Monday, November 10, 2014

Bye Bye Birdies

If you’ve read my little book, Wry Bread, then you already know me to be a man of exceptional courage.  Those exceptions include bears, sharks, wolves, high school principals, feisty aunts, Godzilla and any other real or fictitious creature which may inadvertently (or advertently) bring me harm.  Some throw caution to the wind (and when you think about it, we’ve never been offered another place to throw it) and do things like attend Yankee games, as if they had never heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  But it’s not through such recklessness that I’m just one day shy of reaching the ripe old age at which, as I was told by my high school mentors John and Paul, every summer Donna and I can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight (if it’s not too dear) with Vera, Chuck and Dave on her knee.  In high school it didn’t seem preposterous that at sixty-four we could put three grandchildren on one knee.  This snake adventure highlights the caution that has served me so well yea these many years.

It was a warm evening in early summer; the Katydids were chattering and the lightening bugs flashing---wait, maybe they weren’t.  I can’t remember now.  But I remember I happened to look out our large front picture window and see a long black something on our white porch railing.  (Why we call it a picture window, I don’t know, as there’s no picture on it---I just checked to make sure.  All I could find is an ADT™ sticker left by the last occupant.  I suppose I should have removed the sticker sometime in the past ten years, since ADT™ has never received a dime from us to protect our home, but as I didn’t put the sticker on there, I felt no constraint to take it off.  The only person it might mislead is one intending to rob us, or one trying to sell us a home-security system, and I have little sympathy for either of those fellows, who, now that I think of it, may in fact be the same fellow.  The ADT™ sticker really has nothing to do with the story, so why don’t we just move on?  We’re almost at the snake part.  We’d have been there a lot sooner if not for the sticker, but remember, I’m not the one who put it on the window.)  

You’ve probably guessed by now that the long black something on our white porch railing was----a dog leash.  Wrong.  It was a snake.  Don’t you remember when I called this a snake story?  Not only was it a snake, and black, but it was a Black Snake, which makes it doubly black and doubly snake-ish.  He or she was about 3 feet long, and about two inches in diameter, and shall be referred to hence as “it.”  It seemed to have an inordinate interest in the small cylindrical wooden birdhouse hanging from the porch roof support, about two and a half feet above said snake.  You may have already deduced, from the snake’s interest, that the birdhouse was occupied by a family of-----dog leashes.  Wrong again!   It was occupied by a family of birds, including several recently hatched chicks.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ivan The Terrible


The following item appeared in our newspaper last week:
“On this date in 1547, Ivan IV of Russia, popularly known as ‘Ivan the Terrible,’ was crowned Czar.”

This got me wondering:  Just how dreadful must the other candidates have been, if the man popularly known as ‘Ivan the Terrible’ was crowned Czar? Then I discovered a rare transcript of the Czar Search Committee from early 1547.

“Thank you all for coming.  Let us get right to the point.  Vlad the Horrendous, you have many qualities we were looking for in a leader.  But I’m afraid the committee has decided to go in a different direction.  With so many ruthless applicants, we hope you understand our dilemma. Sergei the Atrocious, you were under serious consideration, as were you, Igor the Malodorus.  All in Russia have heard of your great exploits, and of the Cossack town, Slovitch the Serene, known since your visit as Slovitch the Smoldering;  surely never again will any innkeeper be so imprudent as to suggest that you and your men should ‘sleep with the pigs.’   The decision we announce today should not be understood as disparaging your capacity for pillaging and plundering.  Keep up the---ah, work.  I must say, Pavel the Appalling, the committee was impressed with your collection of Polish toes, until one member pointed out that it is impossible to determine if, as you say, they were cut off the unfortunate peasants following your sacking of a defenseless town, or they simply reflect natural Siberian-winter toe-loss.  Dimitri the Despicable, and Nicolai the Nefarious, we love the alliteration; but although we have no reason to doubt your claim to be scoundrels of the baser sort, we were unable to verify any truly heinous acts ascribed to you.” 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kindling Interest in Wry Bread

As readers of Little Loaves may know, several months ago I compiled the stories I had written up to that point into a book format, and self-published them as an E-book on Amazon.com. You can see it by going to the Amazon site, clicking Kindle Books, and searching for Wry Bread.  Since then, the book has far exceeded all expectations.  (This was not hard to do, in that no one expected it to sell any copies.)  Having persuaded, cajoled and shamed several family members and friends into paying for the stories they could otherwise read for free here at Little Loaves, sales of Wry Bread have plateaued at about 30.  Let me emphasize, that's thirtynot thirty thousand.  I guess I was hoping that those who read it might give it positive reviews and recommend it to others, and maybe a publisher would see it, like it and offer to publish it the old fashioned way, with paper and ink.

