Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Uncle John's Tales for Kiddies

Spent the day working on three gory Bible stories for bloodthirsty kiddies to add to cowart.info for my April update. When my own kids were little they loved “meaty” Bible stories – which in today’s wimp world would be considered too intense for younger viewers.

I’ve noticed that the aforementioned younger viewers relish such stories, the same tales the mind-censors deem too strong for them. Kids are smarter and have better judgment than their caregivers give them credit for. Has any under-aged person in the history of the world ever tried to sneak into see Mr. Smith Goes To Washington?

It’s happened again: another of Ginny’s bosses approached her about a better job. That’s the second one this month. I’m married to a lady who is in great demand. We’ll see what happens.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:42 PM

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Old Letters, computers & streetcar tracks

My friend K. drives a Rolls Royce which he keeps in pristine condition; he also keeps a Cadillac to use as a dingy when his Rolls is in the shop. It’s often in the shop because if a bird so much as craps on the windshield, K.takes it to the garage.

Anyhow, today as I helped him shuffle cars, he treated me to lunch at Whiteway Delicatessen. As we enjoyed our scrumptious sandwiches, I told him about my progress editing the Stacy Letters, those old letters which I found in a wooden file drawer I bought at a yard sale. They touch on Jacksonville history.

In turn, K., scion of one of Jacksonville’s oldest families, told me he has letters, diaries and papers from his own forbearers. Some of these date back into the 1880s and all relate to Jacksonville History!

What a treasure!

But, unfortunately, K.is seriously considering destroying the lot because he feels that private papers should stay private.

I choked on my sandwich.

I can see his point to a certain extent and I sympathize with it. While I have no secrets, certain things in my own journal are private and I would not want the world in general to read them – yet. I’ve asked my children not to read my journals until after Ginny and I are both dead; to never read less than 50 pages at a time; and to wait 20 years or so before even thinking of publishing them. (As though anybody 20 years from now will be interested in my life and petty affairs – what vanity).

So, I suggested that K. gather his family's letters and diaries; pack them in a plastic bin, the sort you can buy at Big Lots or K-Mart for a couple of dollars; seal the bins; Lable them “Not to be opened before the year 2050”; and donate them to the Jacksonville Historical Society.

I’m confident that the society would respect the private nature of the correspondence and would preserve them until all immediately concerned are long gone. Then the details of daily life in a former age would become invaluable to future historians.

K.was not too keen on my idea – but he’s got it in the hopper.

Future historians, I wish you luck.

On a different historical note: last week road crews resurfacing San Marco Blvd. ran into a problem – streetcar tracks buried three feet under the present day road surface. The last trolley car ran Jacksonville streets in 1936 so these have been underground for quite a while.

In order to refurbish the street, hundreds of massively heavy, water-logged, heart-pine cross ties had to be dug up and disposed of. Many were consigned to the trash.

But Donald, God bless him, salvaged several for me. He must be as strong as Samson to lift these things into the back of his van. But last night he brought some for me to use to line my bromeliad bed in the garden.

For close to 50 years I’ve collected assorted junk related to Jacksonville history. And while railroad ties are not your typical collector’s item, I’m delighted.

After we placed the streetcar ties, Donald gutted my computer and did things to it. Esoteric, technical things with wires and cables and chips. He replaced the carburetor and screwed in new spark plugs and a spleen.

My computer survived the operation and is resting comfortably.

Among the new guts, is a multidirectional microphone. If I ever learn to work it, I can cut and paste e-sounds – like my words of wisdom (known among my children as tirades) and post them on my website. Thus ushering in a new era of boring things on cowart.info .

Donald also used Gimp software to design a book cover for Letters From Stacy. Now the only delay is me; I hope to the letters posted on Lulu next week – D.V — both as an e-book and a real book.

Donald would have done more web stuff for me but he wanted to rush home to his own computer to e-talk with this virtual e-girl he’s met online through an e-dating service. They plan a f2f meet soon. Such e-courtship rituals seem bizarre to me but I wish them joy. — Or should that be e-joy?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:40 PM

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Missed the train, got soaking wet, and I'm the very picture of happiness

I missed a train today through sheer stupidity redface.

