Wings? Who needs ‘em?

I remember hearing the saying: If God wanted us to fly he would have given us wings. Really? Are we supposed to remain grounded because God didn’t give us physical wings to fly with? It’s a ludicrous assumption that’s proven wrong thousands of times a day. Yet, it’s indicative of a lot of religious thought.

Just ask Galileo. He went up against the church with actual proof the earth wasn’t the center of the solar system and was put under house arrest and told not to speak of it. Religious belief and scientific reasoning are often at odds with each other. But they don’t need to be. We pick and choose our beliefs from the Holy Bible all the time. Take the Sabbath for example.

Jews and some other religions celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. Protestant and Catholics on Sunday. Does it make a difference which day? I don’t think so, but thousands have died over it. The Bible is considered the inspired word of God. As the word of God was interpreted over two thousand years ago. Imagine how different the Bible would read if people were writing it today?

Whether you believe God made Adam from mud. Or, we evolved using natural selection, the outcome is the same. We are human. Our brain gives us the ability to think, reason, learn and adapt. Abilities that are much older than any of the writings in the Bible. The Bible wouldn’t even exist if we didn’t have them. We also couldn’t fly.

The Donald Trump Plague

President Trump’s supporters have never embraced science. The eschew education, and don’t base their beliefs on fact. Well, at least not accepted facts, they have alternate facts. Or, like a religion, they just believe, what they believe..

Because of this, and Mr. Trumps refusal to accept that the Coronavirus was going to be dangerous he made things worse. However, like most of his boneheaded decisions a large number of America and his supporters don’t care. Like George Carlin said. “Imagine how dumb the average American is. Now, realize half of them are even dumber.”

Have you ever heard of the movie, Idiocracy? This is what Wikipedia says about it: Idiocracy is a 2006 American science fiction comedy film directed by Mike Judge, who co-wrote it with Etan Cohen. Starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph and Dax Shepard, it tells the story of Joe Bauers (Wilson), an American soldier who takes part in a classified military human hibernation experiment, only to accidentally awaken 500 years later in a dystopian society, in which commercialism has run rampant, and mankind has embraced anti-intellectualism and is devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights.

Does this sound familiar? When the American people start criticizing a free press and embracing “Fake News,” how much longer will it take before the country starts to rot from the inside out? This is why those of us interested in truth, thinking for ourselves and learning, need to band together to vote Mr. Trump and his supporters out.

This also means we need to boycott Mr. Trump’s supporters. The first question you should ask before going into a local business is if the owner supports Mr. Trump. If they do, leave. This is also true if the business is owned by an Evangelical Christian. Do not support these people! Their beliefs are ruining this country.

It’s sad to say it’s had to come to this. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Zoe MD ( Medical Doggy ) and The Big Sickness

Zoe MD ( Medical Doggy ) checked the messages on her cellphone. “Hmm,” she said. “There are a lot of worried children.” She turned to her assistant, Daisy Wiener Dog. “Some of the children are frightened, Daisy. They don’t know what’s happening. All they know is they can’t go to school and some of their parents can’t go to work. They’re not sure what they should do.”

Daisy Wiener Dog looked at the newspaper. “It’s a scary time for everyone, Zoe.”

Zoe opened her Big Book of Knowledge. “My book says the important thing for children to remember is their Mommies and Daddies love them. It also says they need to sing Happy Birthday when they wash their hands with warm water and soap.”

“Oh, Zoe,” said Daisy. “Why do children need to sing Happy Birthday?”

“My Big Book of Knowledge says that’s how long it takes to make sure their hands are really clean. Plus it’s fun.” Zoe smiled. “But they can’t just wash their hands once.”

“They can’t?” Daisy replied.

“No, they have to wash them after they touch things. Especially, things other people have touched; they shouldn’t touch their face or eyes either.”

“That doesn’t sound too hard,” Daisy Wiener Dog answered. “Is that all children need to do?”

Zoe shook her head. “No. Children also need to stay away from people who are sick. But their Mommies and Daddies can help them with that.”

