Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Saving America......



 It's time for a revolution!  (Peaceful, but a revolution none the less)

When we were kids and used to play ball in the streets.  We would create a makeshift field with modified rules.  In other words, we made due.  We had an inherent sense of what was fair.  When the batter hit the wiffle ball and while running Mr. George began to back out of his driveway, the runner wasn't out, and he didn't get the next base either, we just called a DO-OVER!  If the ball landed in Aunt Bunnies rose bush, it wasn't a home run, it was a DO-OVER!  If the ball landed in crazy old man Bernie's yard, it was game over and we all went home.

America needs to take a lesson from our former selves.  We, as a people need a do-over.  As a people, in both the recent past and the distant past we have had some pretty intense conflicts.  These tend to occur when the population gets clearly divided along two viewpoints.  The most recent major crisis could be described as a great racial divide.  We fought among ourselves, we fought in the streets, we fought within the government, the board rooms and the class rooms.  At a point, the tide turned, and our culture changed.  As a general rule, it is no longer acceptable to discriminate based on a persons ethnic background.  It has become not only illegal, but culturally taboo to do so.  Yes, there will always be bigots, and no life will never be perfectly fair, but we have come 900 miles of the 1000 mile journey.  There still are a few firsts to accomplish, but I can't really name one off the top of my head.  The 114 congress even set a record with 46 African American Members and 38 Hispanic members.  As much progress as was made, we have subplanted that crisis with what is brewing as a new and even larger/more dangerous divide. We have divided ourselves along random/floating ideological lines.  We view ourselves in terms of Left or Right.  We view ourselves as Conservative or Liberal.  We vote simply by looking for the L or R and just going with that because we are right and just and they are wrong and misguided/ignorant.  This MUST stop.

The first step in the revolution. DESTROY the system.  It's time for a DO-OVER.  Remove the D and R from everything. Disband the parties.  Disallow the entire thing.  No more conventions !!  No more party leaders, party members, party agendas.  No more right or left side of the aisle, members sit in alphabetical order like in grade school.  In the senate, set them in order by when their state joined the union, the first time. Re write the entire system for how a person can run for Federal office, and remove anything and everything that has to do with being a party member.  Ban the entire concept of a political party !  How freeing would it be if everyone who ran for office would need to publish their personal stance on the issue, without fear of it not aligning with some current agenda.  Then the people could consider each individual as just that, an individual.  I believe this would be a huge sweeping change.  Just think, not every environmentalist would need to have a pro abortion stance and not every person who wants to protect defense spending would be against legalizing marijuana.  Each person would be free to choose a viewpoint on each topic and we the people would get a more diverse and honest picture to choose our leaders from.  Elections at all levels would be more interesting and more fruitful if we the people didn't fear everything boiling down to two choices.

This would of course require major reform of the election system, the finance system etc., but that is what revolution is about. One piece of the reform/revolution would be term limits.  Every elected government position should have term limits.  We need to add limits to the Congress just like the President, two terms and you move one.  This would be enough to kill the career encouraging system we have now.  Oh, and they can't just switch gears into lobby's, as those would be illegal now as well.  The Supreme court would get limits too, but theirs might look a little different.  I think maybe you put an age range on them. Maybe they can serve from ages 47-68.  It is still along time, but it wouldn't be life and it would make them leaving more predictable.

Once this is in place, we as a culture need to re-think who we want in what positions.We have this notion that in order to serve in Congress you should be a lawyer.  This is preposterous. In the house, 40% of the folks have a law degree, in the Senate its 60%.  Now, I know people default to thinking, hey, its the legislative branch, lawyers make sense.  Not really, lawyers should be the staff, not the decision makers.  We only have 8 engineers, 8 total in both houses !!  Ridiculous.  Is it any wonder we have an infrastructure in decay?  Wonder how many farmers/ranchers we have in the body, ZERO!  We need to put a diverse group of folks in these positions, engineers who know how to get things built, farmers/ranchers who know the best needs of the agricultural systems, teachers/principles to help upright the educational system, bankers and accountants to straighten up the budget, social workers and activists and maybe a homeless person or two to help figure out what would really help the poverty stricken.  Anything but lawyers !!  You want to fix the health care system? Elect and then create a board filled with about a dozen people who are doctors, nurses, pharma, and insurance people.  Pick three unelected folks to chair the board, two accountants and one economist.  Lock them all in a room and slide waffles under the door until they all come to an agreement that the chairmen unanimously agree to.  Problem solved.

Still under the heading of DO-OVER ..... cancel all foreign obligations !!  Yes this will set off a firestorm at first, but when done we need to be prepared to act quickly to put things either back in place or not.  Cancel all foreign aid and make everyone who wants something from us apply for assistance.  This will force a review and since a lot of those will end up being denied, it will save us a ton of cash.  Cancel all sales of military equipment to foreign countries, its high time we stop funding proxy wars.

