Aug 26, 2003

Warm Ginger Beer for the Cold Soul

Bizarre title today, I know. Hopefully it'll fit the topic. "Ginger beer," for those of you who don't know, is British for Ginger Ale, kind of like Foster's is Australian for beer. The phrase ginger beer has long held a special place in my heart (and now, after emptying a bottle of Canada Dry, takes up pretty much all my stomach), because of a children's book my mom read to me, I don't know the title, but it was written by a lady named E. Nesbit.
I will try to recreate it for you: there are several English school children on a hot sunny day, arriving in town to meet their parnets after a morning of running around the countryside. They're waiting at a bench, sweltering in the heat, in one of those hazy states where one can only think of the temperature and how to to cool down. After a period of silence, one of them comes up with a brilliant hypothesis: when dogs are hot, they stick their tongues out and pant, and that dogs always seem to be contented by doing this on a hot day. Therefore it must work the same way for humans. So they stick their tongues out and pant. This only produces bad results: they offend all the passersby, who do not understand that they are merely trying to cool off, and the sun dries their tongues and parches their throats.
The writer wrote this involvingly, as is evidenced by my remembering it out of all the books my mom read to me, and I was feeling about the same as those school children. So when one of them suggest buying some ginger beer, it sounded absolutely perfect, not only to them but to me. Now, as I drink my Canada Dry, I'm really drinking ginger beer with those English kids, getting refreshed in preparation for some more adventures.
But I didn't start a blog to talk about soda, I will move on to Today:
I'm about to go watch Clue, so I don't have much time. My thought, and it's a pleasant one today, is about relationship with God. It's triggered by watching the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton version of Taming of the Shrew, specifically the speech at the end about the role of husband and wife. You probably know the story: a man, Petruchio, sets out to marry and, once he's accomplished that, to tame Katerina, a bitter, angry and fiercely independent woman. To make a long story short, Petruchio succeeds. Towards the end of the play, Petruchio's returning to Katerina's hometown, where she is still famed for being a shrew. Petruchio's sitting at the table with a bunch of other guys who have been mocking him and cracking jokes about his wife. Confident in Katerina's obedience, he sets a wager of 100 crowns for whoever's wife comes the quickest. Two of the guys accept: Hortensio, husband of a rich older lady and Lucentio, a man who married for passionate love. Hortensio calls, and his wife sends back word that if he wants to talk to her, he better come to her. Lucentio calls, confident in his love's devotion, but receives word from her that she is busy talking to the other ladies and will come later. Then, Petruchio summons, and Katerina comes immediately, pulling the rebellious wives with her. She then launches into a speech, rejoicing in service to her husband. Here's my favorite excerpt:
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;

I bet that makes the NOW ladies happy. I'm guessing they would have two major objections: men are unreliable, and women should be able to be completely indepedent and do all the things that men unjustly have a copyright on. I'll talk to you NOW ladies later, but for now (har har) I'm thinking about how perfect a picture of service this is. In the movie, you see Katerina, who's been raging the whole movie, turn that energy into heartfelt devotion to Petruchio. Then you see the pleasure this brings to Petruchio. I don't know when exactly it hit me, but I got to thinking about that in the context of God and man (or humanity for all you NOW ladies), and it felt right. Think of God as Petruchio, Katerina as man-and-womankind. That speech coming out of my mouth directed at God. The love that was in Katerina's eyes when she gives this speech is just the kind of love God asks of us I think. Loving service.
I'll let you and me stew on that until the next post, should be in at most a few days, when I'll go into more detail. The whole play is really good for that kind of analogy. Also next post will include some of my venting about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, which, you might say, irritated me a mite. Just a snapshot of my feelings: arrrrrrrgggghhhhhhh, a preachy movie with no real morality to preach about, ggrrrrrr arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Also in the future is the God: He Brews A Better Cup.

He is good, God bless you,
Sam L.

Aug 19, 2003

The real is better than the imagined.

Buenos dias, bonjour, guten tag, jambo, heydo (or whatever it is in swedish), and hello. It's a good day today, worth celebrating with an entry in my blog.

Today's subject: just look at the title.