“Is that all the Mommies and Daddies have to do?”

“I’m afraid not. This is a hard time for Mommies and Daddies too, Daisy. Mommies and Daddies need to keep informed and ask for help when they need it.”

Daisy’s eyes got big. “Mommies and Daddies need to ask for help? I didn’t know Mommies and Daddies needed help?”

“That’s what my book says,” Zoe answered. “It says everyone needs help, sometimes.”

“Does your book say when things will get better?”

Zoe shook her head. “I’m afraid not, Daisy. All it says is that there are a lot of people working to make the sickness go away.”

“That’s good, isn’t it, Zoe?” said Daisy.

“Yes, the smartest men and women in the world are working on the sickness. It just takes time. You and I are going to work on the sickness too, Daisy.”

“You and I, Zoe?”

“Yes, I am a Medical Doggy, after all, and I do have a Big Book of Knowledge. I bet with our help the sickness will go away even faster.”

Prologue

Hedwig van Sweiten fastened the end of her long blond braid with a blue ribbon and walked to her bedroom window. She stared out at the dark rainy city of Wien, Vienna, and felt a chill run down her spine. This doesn’t feel right, it’s like I’m not supposed to be here. I remember a young man name Alexander, and a specter with red eyes. I thought it killed me. She shook her head and went back to her dressing table. I guess it was only a dream.

Glass shattered and wood splintered. She spun. The window was nothing but a jagged hole, and a huge wolf with glowing red eyes bounded toward her. Her hand flashed up and blocked it, she twirled and kicked it to the side. The wolf slammed into the wall and sprang back. She punched it in the head and knocked it to the ground. It shook its head, jumped to its feet and glared at her.

Hedy glared back. “Let me guess, Satan sent you? The wolf’s eyes twitched, it exploded off the floor and snapped at her face. She caught it by the throat and threw it back toward the broken window.

“Donner, Blitz, come, I need you.” Nails clattered against wood and two miniature dachshunds appeared at her ankles. One was red with a white lightning shaped slash on it’s chest. The other, black and tan. She pointed. “Get him out of here.” They touched noses, their eyes glowed blue and they charged.

The wolf licked it’s lips.

A bolt of lightning arced from Blitz’s jaws and dropped it in its tracks. Hedy smelled singed fur, and smiled. She went to her schrank, wardrobe, took out an ankle length blue dress and a pair of low healed black boots with brass buckles.

“Are you alright?” Sister Adelbert, Hedwig’s quasi chaperone called through a gap in the door

“I’m fine Sister,” she stepped into the dress. “There’s a giant wolf in here so don’t come in, Donner and Blitz are just getting rid of it.” She put her arms in the sleeves and turned back to the hound from Hell. “This is your last chance. Leave now, or we’ll hunt you down and hand you back to Satan as a pelt.”

The wolf’s eyes shifted from Hedy, to Donner, to Blitz and back again. She raised an eyebrow and shook her head. The wolf lunged. Lightning shot from Blitz’s jaws and thunder roared from Donner’s. They blasted it out the side of the house like a cannonball.

Hedy closed the curtains.“You can come in now Sister. The wolf’s gone.” She bent down and pet both dogs on the head. “Good boys.”

The nun came in carrying a small lantern wearing her robe, a tight fitting night cap and slippers. “Just look at this mess! First it was demons from Hell, now giant wolves. You certainly have some strange visitors.” She walked to the window, pulled the curtains back and shook her head. I’ll clean this up and fetch the carpenters in the morning. Are you going out?”

“I’m afraid so. Would you please fasten the back of my dress. The boys and I have to find the wolf. I gave him a chance to go back to Hell on his own. Now, it looks like I’m going to have to deliver him to Satan in person.”

Hedy moved her long braid to the side and Sister fastened the buttons. She pulled on her boots and threw a blue wool hooded cloak over her shoulders. “Come on boy’s. I want to catch that beast before he does anymore damage.”

“Take care Freiin van Sweiten. You’re not invincible.”

“I know, Sister.”

