Screw Wisdom: The Profligacy of Solomon
Pastor Josh finally finished the fabulous and engaging series of sermons on the Jewish monarchy, which stretched through the summer like a featureless, steaming asphalt roadway across a New Mexico landscape, going someplace but who knows where and numbing the mind as it goes and goes and goes and goes. (Friend Josh is a regular reader, and I’ve had a great deal of fun explaining my thousand-yard-stare boredom about the Jewish kings.) In any event, the last sermon was entitled “God’s House,” or something like that, referring to the building of Solomon’s temple. (That’s one of the central images in Freemasonry, so I’m actually familiar with the accounts in I Kings.) Josh likened the temple to the Pilgrims’ meeting house, one of the first structures built in Massachusetts. Sorry, I disagree. The Pilgrims cut down a bunch of trees, and built a snug meeting house. Perhaps 50 guys were involved. As to the temple, to build a structure around 60 feet by 90 feet, THOUSANDS of artisans worked for years to build a perfect building with perfectly cut stone faced with perfectly fitted cedar and a sanctum sanctorum lined with gold where the High Priest went to chat up God once a year. Sorry, guys, this is Thorstein Veblin at work. My God doesn’t need a gold room or a temple that drains a substantial chunk of a nation’s resources. Not that the Jews were unique – At the Vatican, you could use the sanctuary at St. Peter’s to hanger a Zeppellin, but they still have nuns with bowls for contributions at the doors for visitors to throw money in. There’s lots of speculation about the wealth of the Catholic Church, but who cares? What we can SEE is disgustingly ornate and arrogant.
My issue with this sort of consumption is not confined to churches. Just so I can be sure to cover all the bases and piss off as many readers as possible, I consider the following to be of questionable judgment, ridiculous waste, silly posturing and often consumption to the point of immorality:
Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Maybachs, Lamborghinis, & Ferraris
Homes with more than 2000 square feet per occupant
Exotic animals kept caged
Hair transplants for men
Breast augmentation not related to medical need or injury
Fur in environments where it is not necessary to kill and skin the animal yourself to survive
Shotguns costing more than $2,500
Exotic hardwoods imported for construction from other continents
(Dissenting view: "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned . . ." James 5:9. I must have missed that sermon.)
Accuracy to Distraction
Dearest Doreen mentioned some weeks ago that she sets her clocks ahead a few minutes to “fool herself” and be sure that she is on time. That’s a concept that I don’t understand. If you have instruments, don’t you want them as accurate as possible? Mind you, I take this to extremes. At least once a week, I check and if necessary set my watch by the government’s atomic clock. (www.time.gov)
I Am Not Antique, Merely Unique
At Alice Polis’s funeral, I was talking to an old buddy. He told me that he had been to the Fire Museum in New York City, where they display antique fire and rescue apparatus and tools. One of the “antiques” displayed there was a Hurst Rescue Tool, a powered hydraulic machine that tears up and cuts up cars to get at trapped people. What annoys me is that we bought one NEW when they were FIRST introduced, and now the damn things are ANTIQUES?!?! I also remember 78 rpm records, 8 track tapes, manual typewriters, column shifters, bias ply tires, fender skirts, black dial phones owned by the only phone company that existed, Amos & Andy on the radio, and I can live with all that. But this Hurst Tool thing hurts.
I’m still going to Marietta as much as possible to see dear Friend Janese. One thing I’ve noticed over there is that the town still has some brick streets. This is an old town - founded in 1788. Brick streets make sense. Brick streets last MUCH longer than asphalt, and no petroleum is used in the composition of bricks. I wonder why we got away from brick streets.
Janese . . .
. . . continues to do poorly, on the one hand. On the other, she knows that no matter what happens corporeally, she still wins. She still needs love and touch and prayer, and I ask that for her.
Someone brought in a deed that I prepared 25 years ago. I was honestly pleased to see that it was good quality work.
One of Roger’s Handy Tips
To keep stuff from sliding around on the car dashboard, companies sell “special” mats which have a waffle pattern and stick real well to vinyl. They cost $10 or so for an 8" x 6" rectangle. However, they are made out of a material called “tool matting,” which is used by mechanics to line the drawers of the big professional tool chests you see in automotive repair places. (Mechanics invariably own their own hand tools.) You get tool matting at the auto parts place for $5 for a 3-foot roll. It’s sad that some bastard is working the fringe on this and overcharging people for mere repackaging and marketing.
Jesus Isn’t a Candidate - Get Used to It
In a recent issue of Reader’s Digest, there is an article about critical “swing” voters. The idea (which makes sense) is that McCain and Obama each have a solid core of people who would vote for them no matter who or what they got caught in bed with, so the campaigns are aimed at a small group. One voter said that he was waiting to see who would act more like Jesus. Jesus Christ, preserve us from such idiocy. You’ve got to be kidding me. Would Christ our Lord function in current government? I’m thinking that there would be a moneychangers-in-the-temple thing going on real quick. How about looking for leaders who aren’t motivated by money, who are honest (and one way you gauge that is by how often they tell you stuff that you don’t want to hear when they know that you don’t want to hear it), and who will actually READ the Constitution, some history, the Bible, and some science. Got news: Jesus ain’t running. (A recent book, American Savior, by Roland Merullo, is based on the premise that Jesus shows up and runs for president. It is a work of fiction.)
Bro. Dave and I have coffee at 8 AM most mornings in the café across from the courthouse. To indicate that she’s open, Jeri, the owner, hangs a happy sun-and-flower flag outside the doorway. That’s just such a positive thing.
I've a number of posts in the works. One now under way is about a local Marion County issue where county commissioners are openly pulling an arrogant political stunt that is genuinely upsetting. One is a friend with whom I was in Boy Scouts, and he is a genuinely nice fellow. This is sooooo uncharacteristic of him. The other is a public servant who has served honorably for sooooo many years, and this seems uncharacteristic of him, too. They are wrong this time. Unfortunately, in politics, seldom is anyone willing to say, "Darn, I was wrong, I'm sorry."