Ginny & I spent a wonderful day together snapping photos along half the length of Jacksonville’s Northbank Riverwalk so that we can post the pictures on my website, cowart.info ,when we’ve finished our survey.

The riverwalk passes over the railroad tracks right where the trains cross the St. Johns River next to the new Acosta Bridge. I heard the siren alerting boaters that the drawbridge was going down. I heard a train coming. I rushed up the ramp and positioned my borrowed camera so the train would pass directly beneath my feet. I snapped dramatic photo after photo as the engine approached head-on. Two guys in the engine waved to me as I snapped close-ups of the engine.

Greatest train photos ever taken --

Except, as I realized later, I had not turned on the digital camera! redface

I only got one lousy picture of the tail end of the train on the bridge.redface

Not only did I miss the train, but I got soaking wet as I tried to get a picture of a fountain. Now I know what the zoom lenses is for.idea

So much for disasters.

Now for the good stuff:

I did get lovely photos of the Riverwalk, the loggerhead shrike’s nest, Jacksonville’s skyline, and Ginny’s long hair blowing in the wind.

We visited a unique home downtown and took photos of this beautiful dwelling for posting on my website in April. I think it’s Jacksonville’s most charming home.

Then we drove out to Silver Star, our favorite Chinese restaurant, where we chanced to meet Peggy, a friend we have not seen since long before Christmas, and we enjoyed playing catch-up and I snapped a picture of her against a background of Chinese decorations.

Next, we drove to a swamp where we took photos of marshlands and waterways to make the book cover for my novel, Glog, a tale about a sentient dinosaur who eats muskrats, illuminates manuscripts and prays to his Creator -– mostly about catching more muskrats smile.

While we were in the marsh, we saw a pair of swallows, a bird we have seldom seen in Florida. And we saw the dorsal fin of a large fish breaking the water as it chased a school of smaller fish for close 50 yards right on the surface smile.

A thrilling happy day in which we accomplished a lot and enjoyed being together smile.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:39 PM

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Thought 4 Easter

Jesus Christ either rose or rotted. There is no other alternative...

Which do you think is true?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:37 PM

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We Saw A Loggerhead Shrike

A stormy day but during a break Ginny & I strolled a way along Jacksonville’s Northbank Riverwalk where we saw a loggerhead shrike, the first time we’ve ever encountered one of these unusual birds.

A shrike will capture smaller birds, mammals and insects then impale the prey on a sharp thorn to kill it.
We spent the morning dabbling at yardwork.

Eve came over and helped me transplant a dozen flowering trees.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:36 PM

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

Good Friday: Many Christians esteem today, in fact this whole weekend, as a special time to commemorate the crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.

Although in my book, The Lazarus Projects, I follow the traditional chronology, in my personal faith,I number among those who regard all days the same.

Jesus Christ was my savior and Lord and deserved my worship and adoration last Tuesday as much as He will be savior and Lord and deserve worship next Wednesday.

But if observing days helps some people grow closer to God, blessings on them.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:34 PM

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Alien Space Craft Lands in my backyard

As I worked in our backyard I heard a strange swishing noise in the sky above our house. Looking up I saw an alien spacecraft descending. No, not a flying saucer but a full-rigged Viking ship propelled through the air by oars.

As it settled out by our double tree, I clearly saw the dragon figurehead, the red-striped sail painted with a design resembling a cross between the face on the shroud of Turin and the Kon Tiki face. Dozens of metal shields lined the sides. Each shield bore an advertising logo or slogan: Preparation H, Coke Zero, Watson Reality, Jesus Saves, Kellog’s Corn Flakes, Carter’s Little Liver Pills, Viagra, Ralston Purina Dog Food, Vote For Jake Godbold, etc.