To build interest and sales, Amazon recommends placing your book in their lending library. This permits people to borrow it, read and review it, and Amazon claims it ultimately increases sales.  The catch is, in order to place your Kindle book in the lending library, it can't be available in electronic form anywhere else.  Of course, all my Wry Bread stories have been available on the Little Loaves web site, and I have been reluctant to remove them. But in the hope that it might eventually lead to a wider audience for my stories, reaching believers and non-believers with both a bit of humor and snippets of Biblical truth, I've decided to (at least temporarily) remove from this site some of my older Wry Bread articles, so I can, in good conscience, place the Wry Bread book in the Amazon lending library, knowing it is not available as a compilation of stories anywhere else. 

Hopefully, you Little Loaves veterans have already read all the older Wry Bread stories that interested you, so it won't bother you that some of the older ones are being retired.  But if for any reason you would like to read one that is no longer available here, just let me know, and I'll try to send it to you. I have tried to encourage Rusty to write some new stories, but he says his well has run dry.  I think maybe he has diverted his creative energies to some new Christmas Carol parodies. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Best Laid Schemes

 
When my lovely wife Darla and I had some plans derailed recently, I was reminded of the words of Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley.”  What he meant was, they get messed up.  Take that verse, for example.  Burns started off well: “The best laid schemes of mice and men…”  That phrase showed promise.  We weren’t sure where he was going with it, but juxtaposing the mice with the men was enough to generate interest, and spin off a novel or two. Then his verse got sidetracked with gangs and gleys.  I suppose his gang reference shouldn’t surprise us; he wouldn’t be the first poet involved in gang activity (Longfellow’s Gitche Gumee Boys spring to mind).  But what’s this business of afting a-gley?  “The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley.” 

I’ve concluded he intentionally messed up the line to prove his point.  The verse didn’t just pronounce that the best-laid schemes tend to go awry, it demonstrated it, by going awry.  It’s kind of like onomatopoeia---you remember: the word used to identify the noise bees make actually sounds like the noise bees make.  I think Burns was handing future generations a fresh figure of speech---let’s call it “gang-afting,” to add to metaphor, simile, alliteration, personification, etc. (If you’ve ever had to create a Match the Figure of Speech to its Name Quiz for an English class, you know that you can always use another figure of speech; if possible, you’d rather not resort to the use of Metonymy and Synecdoche).  Burns gifted us with gang-afting: to start out with a good plan that gets royally messed up.  I suspect there are other examples of it out there. We just didn’t know it because we weren’t looking for them, and we wouldn’t have known what to call them if we’d seen them.  I could do a search of English literature and maybe come up with a few examples, but that would require time and effort, and alter my normal pattern.  However, any reader who performs such a search will receive extra credit.

I’m more curious about how Burns determined that the best-laid schemes of mice go astray. We won’t give him any argument about men’s schemes, having watched a number of botched rocket launches (which were presumably planned by rocket scientists), but there seems to me to be no good reason to impugn the best-laid plans of mice.  Granted, some schemes of mice go astray, unless those particular mice schemed to have their backs suddenly broken while they nibbled on a tiny glob of peanut butter or cheese.  But I suspect that, among all the schemes those mice may have entertained for that particular evening---chewing into the box of rice in the pantry, eating the crumbs around the toaster, making the humans jump and scream, encouraging the Mrs. to try to make more mice---the plan to eat the food on that odd looking wooden contraption under the kitchen sink was not among the “best laid.”  I would not want to be the reporter, interviewing the grieving mouse spouse on the following day, who suggested to her that the unfortunate events of the previous evening were the results of her hubby’s “best laid” scheme. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Colonoscopy Games

Since I revealed my shocking medical condition in the article, Hospital Cat Scams, scores of Wry Bread readers on various continents have written to inquire about the present status of my health.  Well, maybe not scores, but several of you.  Okay, the word several may give the wrong impression, let’s just say that some of you have---well, you haven’t actually written---you’ve been busy with other things, I’m sure, but I have no doubt you’ve been anxious about my current condition, perhaps subconsciously. Yes, that’s it.  There’s been a lot of subconscious anxiety going on.  So to ease your mind, and to permit you to focus on your daily tasks undistracted, I will bring you up to date on my progress. 