Hedy took the lantern from her and guided them through the dark house to the back door.

Her eyes darted to the older womans. “We should be back before dawn.”

“I’ll have hot coffee and fresh rolls with butter when you return. I’ll have breakfast for your doggies, too.”

Hedy stepped into the darkness.

Lantern light flickered on the nun’s face. “God be with you.”

“Thank you. We’ll be careful.” She glanced at her dachshunds. “Ok boys, find that wolf!” The little dogs sniffed the air, touched noses and ran toward the courtyard gate. Hedy pulled her hood up and followed.

The moon glowed in the cloudy sky and angels swooped in like giant birds. They perched on rooftops and watched through windows as their earthly charges slept. Some carried the souls of the poor and innocent to their final reward. Others, the rich and worldly pleading for mercy and begging forgiveness.

Donner and Blitz slowed to a walk. The angels are busy tonight. Hedy shook her head. To most fräulein this would seem impossible. But it’s normal to me.

She pressed her hand against Saint Quiteria’s relic. How many 18 year old girls can talk to God? Well, I guess anyone can talk to You, but how many do You answer back? She took a few steps. And how many have a relic that lets them see angels, or allows them to channel Your limitless power?

It’s all because my Mutter, chose to trade her life for my destiny. I guess I got to choose, too. But, You already knew what my answer would be, didn’t you? She sighed, and looked up at the cloudy sky. I don’t think I’d have been happy being ordinary, anyway. I’m not a saint. I’m just the girl You chose to save the human race. The howl of a wolf echoed in the darkness and Donner and Blitz started to run. Here I go again.

Hedy and the dogs ran through the dark rain soaked streets of Wien. They ran past demons scurrying in the shadows. They ran past The House Under the Blue Bottle, Hedy’s favorite coffeehouse. They ran until the streets opened into a wide square, at its end, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral.

Stephansdom was a huge Gothic and Romanesque style church. It’s roof was covered with colorful tiles arranged in wild designs and patterns, and its soaring south tower the tallest object in the city. As Hedy watched, the sky cleared and moonlight so bright it cast pale shadows illuminated everything in front of her. Mist rose from the paving stones, and Lucifer and the giant wolf stepped from the shadows.

She lowered her hood. “Here we go. You boys keep your eyes on the wolf. I’ll concentrate on that bastard, Satan.” She pinched her cheeks, put a smile on her face and walked out into the moonlight.

Her footsteps filled the square and echoed off the silent buildings. Hedy looked straight ahead and didn’t say a word until she was staring into Lucifer’s dead, black eyes. “They say your name means bringer of light, or Venus the morning star. You’re as handsome as I remember.” Her eyes traveled over his exquisitely tailored black suit, frilly white shirt, crimson waistcoat and handkerchief. She focused back on his eyes. “But then again, looks are so superficial.”

He sneered. “You’ve grown up.”

“You haven’t seen me in a few years. Not since you and your lackey Azazel tried to molest me.” She pointed at the wolf. “ I see you found your dog.” Her blue eyes hardened. “Next time, why don’t you just knock. I don’t like having to cleanup your messes.”

He laughed. “There won’t be a next time, you’re mine now. So are they.” He swept his arm, the reality of Wien disappeared and she was standing in the Throne room of Hell. Suspended by chains shackled to their arms over a hoard of writhing rats hung her Vater Gottfried, Stepmother Maria, Godfather and mentor Pfarrer Schaaf and her fiancé Alexander.

Hedy gasped. “How?”

Lucifer motioned with his finger and Manfred’s specter walked into the blood red torchlight. “I believe you two have already met.”

Hedy raised her arm and sent a stream of searing white light coursing toward it. The specter burst into flames and disappeared in a flash of smoke. She shifted the beam of light and turned the rats to charcoal. Hedy twirled, slammed Lucifer in the face with a right cross and kneed him in the groin. The wolf charged and Donner and Blitz attacked.