Basically, what I'm suggesting in a summarized overview is this.  We used to have a large, clean, tidy respectable house, a peoples house.  Somewhere along the line we got the plumbing clogged, flooded the place and never fixed it.  We built an outhouse instead.  Well folks, the latrine is full.  Once a latrine is full, you don't empty it.  You burn it, cover it up and dig a new hole.  Instead of continuing down this path I'm suggesting we give the house a good makeover.   We need to gut the house down to the studs and foundations.  The foundation is the Constitution, and the studs are the amendments.  Tear out and throw away the rest.  Ban the two party system, have recall elections for the entirety of Congress and start over.  Our house has a velvet picture of Elvis in the living room, Poker playing dogs hanging in the dining room, an Avocado green fridge in the kitchen with a harvest gold phone hanging on the wall.  Our house has shag carpet and textured Flor-de-lis wallpaper with doilies on the coffee table and Sanka in the coffee mugs.  It is time to fix this.

Our government has become a virus, a self replicating horde of greed and graft where power is controlled by donors cash and the people have been spoon fed an ideology that isn't intended to create goodness and fairness but conflict and strife.  As long as we keep fighting among ourselves, the beast will continue to grow out of control.  We don't need a left and right, we need a whole.  We have broken ourselves apart into labels of either heart or head forgetting that we all have and need both.

In reality, I know this will never happen as an event.  But, maybe, just maybe if we fight back, fight back as a human group, then we could take little bites until we eat enough of the system that it can be dissolved.

Its time for a DO-OVER.



 









Thursday, July 14, 2016

Victim of Walmart customer service!

I'm a cheer dad, that's what I do!  Grace is an all-star cheerleader, recently moved to Midwest Cheer Elite and she also does school cheer for Little Miami Junior High ( its a great day to be a Panther )

Cheer camp started this Tuesday, as usual we volunteered to make the 150 or so mile drive to Ohio Northern University for camp and took a total of 5 girls with us.  Yes, that is five 12-13 year old girls in one vehicle for 150 miles...... Yes, I am insane.

12 year old girls pack like they are ...... well ..... 12 year old girls.  Total weight of luggage would normally require an 18 wheeler with a heavy load exemption and an escort, usually a dually with flashing yellow lights.  A barge and tug might have been a better choice, but ONU is landlocked so that wouldn't work.
So, in order to plan for the tonnage, I went to my local autoparts store and purchased enough straps to ratchet down and secure a small village to the roof of my wife's Acura MDX.  Once I arrived home, I was informed that the forecast calls for scattered showers so, " it would be nice if we had one of those roof bags". My eyes immediately begin to twitch!  Why?  Why you ask !!  Well, she has been wanting one for at least 3 years now, and every time any near use comes up, the subject is brought back up. This is called nagging.  My wife has a PHD in this field and holds classes regularly with my daughter to teach her the trade and sharpen her skills.  Immediately after seeing my eye twitch she says, " I'm not nagging, just tossing it out as an option, since its going to rain, but you do whatever you want."  She really is a master and I am not ready to take the pebble from her hand, not even close.  Not only is 3000 times over 3 years patiently and masterfully nagging, she ends with the death sentence of " do what you want !!"  I'm a dead man walking at this point.  If it rains, I'm the worst father in the world who soaked my daughters clothes and those of her friends, and if it doesn't, the persistence never ends!  I'm not worthy!! And I have no choice.  I begin to frantically look online at every retailer around town. It's a daunting task since the MDX luggage rack is not of the side bar variety, so a specific lock down mechanism is required.  Finally, FINALLY I found one at Walmart.com.  I check the stock and order it for in store pick up.  Computer says it is in stock at a local location, I pay for it and receive an email that says it will be ready for pick up at 8:20 PM.  Okay, I'm annoyed beyond all measure at this point.  I have given in, again!!  I ask said wife if she would pick it up because she is going out to dinner with a new friend, and Grace is with her.  She grudgingly agrees.  The time is 5:40 PM.

Here is where things go downhill.  I spend the evening quietly licking my wounds, alone in the house.  At 9:30 I get a call.  Dinner has gone well, new friends have been made, etc etc.  But, its late and she doesn't feel like going to Walmart.  So, again, I'm stuck!! I get up, change clothes and head down the road.

9:58 PM.  I walk into my local Walmart ( Bowen Rd. Mason Ohio ) ... oh such a glorious place.  I briefly look for where to pick up, don't see it.  I go to customer service counter.  I noticed as I came in, the lights in the little alcove were off, but there were 3 people still in there.  As I walk towards the alcove, they vanish, vanish like gorillas into the mist of the jungle.  I stand there, alone, listening to the sounds of distant jungle
birds as I ponder my dilemma.  Then, the sun shines through the forest canopy, just a little ray of light, a little ray of hope.  An employee ( now
10:01 PM ) exits a door into my presents.  She looks at me, and I can tell she is pondering weather to ignore me or speak.  She made the right call and spoke..... to tell me Customer Service was closed.  ( she could have just told me it didn't exist, but I would soon find that out on my own )  The lady, however, was nice and asked if I just had a question.  Upon asking , she kindly pointed me to the pick up alcove on opposite side of store.

Mission continues.

10:05 PM  I walk up to register and find sign that sends me back out to electronics.  I proceed to that register to wait my turn at the lottery.  Eventually a kind women calls someone to come to the pick register. Progress has been made.