As you may recall, I was driven to an emergency room by severe stomach pain (and for a pain, it drove surprisingly well), where a cat scan revealed that although my intestinal tract was completely cat-free (as I kept insisting), there were diverse ticks in my litis (a segment of the colon, I presume).  The technical name is Diverticulitis.  I was told to follow up with the doctor who had conducted my last colonoscopy.  This seemed an odd choice, because in that procedure, just months before, this “expert” had detected no signs of ticks.  The question before us was a simple one; in light of the new diagnosis, should I schedule another colonoscopy?  I argued for the opposition. 

In case you haven’t yet had the experience, the colonoscopy, as one might guess, involves a colon and a scope.  As the patient reclines face down in a poor-excuse for a robe, the doctor, having previously chosen a convenient point of access, drives a remote-controlled camera through the hairpin turns of the patient’s digestive tract, all the while trying not to collide with the intestinal wall.  If he touches the wall, a buzzer sounds and he loses his turn.  Then the next doctor steps in, but he can’t begin where the first doctor left off.  He has to begin at Start (also called Home). 

In the Sorry™ version of the colonoscopy, before he can enter the colon with his scope, each doctor has to draw either a one or a two from the deck of cards which the nurse has provided.  Furthermore, if while Doctor A is probing the colon, Doctor B draws a Sorry™ card, Doctor A has to go all the way back to start, even if he was almost at the end (you’re right, Pretty Boy, one might say these doctors are always at the end).  This version can take a bit longer than the classic version, but it has the advantage of suspense, in that one can never tell which doctor will complete it first. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Our Car from the Future


We recently bought a Prius.  It’s from the future.  Like cars from the past, it has a gasoline engine, but it also has a mid-twenty-first century energy generator that, even if I understood, I’m legally forbidden to describe until the year 2050, when the car was built, which happens to be long after my prospective departure date.  Exactly how we bought a car from the future will be explained below.  You need to learn to be patient. 

When we mention to people that we’re averaging between 55 and 61 miles per gallon (and that seems to come up a lot) they usually say, “But you have to plug it in, right?”  I think what they’re saying is:

“You doofus!  It’s not such a bargain if you have to pay the electric company for the juice you use---plus you have the hassle of having to remember to plug in the car every night, and you have to find charging stations when you’re traveling.  Don’t call me when you’re stranded on I-95.”   

But I respond, “That’s not the way it works (in other words, I see your doofus, and raise you one).”  It’s not a plug-in car.  It generates some of its own energy.  The whole scheme is displayed in animation on a magic 3D monitor in the cockpit (apparently they no longer use written language in 2050).  The 3D image depicts energy flowing from brakes to batteries to motors and back again.  I’m sure it makes perfect sense to the young engineer who designed it, who probably won’t be born for several years. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hospital Cat Scams

I had to have a Cat Scan this week.  It’s no wonder health care costs are crazy high, when invariably, the first thing that’s recommended, when you’re sick, is an expensive test to scan you for cats.  The statistics are not readily available (surprise), but I suspect that fewer than one in ten thousand Cat Scans comes back positive.  Just because there’s a machine that can do it doesn’t mean it should be done.  This is a perfect example of big medical corporations marketing products that hospitals don’t really need.  All an aggressive salesperson had to do was convince one hospital administrator to invest a few hundred grand (which, I understand, a hospital can make from one day’s mark-up on Acetaminophen) for the “latest technology,” and every other hospital had to follow suit.  No hospital wanted to be the only one in town without a fancy new Cat Scanning device.  Did any administrator pause to ask, “How in the world would the cat get in there in the first place?”---Evidently not.  Now that universities have cracked down on fraternity cat-gulping parties, abdominal cat diagnoses are actually relatively rare.  Are we supposed to believe that thousands of kittens are wandering into their owner’s open mouths at night, attracted by their snoring?   I know kittens are curious, but that sounds a bit far-fetched.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Foxes and Beavers and Owls, Oh My.