Blitz’s lightning burned her clothes and singed her hair. Donner’s thunder knocked her to the icy ground. She scrambled to her feet and blasted Lucifer with heavenly light. He screamed in pain and she ran to where her loved ones were suspended. Hedy freed each of them and caught them as they dropped. “Stay behind me. Donner, Blitz, cover our back, we’re getting out of here.”

Everything stopped. All Hedy could move was her face. Satan rose to his feet and walked toward her. He didn’t look happy. “You can’t usurp the power of Satan. Not in Hell!” He twitched an eyebrow.

Hedy felt like the inside of her body was burning. Lucifer leered at her and the pain got worse. “You’re mine now, Hedwig. You’re mine for all eternity.” He ogled her exposed legs and torn bodice. “I am really going to enjoy that.”

Hedy willed her eyes to meet his and using every bit of strength, spit in his eye.

Lucifer wiped away the spittle and a look of rage spread across his face. “You shouldn’t have done that!”

Hedy swallowed hard and braced herself to face Satan’s wrath. At least I’ll go down fighting.

A voice yelled, “Stop!”

Lucifer spun. “Who said that?”

Saint Quiteria walked into the light. “I did!”

“How did you get here? You have no right to be here.”

A female dressed in rags with wild unkempt hair walked over beside her. “I brought her!” Christina the Astonishing walked up to Hedwig, touched her cheek and whispered in her ear, “Remember, my dear you have friends in high places.”

She turned to Satan with flashing eyes. “This is for you!” She held out a scroll and shook her head and fanned her nose. “Wow, you stink!”

“What is this?”

Christina The Astonishing smirked. “You can’t read? Or, are you just stupid?”

Satan looked at the seal. “From, Him?”

Quiteria stepped forward. “Of course it’s from Him. Do you think we’d deliver a message from just anybody?”

Lucifer pulled the seal loose and scanned the scroll. His eyes flicked to the two saints. “Is this for real?”

“It’s straight from The Most High and Mighty One,” Christina replied.

Lucifer turned to Hedy. Her clothes were in tatters, her bare legs visible to the thigh and her long blond hair singed short. “He wants me to give you a second chance. All you have to do to get it is defeat me.” He laughed. “Ok, I’ll play His little game.” He stared into Hedy’s bloodshot blue eyes. “What do you say girl? It’s all or nothing. Are you up to it?”

Hedy twisted her head and looked at the saints. She turned to her Vater, Maria, Alexander and Pfarrer Schaaf. They all looked scared except for Pfarrer Schaaf, his eyes were smiling. She wrinkled her forehead. What do you know that I don’t, Herr Pfarrer.

She straightened her back, thrust out her chest and looked the Devil in the eye. “I’ll take that challenge! If you win, me and everyone I love will be yours forever.” Her eyes bored into his. “But if I win, you’ll never bother any of us again.” She stuck her hand out. “Is it a deal?”

Lucifer smiled and grabbed it. “I accept. When do you want to begin?”

Hedy’s clothes and hair returned to normal and her blue eyes sparkled. “Right now. It begins right now!”

Hedwig’s Adventures in the Great Beyond

We’re all gonna end up at Larry’s

On a dark and noisy night back in 1990 the scourge of my youth became the savior of my sanity. Picture it. I’m alone, young, and relatively inexperienced. None of the usual procedures were having any effect. Hungry, no. Thirsty, no. Diaper, surprisingly no. Rocking useless, threats pointless my daughter was only 15 months old after all. Nothing I did made made any difference. She would not stop screaming.

In desperation I turned to the boob tube, television, the babysitter of millions. I clicked up through the stations on the Magnavox console one at a time. Each click another nail in the coffin of hope. With only one station left I up channeled to UHF 68. My daughter inhaled, gasped a few times then finally succumbed to the rhythmic melodies of Lawrence Welk and the Champagne Music Makers.

Lawrence and I go way back. Back to Serutan, Geritol and the Kimball and Baldwin placards on his pianos and organs. Some of my earliest memories are interactions with my paternal grandparents as they watched his program. Fifty plus years later I can still remember them telling me to be quiet, or go out and play. I don’t think they gave a hoot where. I could have been playing in the middle of the street. It was Lawrence Welk time.

