really are sure about their faith (at least, that is, five Christians). None of those five are the type of people who would trumpet their beliefs to the world.
Debate with you about the specifics of their religion? Sure, without a question.
Have religious displays in their homes at religious holidays? Absolutely.
Some even are people who will incorporate symbols of their faith in their daily dress. How many people do you know that wear a crucifix as a regular part of their costume?
And yet none of the five true believers that I know are the type that would advertise their beliefs in such a blatant fashion. No bumper stickers, no overly religious answering machine messages, none of them even have a Jesus fish on the back of their cars.

Which is what makes me wonder whether it is cynicism about human nature or simply sour grapes on my part because I don’t have the part of my brain that allows me to receive the Word of God that makes me think that my faith, whatever it may be, is probably more genuine than that of the Audi’s driver.


Just A Quick PSA

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:43 pm

I only just found out that an impressive archive of videos from the fantastic 90’s-era performance art/music group Emergency Broadcast Network is available for viewing/download online by EBN front man Josh Pearson.

EBN’s opus Telecommunication Breakdown continues to be one of my very favorite CDs in my collection. Their audio work is astounding, but combined with Pearson’s deft and video editing it is nothing short of ground-breaking. Not everything up there is solid gold, but all of it is interesting and very well composed. My personal favorites are “Electronic Behavior Control System“, “Get Down!“, “3 7 8” and “Psychoactive Drugs“.

Click here to go to the archive. Enjoy!


I’m Busy, But Not Too Busy For This

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:01 pm

No matter how hurried I may be, regardless of the challenges I may face, I will always, always have time to let folks know when someone Montreal finds their way to my blog from a Google search for

Indian fakir eats cow crap

One must, after all, have a sense of one’s priorities.


Notes From The Front Lines of the Ennui Wars

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:22 pm

I am, frankly, pretty much tapped out.

Work has been a real bag of angry badgers for the last month or so. Not that the job itself has been all that grueling; it’s about the same gruel it’s always been, perhaps with a few extra chewy bits thrown in for texture. It’s the mental and emotional gymnastics that have been so draining. The highs have been higher, the lows considerably lower and the centers are not as nougaty as I’d like them to be.

We are undergoing a tremendous shakeup at the ol’ Fungus Factory. Nothing that we can’t get through, but truly momentous doin’s are transpirin’. We’re poised to expand into whole new markets with a brand-new product line, at a time when our production capacity is at—well, at capacity. We are therefore looking to move our call- and distribution centers to a new facility so that our production team can fully take over our current, wholly inadequate digs and dedicate them to cranking out product.

Since I am the de facto IT guy for our company—well, I’m half of the IT guy; the guy who’s the other half of the IT guy is a much better IT guy than me….guess you could call him my “better half”—we are responsible for selecting, pricing out, buying, installing and maintaining every computer, printer and network device that will be entering the new facility. We will also be responsible for setting up and maintaining a permanent tunnel between the old and new facilities, both of which will require our constant attention. Oh, and we’ll also be upgrading our mail-order-management software to a product that will meet our expanding needs, so we need to find, price, buy, install, debug and maintain that. All this while doing my actual job of creating and updating our catalog, instruction booklets, product labels and Web site. Oh, and as Margaret mentioned previously, driving down to the farm three days a week to answer phones for the last month, because we’ve been so short-handed during the process of hiring and training new employees.

Oh God. Now that I’ve seen it all typed out like that, it’s even worse than I had imagined. Fuh-huck me.

Look, nobody knows better than I how lucky I am, how lucky we are. My spouse and I both have jobs, at least one of which pays what it should. My company is overwhelmed with business: how many small business owners would give two major and one minor organ to be in that position? On top of this, both of us actually believe in the mission of the companies that employ us. I could easily have ended up working for an organization that has no cogent vision beyond enhancing shareholder value, or, barring that, whose owner and senior management are all fucktards. So yes, I am lucky. And I don’t plan on trying to strike out for greener pastures any time in the foreseeable future. It’s not even as though I’m putting in massively larger numbers of hours lately. But the sheer weight of everything hanging over me, the wild metronomic swings in place and plan, vector and venture, are wearing me out. I’m exhausted. And we haven’t even gotten into the real meat of all this change yet. There’s exciting bits to be sure: we’re doing stuff we’ve only dreamed about doing in the past, moving in directions we absolutely must in order to flourish as a business, and that’s really cool….and high time.