We’ve been told since we were children that foxes are sly.  But I’ve seen quite a few of them dead in the road recently.  I can only assume they’re having some unpleasant interactions with fast moving vehicles.  I don’t know about you, but it strikes me as not particularly sly to run directly across the path of a car or truck hurtling down a highway.  

“Hey, Ralph.  How much you wanna bet I can get to the other side of the smooth trail before that next giant monster runs by?” 

“You mean that big one with the round black feet and the fire-eyes that’s coming incredibly fast?  I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Sly. Why don’t you just wait until he goes by?  Remember Cousin Wily tried the same thing last week and—Sly?  SLY!

Even people generally regarded as, shall we say—not particularly sly—seldom try to outrun cars and trucks.  If they did, there would be a severe pastor shortage, and perhaps Pretty Boy would be known as Pretty-Banged-up-Humphrey. 

Now someone may respond (let’s call him Melvin),

“This is simply nature’s way of weeding out the foxes that don’t deserve the sly label—in other words, a way of protecting the brand.  The vast majority of foxes are clever enough to wait until the monster passes before crossing the street.  The ones you see flattened are the few, the proud, the non-sly.”  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Though it be Madness

My watch battery died.  Now I have to advance the minute hand manually.  It pretty much takes up my whole day.  This has given me a greater appreciation for people in the old days, before there were time-savers like batteries.  It’s no wonder it took them forever to get anything done, like, inventing batteries.  For example, it has taken me twenty-two minutes just to write the above, taking a break every fifty-five seconds to advance my watch.  Of course moving the minute hand only takes about five seconds.  The time-consuming part is counting “one Mississippi,” “two Mississippi,” etc., until I get to “fifty-five Mississippi,” over and over again.  (The only thing worse might be typingone Mississippi,” “two Mississippi,” etc.  By the way, I don’t know that I’ve ever been to Mississippi, but the scuttlebutt seems to be, one Mississippi is more than enough, and fifty-five Mississippies would be way too many---But this is getting us off track, or it would be if we had some sort of track, and if we were on it.)  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dead Men Walking


According to God's Word, there are people who have died who are now walking around on earth. In fact, you might have one or two in your home right now. What's that sound in the basement? Some might call them zombies, and some might call them other scary names, like Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists or scariest of all, Presbyterians.  Listen to this 6 minute segment of a sermon on 2 Corinthians 5, if you dare.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cryptic Sayings

Living next door to a funeral home tends to remind one of his mortality.  So it’s going to be embarrassing if, after over nine years of such reminders, I kick the proverbial bucket without clarifying some things regarding my departure.  First, as I’ve mentioned to my lovely wife Darla numerous times, and in my previous article, Between the Quick and the Dead, I don’t want to be exhibited, as if I were a science project, or a blue fin tuna.   My body never looked especially good when I was alive; I have no reason to think it will look better when I’m dead.  Why would I want my friends and family gawking at my carcass?  I never gawked at theirs.  Who came up with the open casket idea anyway?  How much do you want to bet it was a self-satisfied embalmer?   If one of you Wry Bread readers should happen to find me displayed in such a manner, I hope you will have the decency to close the box, or at least flip me over.  If people must gawk at me, I’d rather they do it behind my back.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Monkey Madness

I remember hearing several years ago that a few drivers in Virginia reported their vehicles had been struck by crab apples thrown by a band of roaming monkeys.  It was either that, or it was a band of roaming crabs throwing apples at Virginia monkeys.  I’m almost certain there were monkeys involved, and Virginia.  Anticipating that some (myself included) would doubt my memory on this, I have taken the liberty of exhuming the story, as told by Virginia State Trooper Mike Scott to an AP reporter.  I shall quote the gist of it for your reading pleasure.  There is even a bonus banana in the story, to which I have not yet alluded, because I had no recollection of it. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Treadmills and Timbuktu

Last Christmas, my lovely wife, Darla and I decided to buy a gift that would benefit us both.  I rejected her first idea, which was a one-way ticket for me to Timbuktu, on the grounds that it was unclear exactly how such a trip would benefit me.  Her second idea, rejected for similar reasons, involved Nome, Alaska.  Eventually we came up with something we could agree on.  We decided to buy a treadmill.  The thinking was, she could use it for hanging wet sweaters that she didn’t want to put in the dryer, and I could benefit from the mental gymnastics of figuring out how in the world to get the monstrous thing into the house.
 