They loved Lawrence so much they wanted to sell their house and move to Lawrence Welk Village Mobile Home Park in Escondido, California. Bobby and Sissy, Norma Zimmer and Jimmy Roberts were considered personal friends. So were Jo Ann Castle, Larry Hooper, Irish crooner Joe Feeney and Arthur Duncan the black tap dancer. How Lawrence got away with that stereotype I do not know. My grandma was suspicious of Guy and Ralna, though. She thought they were just to lovey dovey to be real. She was right. They divorced in 1984.

My mother just turned 89. For the better part of her life she watched whatever we kids or my dad wanted to watch. I don’t think she ever touched the remote except to move it to dust. The Lawrence Welk Show was not a big deal to her. But it is now! She and the other ladies at the retirement center are religious viewers. We don’t even bother to call or visit while it’s on. I learned my lesson a long time ago.

Mom’s conversion got me thinking. If I live long enough will I fall prey to the siren’s song of the Lawrence Welk Show? I’m a Rock and Roll guy. Remember New Wave? Buggles, Video killed the Radio Star? Hey I helped them! I was all MTV, narrow ties, Blondie, The Go Go’s even the Talking Heads. Certainly I’m immune.

But am I? Will I look back on the Saturday nights of my youth when Lawrence and his musical family came to visit and ask them to stay? Somehow I already know the answer. If my mother is any indication I believe one day we will all end up at Larry’s.

Dad Said

Les Paul and Mary Ford played on my Pandora Station the other day. How High The Moon. Dad used to listen to them on his old 78 rpm records when I was a kid. They were cutting edge for their day. Multitrack recording. One guitar could sound like a hundred, one voice a choir. Ole’ Les invented the solid body electric guitar. That’s what Dad said.

Turns out the military used multitrack recording before he did. They used it with Sonar. I’m not sure what they did with it, but they used it. Les Paul did invent the solid body electric guitar. He invented Mary Ford, too. Her real name was Colleen. They married in 1949 and divorced in 1964.

When I was a kid Dad was a Disc Jockey. That was back when Disc Jockeys were really something. He told me you had to have at least a months notice when you did a remote broadcast. You needed to call the Bell Telephone Company and have them install a separate phone line.

Dad said there was a radio station whose local High School Basket Ball Team went to the State Championship. The owner wanted to do a remote broadcast but the designated phone line would be too expensive. Dad said the owner wondered if he could hook all the barbwire fences between the radio station and the state capital together and use that instead of a phone line. Dad said it was an interesting idea. Sometimes when I can’t think of a solution to a problem I think about that idea. Sometimes, you just need to think differently to find the answer.

Dad said he had certain records he’d play when he had to use the bathroom. Dad said he had them timed down to the second. Dad said he liked to put on Ernest Tubb singing Waltz Across Texas and sing along with him. Dad said anyone can sing along with Ernest Tubb singing Waltz Across Texas. He was right.

Dad used to make flying ducks out of cedar. He’d sand them smooth and finish them with Kiwi Shoe Polish. My brother has a portable fireplace he burns to stay warm on Halloween Night. We found one in an old box of wood scraps and put it on the fire and drank a toast to him. Dad would have liked that.

Dad died four years ago on February 13th. He chose to use Hospice and I had plenty of time to say goodbye. Dad said he wasn’t perfect. Dad said he made a lot of mistakes. He was right. But that’s not the point, really. We all make mistakes and nobody’s perfect. But Dad said anyone could sing along with Ernest Tubb. And Dad played Les Paul and Mary Ford, even though her real name was Colleen. So I’ll play them both and think about what Dad said, and remember.

Christmas in a divided Country

It’s Christmas in a divided country and even Gods been called on to take sides

But Jesus was born to save us all from sin

Our political beliefs don’t apply

Loving God with all thy heart

And your neighbor as yourself

Is where we need to start

So stop what you’re doing to keep us apart

And live by the Golden Rule

You can’t keep Christ in Christmas

Without keeping Christmas in you heart