Alec shows up.  Alec is a wonderfully kind man.  I also observe that he is a man of small stature who seems very very nervous and somewhat terrified at the moment.  I check my demeanor quickly to make sure I am not the cause of his shaking.  I am not, but I make certain to be diligently complimentary and polite at this point.  As I give him the pick up number and re-assure him there isn't a problem because my email confirmation says it was ready at 8:20.  He looks, and then manages to tell me that he doesn't see it in the system.  Its not here, or if it is I don't know where.  Alec and some other employee from behind the curtain.  ( Wizard of Oz reference ) attempt to explain that just because the email says so, doesn't make it so.  Hmmm that seems odd, isn't that the purpose of the email.  Still relatively calm at this point, I dutifully listen to their explanations.  Man from behind the curtain says he is pulling orders that were due for pick up at 3:00 that afternoon.  It is now 10:13PM.  Alec apologizes for the 4th time and disappeared for a moment to go 'look' for the item.   I think he was gone just long enough to breath in a brown paper bag a few times, but I'm still liking Alec.  He did at some point explain that I could come get it tomorrow.  Normally, that would be annoying but workable.  In this case, not an option.  So, I explained to Alec my situation and asked him to cancel the order and refund the money since it was paid for.  He explained that I would need to do that at Customer Service ( enter Jungle bird noises in the distance )  Nope, Alec, they're closed.

I requested assistance from a store manager at this point to request that a manager take care of it since Customer Service was closed.  For reasons I didn't yet understand, Alec's brow became sweaty and he started twitching a little more.  I assured him that he is doing a great job and I appreciate his help.  Alec calls his boss.  I can hear his bosses response to Alec.  Already, in my mind, this dude is going to be an issue.  Manager tells Alec, " tell 'customer' he can take care of cancelling it himself at Walmart.com, he can call Walmart.com or he can come back tomorrow.  We can't return it until after it arrives in our system."

Alec gets off phone, not knowing I can hear both sides of conversation. To Alec's credit he repeated what his boss said while trying to tone down his bosses attitude.  Instead of saying , " take care of it himself" Alec said, " he told me that you could try to cancel the order online ".  Thanks for trying Alec, you are being a good guy, but I'm not letting your boss off the hook just yet.

I told Alec, Ya know, I really don't want to come back, and I don't want to risk this getting put on my account and then having to wait to get it taken off later.  I really would like 'the  manager' to come talk to me and take care of this problem and explain why my confirmation says its here.  I'm smiling, I'm being polite, and Alec is just wishing I would go away.  He called his boss back who then answers the phone with "WHAT?" ....  Yep, I'm not gonna like this guy, but saga continues.  Alec then explains that I don't want to take care of it myself, I want to talk to him.  I can hear the guy sigh and I can sense the eyeroll that went with it.  This dude knows I could hit cancel button and hope for the best but he also knows that I want to explain to him that there is a problem with his system. He knows his system is failed so he doesn't want to hear it ...... again ...... ( my assumptions )  But, he is going to hear it again.  His boss says to Alec, " I will be up there when I can".  Again, to Alec's credit, he toned that down and not knowing I could hear his boss told me, " he said he'd right up, but it might be a minute".  Alec kept apologizing and getting more and more nervous. By now I knew it wasn't me making him nervous.  I again told Alec I had no problem with him and he was doing a great job.  After a few minutes past I asked Alec if it would be easier if I just went to his boss, if he knows where he is, I can just go get him.  Alec assured me he had no idea, he was on the floor somewhere probably taking care of another customer.  Not likely Alec, but you are a good man.  Please stop pacing in circles Alec, you're creepin me out.

10:39PM  Roger (Alec's boss) abruptly plows out from behind the curtain. Without making eye contact with me (on purpose) he brushes within inches of me (personal space violation) and approaches Alec, who I think just peed a little.  Alec quickly and dutifully runs thru the entire conversation again, repeating that he told me the policy and told me that it wasn't in the system etc etc.  At this point, all I want, and I attempted to explain this to Roger, is to understand why I have a confirmation that says it's available, yet it isn't, and to have Roger acknowledge that his system is broken and someone is trying to fix it so customers stop getting screwed.  I also want assurance that the order is canceled ( doing it myself still an option, but it say REQUEST to cancel as in maybe so maybe not)

Roger then faces me, his full on 'tude strikes now.

I begin, ( still polite, but I'm struggling) by trying to show him the confirmation on my phone.

Me: it says here that this item, that I have paid for, is available for pick up at 8:20 today, so I wa....... ( interruption)
Roger: Those aren't correct.
Me: but, it says ..... (interruption)
Roger: It's a problem, a problem with Walmart.com, they aren't correct.
Me: ( yep, just lost it) So, your attempt to provide Customer Service is to tell me to take care of it myself.
Roger: (he just lost it too) It ALSO says right there you can cancel, if it hasn't shipped,
ME: has it shipped?
Roger: (non-verbal shrug)
Me: So, I want ....... (interruption)
Roger: you can call Walmart.com for..... (interruption)
Me: So, you're telling me you're useless !!
Roger: ( yep, he done); thanks for that ( he begins to storm off towards swinging doors of doom, slams doors open.
Me: So, you're just gonna let it go and pass the blame to ..... (an non living entity who can't respond, but that's too many words to attempt because I just got surprised)
Roger: ( non verbal, but as doors are closing , as he is sliding back into Oz, he "basically" flips me off)
Roger is now gone, back to hunt Pokemon I suppose, or back to the Bejeweled game we obviously
interrupted.