We did not run out and buy the first treadmill we could find, primarily because, at this advanced stage of life, commonly known as the pre-death stage, we do not run. That’s another reason I agreed to buy a treadmill.  Should the impulse to run ever strike me, I didn’t want to have to run outside, where children might point at me and say,
 
“Look, Mommy, Santa is wearing shorts and trying to run.  I can see his bowl full of jelly.”  A lump of coal is too good for such a child.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time Thieves

Daylight Savings Time is misnamed.  They should call it Sleep Losing Time.  It seems like The Central League of Clock Keepers of America (CLOCKsA) always picks the least convenient time to make us turn our clocks either forward or back----Sunday mornings at 2 AM.  In other words, they pick a time when they know----or should know, that most law-abiding citizens are fast asleep, and a number of us have to get up and preach in the morning. They’re always telling us what to do with our time, and our clocks.  Would it be so hard for them to move the clock adjustment time forward or backward a few hours?   Why couldn't they tell us to jump from ten to eleven, or eleven to ten?  Every six months or so, when I have to set my alarm for 2, just so I can crawl out of bed and stumble around the house resetting our clocks, I wish I had someone from CLOCKsA on hand.  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My "60 Minutes" Interview

I don’t recall having volunteered to single-handedly prevent America’s forest fires.  I’m willing to do my part, of course, as I care about Bambi, Thumper and their woodsy friends as much as the next guy raised on Disney movies.  But as I told my church family, I was somewhat taken aback recently when a rather official-looking giant bear with a shovel told me that of all the people in America, I’m the only one who can prevent forest fires.  Granted, there is some satisfaction in being recognized among my peers, and to be honest, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise.  But I would have guessed that the national acclaim I so richly deserve would have come for being an excellent driver.  I’ve always half-expected that one day an officer would pull me over to commend me for coming to a complete stop before making a right hand turn at a red light, or for being one of the few Americans who knows the order in which to proceed at a four-way stop sign. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Accounting of the Free Treasure

Why would a King, in an act of mercy, sovereignly pardon a criminal sentenced to death, and entrust to him an inestimable and inexhaustible treasure, with instructions to freely give it away? Why would he not, instead, entrust it to mighty messengers from his court?  How might some respond to the offer of such a free gift? How might the king react if the pardoned criminal did not offer the treasure to others, but kept it all for himself?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Mouse That Roared

When I was a child, our family received a wonderful present every year from Dad’s sister in London, an aunt we children had never met.  A week or two before Christmas, something remarkable would happen.  A box full of luscious Belgian chocolates would travel all the way across the ocean, the same ocean, I was assured, that we’d go swimming in each summer, and that box would magically land at our door in NE Baltimore.  Somehow, my dad’s sister had access to the world’s best chocolates. These chocolates were related  to the Milky Way and Three Musketeer bars on our drug store shelves, in the same way that Baltimore’s jumbo lump crab cakes are related to the frozen hockey puck-like objects that Mrs. Paul sells---that is, in name only.  Aunt Money’s boxes included orange flavored bars, and strawberry flavored bars, white chocolates and dark chocolates, chocolates shaped like sea shells and chocolates shaped like tiny pyramids.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Who Can See Better?

Who Can See Better - those who can only see the transitory things of this world, things which are fading away and will soon be no more, or those who can also see the things which are spiritual and remain forever? Do you look forward to coming days on earth only, or that day when you will see God face to face? Can you see better when you are young and your eyes work well, or when you are old, and your eyes are failing, when you have been weaned from the milk of human kindness and long for the wine of heavenly joy?