But mostly what it is is stressful. And the last, the very last, the-rather-eat-a-big-bug-even-raw-without-a-bun-than-do-it last thing I feel like doing with my spare time is sitting down and coming up with witty shit to say here.

Here’s how serious this is: I don’t even play video games in my off hours any more. Even the act of blowing away zombies is too involved for my charred brain to wrap its sooty self around. Anything that involves sitting largely upright in front of a keyboard seems like too much effort. Between work, preparing dinner and basic hygiene, there’s no momentum left to carry me through anything more strenuous or less self-indulgent than reading or watching TV. And believe me, if I dream up anything less strenuous and more self-indulgent, I’ll by-God give it a shot. The closest I could come up with so far would be to lie on the couch watching TV and playing with myself while eating chocolate chip cookie dough straight from the tube. But frankly, that sounds like a fair amount of effort as well. Not to mention a double-nightmare of cleanup.

This would be the classic time for me to (re)develop a drug habit, if it weren’t for the fact that Margaret would simultaneously kick and divorce my sorry ass.

Things will even out eventually. Our company is poised for greatness, and when it comes I’ll be there to hoover up as much of the afterglow as my ego and wallet will hold. Like everyone at our company, I’ve earned it. I’m really looking forward to trying out the role of one of those overhyped overpaid overachievers who has little time to dedicate to domestic chores but plenty of money for gourmet take-away. Being a highly-valued-but-underpaid-and-stressed-out slacker is, much like me, getting old. In the meantime, don’t be super-stunned by the gaps in my stream of communiques. I’m either asleep, watching DVRed episodes of Intervention or tacked to the couch by a rime of cookie dough.


Oh I WANT one….

Filed under: @ 4:48 pm

Not sure what it is, not sure what I’d do with it if I had one…. But I seriously WANT one.

Allow me to explain.
I was dropping off my rototiller at Bryant Tractor & Mower in Renton this afternoon. This being the beginning of the sixth season I’ve used it, I figured that having someone do a basic tune up wouldn’t be a bad idea.
I left the tiller at the service desk, having made arrangements to have it serviced. I went back out to my car, I pulled around to get back to the street through their somewhat narrow, equipment lined drive way and there it was.

About the size of a riding lawn mower, it runs on tracks with a riding platform in back allowing the operator to ride with the doohickey as it trundles along. Hand instruments for go forward/go backward/left track/right track and a set of joysticks for lift the bucket up/dump the bucket/put the bucket back down. On the front, a wee little excavator bucket probably twice the volume of a regular wheelbarrow or, perhaps, about the same size as the bucket on a Bobcat.

It (a mini front end loader? a power shovel?) was just so damn CUTE. Absolutely thoroughly impractical for a suburban gardener, but when did practicality have anything to do with infatuation? Now I want a little organic farm so I’ll have a practical use for this whatsis and can justify its purchase and abundant use.

Honestly I’m not sure where this odd passion of mine for machinery and equipment came from. God knows I’ve no talent for anything mechanical. Witness me taking my tiller to a shop to have it serviced. But tractors, rototillers, riding mowers…I spent several hours in the depths of a paddlewheel steam boat on the Illinois river one time just watching the engine run. All the way up to airplanes and rockets. I just want to sit back and make bbbbbbbbBBBBBBBBBRRRRRRRRMMMMMMM noises. Probably comes from having grown up a Boeing baby.



Filed under: @ 7:34 pm

Listening to the news on Morning Edition on my way to work at 0630 this morning.