A couple of things, what does, 'basically' flips off look like.  It's, well, the arm gesture and intention are clear, but its more of a European version as opposed to the single digit salute.

I hadn't as of yet been able to acquire Rogers name.  Since Roger was not dressed in Walmart attire but rather an oxford button down and khaki slacks ( well, he's a guy, so ) so there was no name tag.  Upon beginning to find my way out of the store I follow the sweat droplets on the floor back to Alec who is in electronics with a really nice lady.  I thank Alec again, and ask for the managers name since he departed without sharing that information.  Alec, a good man, a good company man, said he was new and didn't know his name.   Really Alec, you called him on speed dial twice Alec.......  However, the nice lady said, " his name is Roger and you should really call corporate at the 800 number"

As I began the process of going over Rogers head I began to notice something about Walmart.  They make it very difficult to contact a human to discuss any issue.  Phone numbers lead to phone trees which lead to imaginary people who don't get back to you.  There is no place on line to email customer service and have it go to a person.  I did find a little tab, eventually, that was entitled 'feedback'.  This innocuous little button did lead to a place that allowed me to send a message to Walmart corp.  However, there are two issues with the feedback button.  First, it limits my complaint to 1000 characters.  Second, right above the form, no lie, they tell you they will not respond to your feedback due to the high volume of messages.  That in itself tells me, they know they have issues, and they will fix them if and when they feel like it but don't need meddlesome customers telling them whats wrong. 



Friday, January 8, 2016


 Kids today don't like the music from my generation.  They say its not good, it's not any fun!!  They just don't get it.  I know every parent ( my daughter is 12 and I am 47) struggles with this, but I honestly believe I can make a case for the music I grew up with being vastly superior to the driveling of today's 'artists'.  I mean, c'mon, we had Bohemian Rhapsody.  We not only popularized the new musical style of rap, but we also fell in love with the new genre of the rock opera!!  Our celebrities were flashy when flashy was cool, unlike Lady Ga-gag who is trying to bring back the mystic of overkilled outfits.  Lady, you missed your mark by a few decades!!  While I'm at it, anacondas belong to a guy named Sir, and you miss Nicki Minaj are just embarrassing yourself. 

Again I'll use Bohemian Rhapsody as the example.  It was written and produced by one guy, one GUY, ( Freddie Mercury).  BeyoncĂ© had 6 writers and 4 producers to put out 'run the world'.  The song has like 9 words, 10 if you count 'the' as a word.  Bohemian Rhapsody was, and is, fun, it tells a story, it creates visual imagery in your mind, it brings forth multiple emotions, it makes you think, it makes you happy, it makes you sing a long ......  The only thing 'run the world' creates is a bit of nausea and disappointment in the 2 minutes of my life I will never get back. 

Our music was so cool we had bands whose name you had to say twice just because it was cool ( Duran Duran )  We had people who were so awesome, one name, not even a real first name, would become the only thing they would or could ever be known by ( Madonna ). We had Men Without Hats and Flocks of Seagulls.  We learned that a Vegemite sandwich came from a land down under.  We could dance if we wanted to.  We all knew Jenny's number.  You had your sharona and I had mine.  We had both heavy metal and big hair. ( please catch the Blues Brothers reference there to 'both kinds')  Cinderella had a flying piano instead of a glass slipper and Prince still had a name back then when he had a little red corvette and girlfriend named Nicki and Doves still cried.  Girls used to just want to have fun and Talking Heads used to be burning down houses.  Speaking of houses, ours used to be in the middle of our street.  This generation thinks they invented gender bending, but that is because they don't remember Boy George.. now that's Karma..  By the way, when you say Hello, I think Lionel Richie, not Adele.   We had stray cats who strutted, and anthems played by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  We actually had a whole genre of rockabilly. 


We had women who were beautiful and men who were too sexy for their shirts.  We had a huge pool of talented people who could sing and perform, but not only that, due to the nature of the business and music video being the big push, they could act as well.  If you think the music we grew up with wasn't fun, you've missed the allure of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.. Even the name was fun.  Heck, we even had entire popular acts who never sang a word ( Millie Vanillie )
We had Vanilla Ice, Ice Cube and Ice-T. Speaking of sexy, we had Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, Bananarama, the Bangles, Bonnie Tyler even totally eclipsed my heart. 

Today's music is just not as spectacular.  The spectacle is missing.  The flair is missing.  The showmanship is missing.  The absurdity is missing.  The fun is missing!! Maybe, just maybe it's because I'm old. But those were simpler times.  The music we grew up with was just superior in every way.  It was more adventurous, more entertaining, it was of a higher skill level, it had deeper meaning.  We wore our sunglasses at night and every girl was crazy about a sharp dressed man.  Lola went from he to a she and then it was Hammer Time!  We learned to walk this way and talk this way and we learned what it was like to be a wasted rock ranger.  We learned that Mickey was so fine 99 balloons would actually luft.  I guess every rose has its thorns, and Huey must have found his new drug but he isn't workin for a livin anymore.  I wonder if Dire Straights is still getting money for nothin? 