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Biting the Screen that Feeds You

I grew up watching TV---Robin Hood, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Sky King, Superman, to name a few, and tons of westerns: Roy Rogers, Hop-a-long Cassidy, Maverick, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, Have Gun-Will Travel, The Rifleman, and my favorite, The Lone Ranger.  I think I was twelve years old before I met any three-dimensional people.  In my TV world, I knew that if I fell in a well, there would always be a collie nearby to summon help; if bad guys robbed my wagon train and left me hog-tied, a masked stranger and his trusty Indian companion would come along and make things right; and if I ate all the cream-filled chocolate eggs I was supposed to sell for school, my older brother Wally would somehow get me out of the jam, and ask Mom and Dad to not be too hard on me, because I was just a goofy kid.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mother Country Syndrome

Most Americans love Britain. She is, after all, our mother country, and how can you not love your mother? That’s why America ground to a halt when we heard the news about Lady Di, and why we were glued to our satellites when Kate Middleton married Prince What’s-His-Name. I believe the technical term for this is Mother-Country Syndrome (MCS). As unpopular as it may be to say it, perhaps our love for Britain causes us to overlook some important things.

Here in rural Maryland, for example, lots of people have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, which we are told comes from ticks. I’m not so sure. I’ve noticed that some of those who contract it are indoor types who work in offices and live in homes that are generally tick-free. Besides, it’s called Lyme disease, not Tick disease. Surely I’m not the only one to notice that lyme is obviously a British spelling of lime. We don’t need Miss Marple or Inspector Lewis to deduce that America’s outbreak of Lyme disease can be traced to infected British fruit. Was it just coincidental that America’s first reported incidents were in New England?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Count Your Children

My parents had piled the kids in the Plymouth station wagon and we were on the first leg of a long vacation trip, no doubt headed to a beach, with Dad driving late at night.  The back seats had been folded down, and the five kids were lined up like logs on blankets, trying to sleep.  Somewhere along the line, Dad stopped for gas.  Later, when he came to a toll booth, the attendant said, “Count your children.”
“What?”
“Count your children.”  
Dad turned around.  “Ricky, Russy, Kenny, Dindy…Wait!  Where’s Dougy?”  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Field of Nightmares

The summer after I completed sixth grade (yes, Pretty Boy, I completed sixth grade, and I resent the question) my family moved from Maryland to central Florida.  (And yes, they brought me with them.  One more question like that and I might just stop answering you.)  The move was exciting, although I was concerned about being so far away from the Orioles. One of the first things that my younger brother Kenny and I did that summer was look for a place to play ball.  Until we found a vacant field, we played catch on the lawn of the Lake Dot Motel in Orlando, where the family stayed until we moved into a rental house in Winter Park. 

By the way, the Lake Dot Motel was (and perhaps is again) a lovely peaceful oasis.  But it wasn't very peaceful when the Sukhia boys arrived with bags of firecrackers and cherry bombs.  We had finagled them from a fellow named Pedro a few days before at his establishment that he called South of the Border, by shrewdly trading for them American paper money.  If he knew that cherry bombs exploded even under water, Pedro would never have parted with them for a few gringo dollars.  Let's hope the fish population in Lake Dot has recovered from the Disaster of '62.

Getting back to baseball---as it happened, the Lutheran church our family began to attend in Winter Park had a pastor who had once been a Minor League player (in the Pirate organization, as I recall) and he conducted a baseball camp in South Carolina.  I spent two glorious weeks there---sliding pits, batting cages, individualized instruction, movies of old World Series games at night, and grits at every meal.  I think Kenny got homesick and left after the first week, or else he came up just for the second week.  For the facts, you’ll have to consult his future blog, Littler Loaves.   
That camp was the scene of one of the greatest embarrassments that a 12 year old could endure.  On the final day, when the parents came to pick up their kids, there was a father-son game. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Guess Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience, but when I was about ten years old, a wolf would come to my bedside at night.  He wasn’t the sort of wolf that howls at the moon and travels in packs.  He was the sort of wolf that walks upright on his hind legs, with a long snout and a dangling tongue dripping saliva.  In other words, he was the type that would occasionally get bit parts in Disney cartoons.   He didn’t watch me from my closet, or from across the room.  He would come right up to my head, sit on his haunches so he was at eye-level, and stare at me.  What particular interest he had in me, I did not know, and he would not say; but I guessed it was the same interest that Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother with the big teeth had in her; which happened to be the same interest that the huffing  puffing pursuer of the three little pigs had in them. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dougy's Big Adventure