Beside the single mast stood a nine-foot-tall naked Lady waving a battle ax, apparently she is captain of the craft. As soon as the ship grounded on our lawn, she and 30 horn-hat-wearing Vikings jumped. over the gunnels and ran straight to our birdfeeder where they scooped up handfuls of seeds and ate them as fast as they could stuff then in, as though they’d traveled for light-years without food and were starving.

Once the birdfeed was empty, they turned to the metal can where we store birdseed. Not having a can opener, the giant lady swung her battleax splitting the storage can and again she and the crew gorged themselves on birdseed.

I approached and offered to give them some real food. “We have some pork chops in the freezer,” I said.

The Lady turned indignantly and informed me, “All True Vikings are vegetarians! We only eat birdseed or tofu. Got any tofu in the house?”

I explained that I’m a Christian and that real Christians never eat tofu.

“Curious religion,” she said. “Know where we can get some tofu?”

“Yes, Mam,” I said directing her to Whiteway Delicatessen, a yuppie place over on King Street .

Hearing that tofu was available only blocks away, the Lady and her crew piled back aboard their ship, manned the oars, and began to row across my lawn. Faster and faster they pulled, the oar tips digging divots of dirt and grass out of the lawn. The ship rose higher into the air with each stroke till the oar strokes brushed tree tops as the ship headed East toward Whiteway.

“Hey,” I yelled as they cleared the trees, “Who’s going to pay for my birdseed and to fix the divots in my lawn?”

“Charge it to my Discover Card,” the Naked Lady called as the ship pulled out of sight over my neighbor’s housetop.

I quit yardwork and came back inside to make my blog entry for today wondering if anybody ever reads these things?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:33 PM

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jennifer hypnotized

Yesterday Jennifer was hypnotized to help alleviate the pain she suffers in her arm. Two years ago she underwent an operation for carpel tunnel and something went wrong paralyzing her arm and causing her great pain.

Her arm has swollen up like a hotdog left too long on the grill so that the skin has split resulting in open sores.

Of course the insurance company says it’s all her fault and the doctors (a dozen or sop of them) say that if the insurance company had authorized proper treatment in the first place then her condition would not have happened.

Jennifer is frantic with pain, physician/insurance company hassles, and financial woes from not being able to work. She and Pat may loose their home because they are so far behind with payments.

And in addition to that Jennifer is stressed out, not only with her limitations but also with having to be constantly on tap for daily visiting nurses, aids, phone contacts with Medicaid, Workman’s Compensation, attorneys and Social Security., I imagine she’s also tired of Dad’s advise. – Even so, come Lord Jesus!

I went with her and Pat for lunch at Bar-B-Que Junction. They had never been there before and we all really enjoyed it.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:31 PM

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Unidentified Bird

Saw a species of bird that’s new to me as I did yard work: between a bluejay and a cardinal in size, this bird has a streamlined gray body with a cream breast and a pronounced black mask or head. It’s apparently a bug-eater with a unique flight pattern; the bird perches on our rooftop, swoops down in a parabolic loop to snap up something within inches of the lawn surface. At times it seemed to hover at the limit of it’s arc before returning to a spot only a few feet away from it’s launch point. Fascinating to watch.

I broke out my bird books and studied but I could not identify it.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:28 PM

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Monday, March 21, 2005

My computer's been down so I'm playing catch up

Saturday Eve hosted a housewarming party at her new apartment. About 15 or 20 people attended to eat goodies, talk and play with her cats. Most of the folks there were librarians from various branches, very nice folks. It was great fun.

Eve & Patricia had been to a yard sale this morning and bought me an old button (circa 1960?) with a Jacksonville City Slogan on it: “Tomorrow’s City Today”. I’d never seen one of these before and it makes a nice addition to my collection of Jacksonville ephemera.

Gin & I came home to watch tv: Charleton Heston in The Ten Commandments. Back about 1956, I saw this great movie in it’s first run in the Florida Theatre. Moving. Now, it runs on tv just about every Easter season.

