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Archive for November, 2015


I tell my Belizean friend David (Pops) Awe that he should re-name his breakfast cafe “Papa’s,” since “Papa” was Hemingway’s nickname.

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I’ve suggested he hang pictures of himself alongside pix of his look-alike Papa Hemingway as an extra attraction to his tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe on a back street in downtown San Ignacio.

But so far he’s not going for it, nor is his daughter Lisa, who is the actual owner of Pop’s. Being the great raconteur that he is, Pops just hangs out at Lisa’s outstanding breakfast establishment and shares yarns with folks about his days growing up in BZ–or anything else you want to talk about. He’s a fine conversationalist.

(His brother Jaime Awe is a recently retired archeologist and is the foremost expert on Mayan history and culture in BZ. See more on Dr. Awe here.)

And it seems to me that he looks far more like the great American author “Papa” Hemingway than some of the people who’ve won the annual Hemingway look-alike contest at Sloppy Joe’s famous bar in Key West.

You be the judge.

I think my Belizean friend “Pops” Awe looks way more like Papa Hemingway than some of these dudes from one of the annual look-alike competitions. So what say you?

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Dr. Ben Carson is all the rage among folks who admire him not only for his undeniable brilliance as a neurosurgeon, but also because they are swept away by his high-mindedness–his good, Christian morals and values.

But here’s one thing, among many things about Dr. Carson, that I can’t get past.

A strange portrait from Dr. Carson's home: two happy guys who got together and are will save the world once and for all.

A strange portrait from Dr. Carson’s home: two happy guys who got together.

He claims in an anecdote, which rings with about as much truth as his bizarro Pyramids theory, that he was almost robbed at gunpoint at a fast-food joint near prestigious Johns Hospkins.

He claims he told a guy who had the power to blow him Home to God, “You got the wrong guy; you want him.”

With that, Dr. Carson coolly and calmly directed the bad guy to go threaten the poor dude drawing minimum wage by cashing out chicken pieces.

Thank God the bad guy didn’t walk over and shoot down the cashier in cold blood. With that ugly scenario the story wouldn’t have been useful to building The Legend of Billy Jack Carson.

I suppose the story is meant to illustrate the good doctor’s Hemingwayesque “grace under pressure.” Whatever else he would do or not do, a Hemingway character, with Hemingway’s own famous death wish, would not freak out.

He’d probably even light a Cuban cigar and then pistol-whip the robber. It’s the stuff of a good, fictitious yarn.

But seriously, people of God–where is God’s grace in Dr. Carson’s reaction to the robber? He seems to take utter delight in the admiring grins and laughs the story gets at the expense of the cashier and other victims.

What doesn’t get told in the anecdote is the reaction of the minimum-wage working slug, who supposedly ended up facing a robber with a deadly weapon re-directed over at him, thanks to the good doctor.

Honest to God–if you had coolly directed an armed robber over to me in a Popeye’s Fried Chicken, I’d probably be severely pissed off at you for being a jerk.

And that’s what I can’t get past, that he was thinking of only himself with scant regard for the other guy, who was probably too dry in the mouth to order him back to the doctor.

What about his story–the cashier and the other people who were victimized by an armed robber?

Such yarns of Dr. Carson’s always leave a lot to the imagination, but what’s always missing is his concern and response to the others.

I suppose we’re left to imagine that the doctor, being the compassionate physician as well as the swaggering John Wayne that he so wants us to see him as, immediately went to the aid of the cashier and all the others in that fried-chicken joint.

Think about it: they probably needed a doctor’s presence after being traumatized by the gunman who gave the fearless and invincible Dr. Ben Carson a pass.

Armed robbery is an act of terror, every time, which you wouldn’t sense from this yarn of Dr. Ben’s, all wrapped up as it is in pleasantry like a good campfire yarn.

Maybe we’re not supposed to think about “the rest of the story” at all–we’re only supposed to think up to a point.

In politics–and Ben Carson is proving to be a shrewd politician–too much thinking can put a strain on the brain. You go for the little brain teasers, and verification of facts and truths be damned.

I’ll give Dr. Carson his due as a neurosurgeon, but as hard as I’ve tried to like and respect the whole man for his integrity, I’m having a real hard time with him. Even though, as a lifelong political observer, I know that he’s eventually going to fade away like that whopping political sensation Sarah Palin anyway.

But this is what’s bothersome: it seems it’s become too much to ask for us as Americans to admire any kind of man who knows who he is and what he is–a man who can accept the limits of his mind and manhood without being like the guy who walks through the dark valleys of life fearing no evil because he’s the toughest S.O.B. in the valley.

It’s not enough to be a Dr. Albert Schweizer, a gentle man and a good doctor (and ordained preacher) who gave up the good life to go to Africa and save scores upon scores of lives and doubled as a peace advocate who won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Real men don’t fake it.

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Nothing like the calming influence of a good, strong horse to fortify you with inner strength and peace.

More about the non-profit Spring Reigns of Life here.

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Many was the night I tossed and turned and prayed and, frankly, worried away the hours wondering if my only son Adam McKay (left) was safe and sound wherever he was in Harm's Way. Bless you the vets.