When we were kids, in the fifties (yes, I mean the nineteen-fifties) our parents used to say that my brother Doug was accident-prone.   What they meant was, he had a defective warning light.   In normal children, as you know, that light blinks in their brain just before they do something like jump from a moving vehicle, dive in an unfamiliar body of water, climb a rusty water tower, or otherwise endanger life or limb.  Doug’s warning light had evidently shorted-out in some dirty pond.
Our home in the NE Baltimore area called Overlea was on Powell Avenue, a dead end street, and we lived at the end of the dead part.  I know it sounds weird that a dead end street would be called an avenue, but I don’t make the rules, although, of course, I should.   Today our street would be described as a cul-de-sac, but this was back before America purchased the word cul-de-sac from the people of France.  I understand we got it for just $300 billion and Euro-Disney.  This is a lot more than we paid for the word chauffeur, picked up just before the war for next to nothing; but it’s quite a bit less than we paid for the word carte blanche, for which, I was told, we gave the French a veritable blank check. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Impossible Mission

When I was in high school in central Florida in the sixties, the Mission Impossible TV show was popular.   In the unlikely event that you aren’t aware of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), it was (or is) a secret band of government agents---so secret in fact, that if they were killed or captured, “the Secretary” would actually “disavow any knowledge of their actions.”  We were never quite sure who this secretary was, or why it would be such a big deal if she said she didn’t know what these guys were up to.  Now that I have a secretary, I understand how implausible it would be for one to claim no knowledge of her boss’ actions.  The secretary normally gets blamed for her boss’ screw ups.
 
Each member of the IMF was picked for his expertise in deactivating bombs, breaking into impregnable fortresses, or changing his appearance and voice so dramatically that he could trick a bad guy into thinking he was the bad guy’s mother.  This one came in handy.  Whenever they were out of ideas for how to stop a nasty foreign agent from detonating a nuclear weapon and starting the war to end all worlds, his mother would pop into his apartment, and he would casually mention to her, over lasagna, where he hid the bomb.  Then Mom would pull off her mask, the walls of his apartment would fall down, and the bad guy would discover that he was actually in the back of a truck on the way to a federal prison. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is God Sovereign?


Did God, who created all things, simply set His creation in motion through the use of natural laws, or has he been actively and sovereignly engaged in the outcome of all events great and small?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ica-russ Epilogue

I know some of you have been waiting with bated breath for this third and final installment of the Ica-Russ saga.  I’m not clear about just what bated breath is, but I’m pretty sure the phrase refers to the sort of breathing one does when in high anxiety in anticipation of something.  Give me a second to see if my computer can clarify this...Well, that’s what I thought:  “with bated breath--in anxious or excited anticipation.”  But I still don’t know why those words mean that.  Breath I get, but bated?  Here’s something, “Bate (intransitive verb), beat wings…to beat the wings wildly or impatiently in an attempt to fly off a perch or a falconer’s fist when still attached by a leash.”   That helps a little, but I would still not use bated in any sentence in which it is not immediately followed by the word breath

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Seed of the Church

Can the enemies of the Gospel prevent it from spreading by the sword?  How has persecution affected the Church of Christ over the centuries?





To view the entire sermon click on this link- http://youtu.be/CVRHT3cFXjE

Friday, March 30, 2012

God Overrules


Where was God when ...? Why did God permit this horrible tragedy? God has wise and holy ends to accomplish by allowing evil to take place. When bad things happen as a result of man's sin (sin for which man is responsible) God overrules them for his own purposes.



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ica-russ Falls (or Ica-russ Rises,The Sequel)

We were on the ground, but we were still flying high.  We had soared over our school, dropped our cargo, and at least one of the precious Sukhia for President pillows had been found and retrieved (ironically, by the one classmate of whose vote I felt assured, the one who is sitting next to me as I type this, 45 years later). The mission had been a success.  It would be the talk of the school the next day; now, if we could just get through the next 48 hours or so without any nasty consequences...
It was History class, on the morning after our triumph; a fitting class for an event to occur that would put an end to what might have been a historic political career.  It was a day that will live in infamy in the annals of-----that will go down in the record of------a day that will forever be memorialized in-----well, in point of fact, there are no annals or records of such things, but if there were, then what I’m about to tell you would be in them. Oh yes, it would assuredly be in them.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Legalism or Liberty?