Oh well.  As I sit here and type this, Steve Perry just came on the radio with one of those trade mark power ballads.  As I sit here and cringe just a little, maybe this generation does have a point that the music of my youth does really suck.


 

Monday, November 19, 2012

PADS

Do you know someone, a friend, a spouse maybe, who seems to always push your buttons?  Someone who just keeps poking at your emotions, gets under your skin, someone who annoys the haberdash out you?  Do you know a person like this who does this continuously but always does it in a manner that always seems, accidental.  They make it appear they have no earthly idea they are driving you mad.  They act as though all is normal, the world is just as it should be.  They have no idea why we have dropped to the floor in the fetal position and are trying to scratch our eyes out with our elbows.  There must be something wrong with US because THEY have done nothing.  Do you know this person, or maybe several of these people.  Maybe you are this person ?

Well, if you relate to the above paragraph, I have good news for you.

The A.M.A has finally, FINALLY, issued a statement, a diagnosis, a definition of what the rest of us already knew.  That is correct, the American Medical Association is now on our side!! Not only have they legitimized our plight, they even have suggested a treatment that if used as prescribed can almost entirely mitigate the effects of this newly named and labeled condition.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the A.M.A has discovered and named, Passive Aggressive Disorder Syndrome  !!!  PADS for short. 

That is correct folks. Many of us have been afflicted by PADS.  The woeful pain, the frustration, the twitching inflicted on us now has a name, and the name is music to my ears.  PADS is real.  PADS is a crisis.  PADS treatment will be covered by Obamacare!!

Do people with PADS make you flail uncontrollably  in frustration ?

Do people with PADS make you sit in the floor with your hands wrapped around your legs and your face in your knees while you rock back and forth self consoling and repeat " Kmart 410 Oak street.... yeah.......  6 minutes til Whapner....... yeah...  "?

Do people with PADS make you sing "I'm a little tea pot " in the shower just to drown out their seeming normalcy?

Do people with PADS make you want to Gangnam Style in a grass skirt and coconut bra while on top of the Golden Gate Bridge?  ( okay, maybe that one is just me )

Well people, friends, commrades...... The solution has been found at long last.  A medically approved device is being made available to all sufferers of PADS.

The trick is this.  As we all know, the person who is afflicted with PADS has no idea that WE are the people who suffer from PADS.  So, in their infinite wisdom, prescriptions will be made available to all of us who suffer from this dreaded affliction to help assist in the curing of our friends and loved ones.

Step one:  Ask your friend/spouse/relative to go to the doctor and seek help dealing with their infirmity.

Step two : If your friend/spouse/relative actually goes to the doctor to discuss their problem, then it is obvious that YOU are the problem and they do not have PADS, because if they did have PADS they would not have actually gone.

Step three :  If your friend/spouse/relative says, sure honey/buddy/friend thanks for your concern, and then never seems to remember to make that appointment then blames you for their inability to complete this simple task...... then you have a PADS afflicted confirmation......

Step four :  Now that you have a PADS afflicted confirmation you can phone your doctor and tell them that your friend/spouse/relative is PADS afflicted and you are a PADS sufferer.  The doctor will call you in  a prescription and you can run directly to the pharmacy and retrieve your medically approved device.

Step five : Keep your medically approved device with you at all times and administer as necessary every time your friend/spouse/relative causes you suffering.

The theory is that if the people with PADS are made accutely aware of the level of suffering they inflict on the rest of us, they will slowly begin to recognize that their behavior is the cause of all the worlds issues.  Once they become aware of their PADS they can then, and only then, be able to try and control their PADS on their own.  Studies have shown that repeated/frequent use of medically approved device has cut down on the frequency of PADS outbreaks almost immediatly.  Over time, PADS can be controlled.  PADS may never go away entirely, but as we all know, even one less PADS outbreak a day is a great relief and significant improvement in the overall quality of life for us poop schleps suffering in silence from PADS.

Please please suffer in silence no more.  Reach out and do something for yourself and for others.  Obamacare will cover the cost, so you have no excuses.  Call your doctor today !!

Direction for use:

Your pharmacist will hand you one of these.  This is a sharp stick made from a pharmaceutical grade ultra dense bio-plastic. 

Whenever you feel the onset of those all to familiar symptoms that occur when you are in the presents of PADS you simply take the sharp stick out of its sterile container and jab the pointed end into a convenient fleshy spot on the person afflicted with PADS.  The reaction will be immediate and lasting.  The cure will be temporary, but effective.  After first initial application, keep sharp stick handy as more applications are likely to be necessary.  Over time, the frequency should decrease.

Act now.

Help stamp out the rampant suffering of PADS.

( some side effects may include, bleeding, sleeplessness, nausea, fits of rage, moodiness use only as prescribed.  Not for use outside the United State.  )

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

an exercise in skit writting...

"In 1865 Englishman William Chatterton Dix wrote The Manger Throne, three verses of which became What Child Is This? In the era while Dix was writing hymns and raising a family, Christmas was not the celebration it is today. Neither was it a season where many openly celebrated the birth of Christ. Conservative Christian churches forbade gift-giving, decorating, or even acknowledging the day. These Puritan groups feared that if set aside as a special day, Christmas would become a day of pagan rituals more than a very serious time of worship. In this context, it was unusual for Dix to feel moved to write about Christ's birth, since many hymn writers of the period ignored Christmas altogether." When we look at how Christmas is celebrated today, perhaps the Puritans had a point. At the age of twenty-nine, William Dix was struck with a sudden and near fatal illness and was confined to bed rest for the next several months and he slipped into a deep depression. During this time, he wrote many hymns, including What Child is This which was later set to the traditional tune of Greensleeves.
Lets go through the words to his song, little by little, and see if we can experience some of what he might have been thinking about, praying about, and pondering on.