Sunday, March 20, 2005, Palm Sunday

An odd thing at church this morning: Because of my macular degeneration my mind sometimes supplies meaning to the blurred things my eyes think they see. So, when I saw this large yellow bowl of white things on the altar, my brain concluded that the church was serving popcorn as part of the communion service!

Maybe this is not such an odd mental leap; no telling what innovation our madcap Episcopal bishops will come up with next.

Turns out that I was seeing a floral display of knotted white palm fronds on the altar. But my mind/eyes remained convinced that I was actually seeing a large bowl of popcorn.

After church Gin & I drove downtown and walked around a construction site where during the Civil War the enemy had a camp and fortifications but the construction workers have just scraped surface dirt and have not dug deep enough to uncover any artifacts.

Then Ginny took me to a unique home she’d seen the other day and we walked around the block admiring it. The owner has renovated an old brick store keeping the display windows and decorating the building with an array of old bottles, a grind stone, a train wheel, statues, bed springs, stained glass, driftwood and a host of other elements which form a delightful, pleasing collage. The place intrigued me. The most wonderful home in Jacksonville. What a happy place. I called Eve asking to borrow her camera so I can take photos of this delightful dwelling and post them on my website (www.cowart.info ) next month.

Eve & Patricia came over and we talked about odd homes, websites, books and so forth. Later Gin & I ate a late lunch at Salty’s Seafood then home to watch Cold Case.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:23 PM

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

St. Patrick's Day Musings

About 20 years ago a magazine commissioned me on a tight deadline to write a biographical sketch of St. Patrick. This came as my Father lay dying of cancer in St. Luke’s Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, and my beloved wife was expecting to give birth in days.

Desperate for the writting commission money, I went to afterburners studying and writing.

I discovered that Patrick of Ireland had written a book, his Confessions. The man’s honesty and dedication to Christ enthralled me. Seldom have I been touched so deeply by another spiritual writing.

Ginny read St. Patrick’s Confessions also and it touched her so that we decided to name our baby after Patrick.

As the magazine deadline approached, Daddy grew worse; it fell out as my duty to stay with him in his hospital room all night every night. Yet, for grocery money, I had to finish that article. The room was too small for a desk so I wrote my biographical sketch of St. Patrick longhand on a yellow legal pad while lying on my stomach on the floor half under Daddy’s bed.

I made the deadline.

I was with Daddy when he died... and in the delivery room with Ginny just days afterwards as she gave birth to our youngest daughter.

We named the beautiful little girl Patricia, a feminine form of Patrick. The Latin name means “noble”.

If anybody is interested in reading the sketch of St. Patrick, which quotes liberally from his Confessions, you'll find it among my religious humor essays on my website at www.cowart.info.

Good thing for Patricia that I was not writing about Polycarp at the time of her birth or she’d have ended up with some perfectly ghastly name.

Incidentally, I understand that this particular article was translated into a dozen or so foreign languages and was circulated around the world.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:21 PM

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Two Fat Guys Talking Theology

Wes bought me breakfast at Dave’s then-- to produce a sample tape recording for Donald’s podcasting project – for a couple of hours we sat smoking our pipes and talking about practical applications of Christianity in real-life situations:

We discussed the sorrow of a teenager whose dad had to put his grandfather into a nursing facility and then had to sell the family home to keep the old man there.

We discussed the plight of a lady whose husband deserted her taking all the proceeds of a business they owned and she’s fallen in with some preacher who says all her troubles are the result of a generational curse.

We discussed the dilemma of couple and their adopted sons this week when yesterday the husband was discovered to have been screwing another woman for the past five or six years --and the wife has a shotgun in the kitchen.

What do Christians have to offer folks suffering in such horrendous situations?

The tape we ended up with runs about an hour and a half. It contains lots of questions and few answers. And we used a lot of airtime laughing our heads off at inane jokes (Wes’s) and cultured, refined jokes (mine).

For years now, every week or ten days, Wes comes over to buy me breakfast, after which we smoke our pipes and talk about theology and practical Christian living. Donald asked us to record some of these conversations for podcasting; this was our first try at it.