Many was the night I tossed and turned and prayed and, frankly, worried away the hours wondering if my Marine Adam McKay (left) was safe and sound wherever he was in Harm’s Way. Bless him and my brother Charlie and all you who are beloved vets.

Trains lead to ships and ships to death or trains,
And trains to death or trucks, and trucks to death,
Or trucks lead to the march, the march to death,
Or that survival which is all our hope;
And death leads back to trucks and trains and ships,
But life leads to the march, O flag! at last
The place of life found after trains and death—
Nightfall of nations brilliant after war.

–From “Troop Train” by poet Karl Shapiro

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Your Jitterbug Thought for Tuesday:

Free Will:
A theological term concerning the freedom and the power God gave us to make choices undetermined by prior causes or divine intervention.

Examples:
God gives us the freedom to dread the dirty dishes in the sink or to thank Him for the food we have–the choice is ours.

We can choose to get tense over every passing pseudo-event in the news or we can decide to turn off the TV and get lost in a good book or great art or music or the natural world or quiet time in prayer.

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Millions of American Christians, who worship a God with whom I’m not familiar, are upset about Starbucks forgoing it’s traditional snowflakes, doves and trees on its signature holiday cups.

In a viral Facebook post that received 8 million views in one night, an Arizona pastor who speaks for all those faithful people (or would it be fear-filled people lacking much in faith) wrote this:

“Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”

As a Christian pastor myself, I’m sure he’s right about that. Starbucks quite obviously “hates” Jesus, who surely loves him some Starbucks and no doubt worries all day about how the company has lost its way.

I’m sure that this is the story that historians, wired on Starbucks caffeine, will write someday when they pen God’s obituary:

Christianity had been under siege from the start of the 21rst century, when Satan’s minions began a “War on Christmas” in the now-defunct Christian nation of America.

From that starting point it took 15 years for Christianity–a faith tradition that had survived against all odds for 2,000 years–to finally go down in that fateful year, 2015.

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That’s the year that Starbucks–an American corporation led by the Devil’s 4- and 5-Star Generals (the “Stars” in “Starbucks”) used its buck privates (the “bucks” in Starbucks) to dispense coffee in plain, cranberry-red, anti-Christian paper cups.

This war campaign was an act of genius by the Devil. For even though Starbucks had never served coffee in cups with the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting, it dawned on a large number of Christians that this omission of “Merry Christmas” from the cup was a plot to take the “Christ” out of Christmas* and kill God and Christianity once and for all.

Many embattled Christians rose up, denouncing Starbucks at every turn, while Satan laughed with delight. He laughed because millions of Americans continued to feed their caffeine drug addictions by buying Starbucks coffee and drinking it from those seemingly innocent anti-Christian paper cups.

America’s greatest defender of Christianity–Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly–fought the good fight against the determined persecutors of America’s Christmas tradition to the end.

But O’Reilly–who long ago had coined the term “War on Christmas” and juiced up that war at every turn as it happened to get freakish ratings every December–well … he put up the good fight to the end.

But not even God could stand up to America’s “War on Christmas,” much less O’Reilly, whose ratings, btw, made him equal with God in America.

That Holiday Season–2015–was the year that God spake to the Devil, saying:

    “I can’t take it anymore, Devil! My chosen Christian nation America–the nation I spared even though it enslaved and terrorized blacks and exterminated the native peoples–just doesn’t accept ‘Merry Christmas’ as the only Season Greeting anymore!

    “And now it’s come to THIS! Those CUPS at STARBUCKS!

    “EEK!”

    “You can have America–and take the rest of the world with you!”

Satan laughed and fiddled and said to God, as the frustrated Father, Son and Holy Spirit went moping away in defeat:

    “Happy Holidays, sucker!”

Though some of the dumb buck privates in Starbucks’ famous chain of coffee shops were Christians themselves, they were the useful idiots who dispensed coffee to the caffeine addicts all over America in those innocent-looking cranberry red cups during the Christmas Season.

But those young bucks*, like other American Christians, had been so conditioned to accept “Happy Holidays” as an alternative greeting for “Merry Christmas” that they didn’t realize they were killing Christianity every time some American failed to greet somebody with a “Merry Christmas.”

Never mind that “Happy Holidays” had been used interchangeably with “Merry Christmas” on Christmas cards and as a traditional greeting since the end of World War II.

Today, many people look back on December 2015 and blame the Starbucks Corp. for the final fall of God, Christianity and Christmas in America.

But let history and the record show that it was all the work of the Devil himself, he who used Starbucks as the place to finally overtake God and wipe out a faith that had existed for 2,000 years.

To learn more about the fall of God, faith, Christmas and the now-defunct Bible–none of which could withstand the annual “War on Christmas” in America–visit the church-turned-museum nearest you, where some stimulating and tasty Starbucks coffee is always on.
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FOOTNOTES:
*Some of the “bucks” who served coffee at Starbucks were Jewish and were never comfortable saying “Merry Christmas” to anybody anyway.

*Ironically, the Christmas holiday was always a pagan-inspired holiday that had nothing to do with God and the Incarnation of God in Jesus. Therefore, nowhere in the now-defunct Christian Bible was there ever a reference to “Christmas.”

*To add insult to injury, the Pyramids that Joseph had used to store corn in biblical times collapsed the day that Christmas and Christianity in America went down–more of the Devil’s handiwork.

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