ME: Hey ( voice 1) have you ever read the words to What Child is This, that old Christmas Carol?

V1: Duh, yes I know the words, and its actually a hymn..

ME : oh, well ExCuuuse me.  Okay , smartypants , how does it start ?

V1 : What child is this who laid to rest
         On Mary's lap is sleeping.
ME : What child indeed, maybe its just me
V1 : It's just you........
ME : Maybe its just me, but I wonder when the Angel of the Lord spoke to Mary, exactly how much did he tell her, could she have been told the whole story, beginning to end?
V1 : According to what is recorded in the gospel of Luke, probably not.  I suppose it is possible she was told more than is recorded, but not likely the whole story.  She would likely have known some of the story anyway, being Jewish and all.
Me : Picture  in your mind ....
V1 : no
Me : Seriously, think about that for a second.  Holding your newborn child on your lap and thinking about their future, as most parents would do.  Now, imagine that the Angel of the Lord has told you that this is God's child.

V1: no pressure......

Me: can you imagine holding that responsibility in your arms?  Can you imagine pondering that future?

V1: This much I would assume, with whatever knowledge the Angel imparted, God must have sent a full dose of strength and peace to go alone with it.

Me : agreed, what is the next part of the song?

V1: Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
        While shepherds watch are keeping.

        This, this is Christ the King
         Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.

Me: I wonder if this family felt like they were all alone.  I mean, this could be a bit of a burden don't ya think?

V1: Alone ?? No way.  That is what this verse is all about.  Jesus was never alone.  Even at this early day, not only was his earthly mother taking care of his physical needs, the angels were singing sweet whispers to his spirit to comfort him, his heavenly Father was watching over him and sending both angels and shepherds, his heavenly and earthly servants, to watch over him.

Me :  Right, I see that now, the shepherds came because they knew the King had arrived, Christ had come, and had come as a child.

V1:  Now the next part, I don't get really.  It says:
        Haste , haste to bring him laud
        The babe, the son of Mary.

Me:  Oh, that's easy.  Laud means praise.  So what they are really saying is, Hurry up shepherds !!  Hurry up, you don't want to be late in bringing  praises to your redeemer, your rescuer, your saviour.  You don't want to be late to praise God's son, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Lion of Judah has come as an innocent lamb to save you.... hurry shepherds, hurry everyone, Christ the King has come, don't miss your chance !!

V1:  Okay, that makes sense. 

Me : alright, this is kinda fun... what's next.

V1: Why lies he in such mean estate
        Where ox and ass are feeding?

Me:  Now that's a fine question.  Why would God send his son to such a humble and poor existence?  Why an infant at all, let alone start off life in a barn with his crib being a food trough.  I doesn't get much more meager and humble a starting point than this.  Why send him as a child at all ?

V1 : Well, as for the child part, what other choice is there really ?

Me :  Well, God man Adam didn't he. Obviously He could have made a full grown man at the start.  He could have sent Jesus as a full grown King with a huge palace, ready to take on the powers of darkness, with a bunch of..........  ( interruption )

V1 : but that would not have been the point.  The other thing is the humbleness of the starting point.  To fulfill the scripture He had to come as an innocent child, he didn't come to conquer, he came to serve and to save by serving.

Me:  where does scripture say anything about that ?

V1 :  In Matthew is says Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.And whoever wants to be first must be your slave.  It also points out that.....  Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many, as well as..... so the last will be first and the first will be last.  When you look at all that..... humble is the only way to go...

Me : point taken. 

V1 :  Good Christian fear , for sinners here
          The silent word is pleading
           Nails, spear shall pierce him through
           The cross be borne for me, for you.

Me :  Now, my turn to quote scripture to you.  The silent word is pleading, I imagine Jesus must have been just a little frustrated with being a baby and not able to speak yet.  He is full of all that God stuff but can't say a word.  He knows he has come with a purpose, to serve, to save, to ransom, to rescue, to redeem. He knows what lies ahead of him. He knows all this becaue in John 1:1 it says, " in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God , and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  And since we know Jesus is the Word being talked about.........

V1:  Well, that's cool and all, but I don't know if being silent is just because of being a baby or not.  I think it has to do with Isaiah (53:7)  " He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth: He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth"  He could have called down fire from heaven or a league of angels to come to his rescue, but yet he remained silent, he bore the cross for us, for me, for you.

Me : Bearing the cross for me....... that's painful to even consider.

V1 : for me as well.

Me: Hey, I know the next line, I just said it a minute ago.
        Hail, hail the Word made flesh
        The babe , the son of Mary

V1 :  He is God's word, both God and man.

Me : He is worthy of our praise, even though we are certainly not worthy of him.

V1 : He serves us too, yet we are not worthy of being served.

Me : He saves us,  yet we are not worthy of being saved.