Newscast started out with an overview of President Obama’s recent trip to Turkey and how he’s trying to open doors to the Muslim world, changing America’s approach to other nations. The newscaster, I can’t remember which it was, was talking about how the president had made a speech to a group of high school age students regarding the future of Turkey’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe.
They cut to a sound bite of the finale of Mr. Obama’s speech, as follows:
“The world will be what you make of it.”

The news cast then continued on with:
“In other news today a car bomb exploded in Baghdad this morning killing seven people and injuring many others….”

I hope the Turkish students to whom Mr. Obama spoke can make of the world a better place than the current generation has.


Your Patience is Appreciated……

Filed under: @ 10:02 pm

Due to a staffing crisis at work Andrew has been doing little with his work days besides driving 90 miles to Shelton, answering phones all day, then driving 90 miles back to repeat the process the next day.
Leaving him, by the end of the day, limp, cranky, and thoroughly unsuited to sit in front of a computer and chat about ANYthing to say nothing of unsuited to be intelligent and insightful.
FP is, thankfully, paying for the gasoline.

As for myself, when I’ve not been at work over the last two weeks I’ve been working on planning my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and getting my garden ready for (hee hee, I can’t believe I’m saying this) spring planting. Oh, and getting the details worked out for our somewhat drop of the hat, but entirely overdue, trip to Hawaii to meet up with all of the Lenzer siblings at the same time. This is an occurrence that hasn’t happened in the close to 10 years. A rare opportunity, one that we can’t miss and something that we’re both greatly looking forward to.
Even though it complicates my summer garden plans somewhat. I now have to have everything ready to go, in the ground, and fairly self sustaining by May 26th which is going to be pushing the time envelope a little bit, depending on Territorial Seeds and my live plant order, but should be do-able because Susan and I have finally started doing what we’ve been talking about doing for several years and sharing garden work.
We did our first scheduled day last week. Susan and Anastasia were over here helping me dig out my worm bin, plant iris bulbs, and set seeds for spring flowers. Then, since we’d finished with all the projects that I had for my garden that day by just after noon, Susan and I adjourned to her house to whack up some sod and put in new shade beds. Something that we intend to finish tomorrow. The back of my car is currently full of gardening tools, a sifting screen, and my rototiller. I love my rototiller! 🙂

The new front garden is blooming. I managed to fling enough bulbs last fall that the squirrels haven’t eaten all of the crocuses, but the little buggers are sure taking their toll. As it is I prefer the omnivorous little bastards go for the crocuses (croci?) than the hyacinths, the daffodils, or (heaven forfend) the lilies. All it’s gonna take is one uprooted hyacinth and it’s gonna be squirrel stew for dinner.
If the light is right tomorrow I intend to take the first of a series of photos of the new garden in its blooming phases — like one photo a week through the entire summer just so I can chart its progress. I’m absolutely ridiculous. That garden makes me SO happy.

Flit and Pogo are blooming as well. They caught their first bug of the spring this evening. It only took them twenty bloody minutes to catch and eat the damned thing. It’s a good thing they don’t have to rely on their hunting skills to keep their bellies full.
In addition to fetching they have both currently taken a purple passion for catching. As in, they’ll bring you a ball then lope 5-10 feet away and crouch. You are supposed to fling the ball so that it travels somewhat, but not too, high over their head so they can leap up and catch it (or fail to as the case may be) in mid-air.
After 17 years I’d forgotten how funny kittens can be. Between paper bags, stuffing arms under things (note to self: clean under refrigerator), rampant sock-napping, Flitter’s seemingly undying passion for nurking on Andrew’s beard, and Pogo’s bizarre fascination with anything resembling water…. Kittens are just plain funny and these two little weirdoes are a remarkable example of the species.

Okay, that last is really saccharine, but I’m besotted and I don’t do it often. What can I say, I’m sleepy. I’m almost never up past 10, let alone actually thoroughly conscious and coherent.

“We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey. The cabin crew will shortly be serving coffee and biscuits again.”

(brief author’s note: if you recognize it, you get a cookie. I told you I was sleepy! 😀 )

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