Category Archives: My Thoughts

Funny How Your Philosophy of Life Changes (and Some Music Videos)

So much of my high school life seems to bring back memories of music. Like I mentioned in an earlier post (also with a music video) the song Brandy by Looking Glass always brings back memories of summer and the vision of a deep tan, the smell of coconut oil and a strawberry scented shampoo one young lady used that was kind enough to let me snuggle up against her and sniff her hair (and we'll stop that thread right there).

I remember Neil Young and Crazy Horse released the album Live Rust and one of the songs, Hey Hey, My My, got a lot of airplay. I loved the one line from it, "It's better to burn out, than it is to rust" and for a long time that seemed to be my philosophy of life, despite at least one person telling me that as far as a credo went, they didn't think much of it (and if you're reading this you know who you are).

As an older man now, and one who has a great deal of rust developing from the early years, I find that my philosophy has changed quite a bit.

I bought a Warren Zevon MP3 album (Life'll Kill You) not too long ago, one I had when I was a long time ago, and was amazed to find a song on it that I didn't remember and that seemed more fitting now that the rust has set in. It brings to mind not so much a rebellious young life but rather one that has resulted in a lot of experiences and wrecks (in a lot of ways) and facing getting old and things not working the same as they used to. I'm putting the YouTube video below but it is NSFW as far as sound so if you're listening to it around a bunch of prudes, turn it down or slip in the earbuds.

 

My New Love – Hot Buttered Rum!

I really don't drink a lot but when I find something new and different I really enjoy it.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching the movie Northwest Passage with Spencer Tracy and, even though I've seen it a number of time, I finally realized that the drink he mixed up in the tavern was a Hot Buttered Rum. I've never had one and so decided to try it.

Essentially, the recipe is:

2 oz dark rum – I use Myers and it's okay to err on the side of more rum

1 pat of butter

1 tablespoon of brown sugar (I used dark)

1 tablespoon of regular sugar

1 teaspoon of apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (whichever you prefer)

Hot water (to taste)

Basically you put all of the ingredients except the water into a mug and stir them up then add hot water to the desired level

That's it!

It is warming, comforting and tastes incredible, perfect for this time of the year. And this is coming from someone who thinks cocktail means you add a few drops of water to the Scotch, a couple of ice cubes to Bourbon, or an olive in the Martini!

If you try it, let me know what you think.

Redundancy and Handling Snakes

As usual, while I work I've got something playing on the second monitor and just listening to it while I work. Sometimes it's music, sometimes YouTube, this time it happened to be Netflix and the only season of the show Snake Salvation.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Snake Salvation was a National Geographic series about two churches in Appalachia where Snake Handling is practiced. 

Wikipedia says this about the belief:

Snake handling, also called serpent handling, is a religious ritual in a small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S., usually characterized as rural and part of the Holiness movement. The practice began in the early 20th century in Appalachia, and plays only a small part in the church service. Practitioners believe serpent handling dates to antiquity and quote the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke to support the practice:

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

Another passage from the New Testament used to support snake handlers' belief is Acts 28:1-6, which relates that Paul was bitten by a venomous viper and suffered no harm:

And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

I'm a firm believer in everybody being able to worship, or not worship, as they see fit and while I can't see myself ever voluntarily picking up a snake, much less a Rattlesnake or Copperhead, I don't see that practice as being any more unbelievable than some things others do or want done in the name of their beliefs.

But I digress…

In this particular episode Pastor Jamie Coots and his son Cody had went on a snake hunting trip so he could barter them and clear a debt to a snake salesman (who knew there was such a thing) he'd purchased from in the past.

Then Cody said something that struck me as being both redundant and a lot about how a different viewpoint really changed the way something was perceived:

"The more you do for him [God], the more he'll do for you. God worked it out to where we got all the snakes we needed and everybody was happy."

I immediately thought right then, "I don't have any snakes at all and still have all I need."

Redundancy and in the eyes of the beholder.

By the way, the reason there was only season of Snake Salvation was because Pastor Jamie Coots was bitten by a snake he was handling and died before the next season was filmed. After being bitten he refused medical treatment because of his beliefs. I don't say this in a mocking way because he stood by his convictions and carried them through to the end. While I may disagree with what he believed, that doesn't mean I'm right or he wasn't right and I have to respect that he believed even in light of what happened.

When Snake Salvation became available on Netflix I happened to be right in the middle of reading a book on the practice, thinking it might play a part in one of my books one day. I'm still pretty sure that I'd like to visit one of the churches and see a service although my wife indicated that might be a trip I'd take by myself.

 

Oh Muse, Where Are Thou?

I saw one of my Facebook friends, an English writer named Ian Woodhead (great horror stories) mention the other day how grateful he was that his muse had returned and I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Sometimes when you write it is easy. When I'm working on my Noah Chance series I always refer to it as Noah, Spencer and Jennifer coming to visit, and when they do the words just flow. The story goes in directions I didn't anticipate and when finish for the day I'm always surprised at how much I've done.

At other times I know it is me writing because each word is forcibly pulled from my mind and placed onto the screen. I find myself distracted easily, getting up to make multiple trips around the house, checking the mail, making a snack or something to drink, anything to keep from having to put the next word/sentence/chapter into the program.

It's not that I don't like writing when it's like that, it's just that it isn't as much fun! I find myself having to think about things, plot out what's going to happen, what my characters are going to say, and what to name the new guy in the book. Not so when the muse is present, everything just leaps forth.

The book I am working on now (mostly) Louisiana, should be easy for me because I love the topic, love my home state, and have read and studied it so much I shouldn't have any problems.

I think one issue is that when you're writing a novel that spans several hundred years and spread out across an entire state, you just start getting to know a character when it's time to leave them and move on so they never really get to do the writing for you.

Lesson learned!

I'll put an ad on Craiglist for any unemployed muses and hopefully one will show up. A good one, not prone to disappearing for weeks at a time and one that likes my topics and doesn't try to distract me into writing something else.

Hope it works! My self imposed middle of May deadline for this book is rapidly approaching.