V1 : He is God's son and thus God, yet he is Mary's son as well, so he is human too.
        Then bring him incense, gold and myrrh
         Come peasant, king to own him
         The King of kings salvation brings
         Let loving hearts enthrone him


Me:  So, we should bring him gifts.  Now that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, I doubt gold is of much use to Him.  So, what kind of gifts should we give him now.

V1:  ourselves of course.

Me : that's right, I remember, its in Romans 12 I think.  :  " Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship."

V1: Yup, that's it.

Me: so, it doesn't matter if you are a peasant, a pauper, a blue collar worker, a ceo, a King, a homeless person, a farmer, or a sports figure, Jesus has come for each of us and desires each of us to give ourselves up to him who has given everything to save us.  The throne that we can provide for our King is a place firmly in our heart.

V1: So, let us invite him in to take a seat on this throne.  ( long pause................ )

Me :  Raise , raise the song on high
          The virgin sings her lullaby
          Joy , joy for Christ is born
          The babe , the son of Mary

V1 : All I can think of when I read these last few lines in Mary singing to her son.  Singing with joy, singing with love, singing with praise, singing with tears, singing with strength, singing in weakness, singing with hope.

Me :  All I can think of is what must have it been like to hold someone so small, knowing he was so big. Coddling something so frail, knowing he was so incredibly strong.  Caring for someone so much, yet know he would care for her more.  Loving someone so deeply and yet he really did and would prove he loved her even more.  That he loved us, and loves us more than we can even understand.  What must have it been like ?

V1 :  What child is this ?

Me :  What child indeed !!


1. What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
2. Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
3. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary

      

Monday, September 24, 2012

What child is this........

"In 1865 Englishman William Chatterton Dix wrote The Manger Throne, three verses of which became What Child Is This? In the era while Dix was writing hymns and raising a family, Christmas was not the celebration it is today. Neither was it a season where many openly celebrated the birth of Christ. Conservative Christian churches forbade gift-giving, decorating, or even acknowledging the day. These Puritan groups feared that if set aside as a special day, Christmas would become a day of pagan rituals more than a very serious time of worship. In this context, it was unusual for Dix to feel moved to write about Christ's birth, since many hymn writers of the period ignored Christmas altogether." When we look at how Christmas is celebrated today, perhaps the Puritans had a point.  At the age of twenty-nine, William Dix was struck with a sudden and near fatal illness and was confined to bed rest for the next several months and he slipped into a deep depression.  During this time, he wrote many hymns, including What Child is This which was later set to the traditional tune of Greensleeves.
Lets go through the words to his song, little by little, and see if we can experience some of what he might have been thinking about, praying about, and pondering on.

What child is this who laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?


What child indeed.  Maybe it's just me, but I have often wondered when the Angel of the Lord spoke to Mary, exactly how much did he tell her, could she have been told more than what is recorded in Luke's gospel account, could she have known the whole story from beginning to end? Probably not, but I bet she knew enough.  Picture in your mind, holding your newborn child on your lap and thinking about their future as many a parent has done.  Now, imagine that the Angel of the Lord has told you that this is God's child........ no pressure.......  Can you imagine holding that responsibility in your arms ??  Can you imagine pondering that future.  This much I assume, with whatever knowledge the Angel imparted, God must have sent a full dose of strength and peace to go along with it.


Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping.

This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing


It is easy for us to look at this families situation and wonder if , at least for a moment, if they didn't feel like they were all along. This verse reminds us, however, that the baby Jesus was never alone. Even at this early day, not only did he have his earthly mother taking care of his physical needs, the angels were singing sweet whispers to his spirit to comfort him and others were coming to help watch over and protect him.  They were coming because they knew the King had arrived.  Christ had come, he had come as a child. 


Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary


Hurry up shepherds !!  Hurry up, you don't want to be late in bringing praises to your redeemer, your rescuer, your saviour, you don't want to be late to praise God's son, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Lion of Judah has come as an innocent lamb to save you.... hurry shepherds, hurry everyone.  Christ the King has come.


Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?


Why indeed !!  Why would God send his son to such a humble and poor existence?  Why would he send Jesus, not only as an infant, but have him start off life in a barn, with his crib being a food trough for animals?  It doesn't get much more meager and humble a starting point than this.  Why send him as a child at all?  God could have sent a full grown man, he had made a man before after all, certainly He could have done it again.  Why not send the King of Kings to earth as a powerful and mighty King, all grown up and ready to wage war on darkness?  I think the answer is in the scripture when Jesus said, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20)


Good Christian fear, for sinners here
The silent word is pleading
Nails, spear shall pierce him through
The cross be borne for me, for you


These chilling words for tell the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus has come and while he is yet still silent he is yearning to speak his Fathers words.  He knows he has come with a purpose, to serve, to save, to ransom, to rescue, to redeem.  He knows what lies ahead of him. He knows because John 1:1 tells us ,"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. and Isaiah (53:7)"He was oppressed and afflicted,    yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth."  He could have called down fire from heaven or a league of angels to come to his rescue, but yet, he remained silent, he bore the cross for us, for me, for you.