The real is better than the imagined, huh? Sounds like some more philosophy, which actually isn't in my blog description. I'm sorry, I'm not feeling the love for either politics, my stories or even the Celtics right now, so they're going to have to simmer on the backburner for now. As for topic #1, God's in everything so I don't really have to worry about that: it's impossible not to talk about Him. So, the Garbage Man returns...
Bla bla bla, who gives a rip about philosophy anyways. I'll try to do it without the high and mighty intellectual air. Here's the idea: fantasy is free, but the real thing is worth fighting for. Very simple, very obvious, but completely impractical. I'll put it on a motivational poster.
Practical (or maybe impractical) examples:
1. You (when I say you I'm generally talking about myself) meet a girl, you start wondering, "Is she El Uno, L'Un, Der Ein, The One?" You weigh the pros and cons, you contrast her with all the other girls in your life, and pretty soon, instead of just a girl, you've got this... um... (words are failing me (as they never should a writer, but my words are stubborn and rebellious children who are reluctant to come when called))... vast constellation of hopes, fears and expectations hovering over the girl whenever you talk to her, or even think of her. I hate that!
2. You've got a Looming Obstacle (L.O., for I to abbreviate stuff): some dreaded event, relationship, job, phase of life, etc. that looms (what else?) over you, clouding your view of the future. I can't just ignore this, you say to yourself, so you try to overcome your dread, by painting a vivid picture of the L.O. in your mind and then spending half your waking moments , analyzing and living it out. Haha, good luck. The day before your L.O. you'll be completely deluded.
On a serious note, I think 1 was genuine enough to carry over to the next edition of the Garbage Man, but on 2 my tiredness and writer's block started kicking in and I'm not sure what to make of it.
Before I close, I want to mention that I've been thinking more about Hebrews and it makes more sense, but it'll be a little bit before I can write clearly about it. The same goes for this post, actually, but it's a little less serious so I should be able to get through it easier.
A toast: I toast to clear thinking, though not while beer drinking; I wish I could be more serious, but tiredness has left me delirious; here's to the future, when my ramblings will better suit yer..... needs; and yes this rhyme is just awful, like that Arab dish falafel; and dear goodness gracious, I'm hoping it ain't contagious.
God bless you all
Sam L.

Aug 13, 2003

Well, well, welcome to the Garbage Man. We'll begin with a definition of terms:
Garbage Man: me. Not to be confused with a superhero, the name is derived from the only short story I've ever completed. The Garbage Man was a day-dreamer, one of those guys who shuffles around with his hands in his pockets and his head in the clouds. To suit that lifestyle, his job was picking up litter around town, freeing his brain to devote itself fully to the imaginary worlds he created. Anyhow that story crashed and burned soon after its conception and hopefully will not have to be mentioned again for the duration of this blog.
On to the actual topics you'll see discussed here at TGM. Most pressing on my mind today is the nature of God. If you spend anytime here, chances are that musings on His nature will occupy most of my writings in one form or another.
Beyond that, you're guess is as good as mine. I'm in the hub of the gubernatorial recall in Sacramento, so count on hearing about some politics, some good candidates for Governor, and the reasons for all of California's problems (yes, we do have problems in California).
My story ideas are also going to be popping their unsightly little heads in here as many times as I can muster them. Depends on my mood ,or maybe what I had for breakfast that morning, but it could be science fiction, fantasy, a mystery, a romance, a soap opera, or all of the above on a given day.

As for today:

I've been reading through Hebrews and just recently it's been pounding me over the head. If the books of the Bible were cups of coffee (after all, He brews), then hebrews would be from a really strong batch, not quite tamed by the cream and sugar. The bitterness of black coffee is God's wrath, the milk and sugar are God's mercies, which I guess makes sweet 'n' low and sugar substitutes heresies. The bitterness of His wrath and the richness and sweetness of His mercy go perfectly together. Hey, it sounds like feel-good pop Christianity, but keep reading, I'll put it in context.
Two passages that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and an uneasy churning in my gut were 6:4-6 and 10:26-29. They speak of falling away from Christianity and its irreparably fatal consequences. The scenario in 26-29 is dovetailed with the falling into the hands of the living God bit, a key verse in Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon, which always draws a heavy shudder when you're thinking about it from a wrath perspective. These verses bug me, because it's the side of God that I don't want to see facing towards me, or my friends, or anyone.
Of course my devious brain started exploring the most frightening scenarios and putting me and my friends in them. My view of God was distorting: the merciful lover that I usually cling to in my mind's eye was taking on terrible new forms. One of the worst things was the vagueness: my ideas and thoughts of God were getting picked up in this fearful, doubting whirlpool. A mind trap, I get caught in them from time to time, usually when I'm unsure of something, alone in the dark or in some unstable frame of mind. I said a prayer asking God to grant me some understanding, and left the maelstrom behind me for the night.
Let's just say thinking on the issue during the day has helped a lot. Ever heard the verse, work out your salvation with fear and trembling? We are loved by a fearsome God with a passion for vengeance and a hatred for evil. Without the sacrifice of Jesus, I would be walking down a road that would end under the crushing fist of God. Is that not worth trembling over?
A need to ponder things further and a body sore from sitting too long, even in my cushy office chair, necessitates the abrupt halt of this post.
Maybe I can end this like all those Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, where they give a bunch of alternate titles for the next adventure. THE ADVENTURES OF THE GARBAGE MAN WILL RETURN....... STAY TUNED FOR: " God: He Brews A Better Cup" or "The Devil: He-brews-ed my heel, I'll crush his head."
-go with God,
Sam L