There are many ways we can fall into bondage when we've been granted liberty. We can fall into the trap of trying to earn our salvation by our good performance. We can follow unfairly imposed, extra-biblical rules, out of fear that if we don't, we will be judged a bad Christian, or no Christian. In this video clip, Pastor Russ discusses the bondage of legalism and the liberty of conscience.


6 minutes 29 seconds
To watch "Blinded But Seeing," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, 
To hear the entire sermon click here
________________________________________________________________

From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website:http://littleloaves.blogspot.com/ | Phone: 410.655.5466

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flying High: Ica-russ Rises

It has occurred to me that I may have an inexhaustible supply of material for Wry Bread, as pandas can wander into my mind’s kitchen anytime they wish.  But as far as the things which actually happened to me are concerned, I have only limited time to recount them before my neurons, which are already slowing down, stop firing altogether. (Maybe if I had been using high test gas in my various Speck-mobiles all these years, my brain would be running cleaner). So while I still can, I will attempt to recount the story that was, as a sixteen year old, my brief claim to fame. This much I remember:

The year was 1967.  I was a junior at Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida, and it was time to elect class officers for our senior year.  “Who better than I to be class president?” I thought (and I tended to put my thoughts in quotations back then).  “If not me---who?  If not now---when?”  The reason I decided to throw my proverbial hat into the proverbial ring, was not because I had any serious thoughts about how to improve our proverbial school, or benefit my proverbial classmates.  My sole thought was decidedly non-serious and un-proverbial.  “Wouldn’t it be cool to be class president?” 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Indestructible World Trade Center

On the hill of Calvary stands an everlasting exchange. The Gospel proclaimed by Pastor Russ on 9/11/2011.





3 minutes 49 seconds
To watch "Who's in Charge Here?," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, 
To hear the entire sermon click here
________________________________________________________________

From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website:http://littleloaves.blogspot.com/ | Phone: 410.655.5466

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tater Tales

My first conversation with Tater was by phone.  I can’t say for sure that there was a piece of straw in his teeth, or a wad of tobacco in his mouth, but I’m pretty sure he was in a rocker on his front porch, and there was a lazy hound dog close enough to hit with a projectile.  
We had just moved from Florida to the lovely town of Maryville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Smokies, with our son Nathan, 13, and daughter Grace, almost 12.  I had spotted a cute little log home nestled in some trees, within a mile of the church grounds.  My thinking was, “We’re in Tennessee now.  We should live in a log home, as Lincoln would have done, if he had lived in Tennessee.”  The family could hardly argue with that logic.  The house I liked was vacant, so I left a note, asking if I could have it.  The owners, Kirk and Gail (to protect their identity, we’ll call them Dirk and Dale) who became friends and members of our church, called several weeks later to say they were planning on moving into the home soon; so no, I couldn’t have it, but they would put us in touch with the builder, a fellow named Tater.
“Sure, Bud.  I kin bild you a house.  You find yerself a lot, I’ll buy the lot an build the house an you kin git a loan from the bank fer the hole amownt and buy it from me.”  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Blinding Enemy


If you were walking along a beach and you saw the words, "Earl loves Joann," written in the sand, it would be possible for you to conclude that the writing was caused, not by an intelligent being, but by the natural forces of wind and waves, snails and crabs.  But would that be a reasonable conclusion from the evidence?




6 minutes 31 seconds
To watch "Blinded But Seeing," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, 
click here!

To hear the entire sermon click here
________________________________________________________________

From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website:http://littleloaves.blogspot.com/ | Phone: 410.655.5466

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Intelligent Design


This clip describes a process that is presently underway to simulate, with an IBM super-computer, the functions of a human brain.  [Note: The IEEE to which Russ refers is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers]







To hear the entire sermon click here ________________________________________________________________
From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website:http://littleloaves.blogspot.com/ | Phone: 410.655.5466

Luther's Prayer

Are there times when you feel like a failure as a Christian because you doubt, fear, you are weary, or even feel as if God is not listening and has abandoned you? You aren't alone. On occasion, even heroes of the faith have felt this way. Listen to Luther's prayer the night before he refused to recant his writings before the leaders of church and state.