 

Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The babe, the son of Mary

As he grows and begins his ministry, we are reminded, he is God's word, he is both God and man.  He is worthy of our praise even though we are not worthy of him.  He serves us, yet we are not worthy of being served.  He saves us, yet we are not worthy of being saved.  This line tells us this, he is God's son,  and thus God, yet he is the son of Mary, so he is man  as well.



Then bring him incense, gold and myrrh
Come peasant, king to own him
The King of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him


Here we are reminded to bring him gifts and incense, gold and myrrh are listed.  We also have been told in scripture that the gift that is truly desired is the gift of ourselves, our whole self, ourselves as a living sacrifice to him that has redeemed us.  It doesn't matter if you are a peasant, a pauper, a blue collar worker, a ceo, a King, a homeless person, a farmer, or a sports figure, Jesus has come for each of us and desires each of us to give ourselves up to him who has given everything to save us.  The throne that we can provide for our King is place firmly in our heart..... let us invite him in to take a seat on this throne.

Raise, raise the song on high
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy, for Christ is born
The babe, the son of Mary


All I can think of when I read these last few lines is Mary singing to her son.  Singing with joy, singing with praise, singing with tears, singing with strength, singing in weakness, singing in hope.  All I can think of is what must have it been like to hold something so small knowing he was so big, coddling something so frail knowing he was so incredibly strong.  Caring for something so much yet know he would care for her more.  Loving someone so deeply and yet he really did and would prove he loved her even more.  That he loved us, and loves us more that we can even understand.  What must have it been like


....... what child is this, what child indeed !!

Lets sing the song together now..........

What child is this who laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping.
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary

Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian fear, for sinners here
The silent word is pleading
Nails, spear shall pierce him through
The cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The babe, the son of Mary

Then bring him incense, gold and myrrh
Come peasant, king to own him
The King of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him
Raise, raise the song on high
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy, for Christ is born
The babe, the son of Mary






Monday, September 10, 2012

ever listen to the words??

There are some songs that we just sing because we know the words.  But there comes a time when we have been singing them for so long, we know what word comes next but we really stopped listening to the words we are singing.  We sing from habit instead of appreciation of the words themselves and their meaning.  The message has been lost over time, if we ever got a message from the song in the first place.  One such song is Joy to the World........  have you ever thought about the meaning of the words?? 

JOY !!! 

Lets just look at the first two lines. 

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;


What does this say to you?  What if we translate it out of sing songy verse and into a mode similar to what we would use if we were speaking.  If we did that, it might look like this.

Hey, today is a great, awesome, happy, rockin day.  It's the absolute best day ever because the one we have been waiting for , waiting for for like ever, has come today, the guy who makes it all better, solves all the problems and leads us to eternal happiness, the king of forever and everything  was born today. The world received a way out, a way up, he was born today!!

Next line

Let every heart prepare Him room,

What does this say to you?

This is more of an instruction the way I hear it.  Here the song is telling us to get on the wagon, have some faith, make room for some big time grace, open your heart and let Jesus in, open your heart and let Jesus lead, open your heart and give the man...... THE man all the room he needs.

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Moving on......

Heaven and nature sing......  Heaven would be who exactly, and who is nature that it would sing ??  Well, what I hear the author saying here is that this day is SO glorious that the Angels in heaven are happy enough to sing out and nature, why nature is the all the things on earth that God made, the clouds, the rivers, the trees, the stones, everything of the earth feels that a big thing, a huge thing, a glorious joyous marvelous thing is happening today.


moving a little further along.....

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

Again, JOY......  the world should be happy, all the people, all the creations, everything in the world should be mad with joy because the promise has begun to be fulfilled.  The Savior has come, he has arrived, Jesus is in the house !!  Let all mankind sing out and relish the coming of enough grace to get them into God's very presents. 

moving a bit further along......

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

Even the fields and floods, even the rocks know Jesus was born today......  Joy has come, it has come to be with us , wretched tho we are, Joy has come, Grace has come, the promise is here with us today...... 

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Why has he come ?  Why are we supposed to be so happy ?  That is what this stanza tells us about.  He came to destroy the power of sin, sin can no longer enslave us as we have been given the power of His grace thru faith.  We could never save ourselves, the law made that all too clear, but now grace has come to save us and we have been brought freedom, freedom brings us joy !! The thorns have been struck down, the curse has been removed, he comes to make his blessings flow, all his blessings.

He rules the world with truth and grace,

He has come to rule over us with truth and grace, he has come to free us from the plague, the immutable stain of our sin is what he and only he can lift away.........

And makes the nations prove
we prove it by our faith first and in his grace we prove it by following him, by loving him, and by living in his will thru his enabling grace


The glories of His righteousness,

the glories are proved out by our salvation, his gift , his grace, unearned, undeserved, but heaped on us non the less...... why oh why will he bless us so........ you need only read , or sing, a little farther now......


And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders, of His love.


His LOVE..... his love defies understanding...... it defines who he is...... God is love........  he loves us....  he loved us before we were even created, and he loved us while we were yet sinners... a love that we cannot even begin to grasp........  a love that brought us grace....... grace is a concept we cannot fully wrap our heads around ...... 


now......... now we can think about the words, the message in the song...... we can sing it anew from our hearts... let us sing now......



Joy to the World , the Lord is come!


Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.



Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.



No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.



He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders, of His love.