At first, the conversation felt stilted but soon we forgot about the tape machine so I think the end result is fairly typical of our normal conversations – but with less profanity because of the tape machine.

Ginny went for her job interview today. We’ll see.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:20 PM

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005


My work today consisted of undoing the work I did yesterday. Thus, by diligently applying myself, I have progressed to exactly the same place I was at 4 a.m. Monday.

Heard a great physics joke:

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a beer.
When the barmaid serves it, he asks, “How much will that cost?”
The barmaid replies, “For neutrons, there is no charge”.

O those physicists! eek

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:18 PM

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Typing on air -- This the entry 4 Monday which I erased by mistake

Headers and footers and section breaks that don’t brake drive me nuts! A pox on all their houses!
Up at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. as usual and worked formatting the Stacy Letters, a collection of old letters related to Jacksonville history which I found in a wooden file drawer I bought at a yard sale a few years ago.

I’m trying to make these into a book for Bluefish Books. Thus my frustration with headers & footers.

While looking for some clip art for Stacy’s Letters, I again ran across a website I’ve visited before. But this time I noticed more about it and renewed my fascination. It’s called Whole Wheat Radio out of a 12 by 12 cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska. Their web address is http://www.wholewheatradio.org/ .

I’m not much for radio listening but I really enjoyed their unique style and left the thing on my computer in the background all day. The thing that attracted my attention – besides the clip art in their drawing board section – was the mention that they do podcasting – the thing, whatever it is, that Donald wants to start doing. I really liked what these Alaskans are doing with it.

One odd thing, the announcer said, “We’re having a warming spell; the temperature is up to 36 degrees this morning”. I laughed because today for the first time this season here in Florida, I had to turn on the air conditioner!

My reading today included finishing Eric Garcia's great book about con artists, Matchstick Men, and I started Patrick O'Brian's Master And Commander. I found this sea story so enthralling that, God willing I intend to read all 20 books in the series.

This evening Ginny & I attended a MED Neighborhood Watch meeting. The group had the usual discussion of problems in the area.

My website e-mail (www.cowart.info) brought a letter from a family in New York who asked for information about the Whale Watch Motel where we stayed last August and for tips about travel in Florida. I got carried away and told them waaay more than they’d ever want to know.

But I felt very happy to get this feedback. Sometimes I feel as though I work in a vacuum. The February site statistics in webalizer tell me that over 6,000 readers from all over the world stayed on my site at least ten minutes each. But people seldom make comments so I daily question whether what I’m doing is really useful or just a vanity.
Just like this Blog thing – I wonder if I’m typing on air.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:17 PM

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Monday, March 14, 2005

A Bag Full Of Money

Ginny & I devoted Saturday to yard work — By which I mean that I fixed up a nest for her with cushions, pillows, icepack, coffee, ashtray and blanket so she could rest and watch me while I mowed the yards.

Her foot was bothering her and she fell into a deep, deep sleep. So deep in fact was my Sweetheart’s sleep that even when the power mower passed within ten feet of her, she never stirred.

The yard was full of birds this morning and they chirped and flitted all around Ginny as she napped. It was like something out of Disney’s Cinderella movie, but Beauty never woke. She napped almost five hours!

About 3 in the afternoon, I kissed her awake and took her to lunch at Denny’s. Then we went to the library to check out some videos and spent the evening watching a Tom Hanks movie marathon starting with Terminal. We both agree that Tom Hanks is the greatest actor ever.

Sunday, March 13, 2005
Skipped church again today. After breakfast at Famous Amos – where we ate their pan-fry breakfast, one of the greatest, most memorial meals I’ve ever tasted, we went to WalMart to buy birdseed for our feeders and to look at digital cameras and tape recorders for various Cowart Communications projects.

At Ginny’s job Friday some person dumped a huge bag of money on her desk all in change. So we took that heavy bag to Winn-Dixie where they have a change sorting and counting machine.

I stood guard while for 45 minutes, Ginny stood there feeding coins – nickels, dimes, pennies and quarters — into this machine. For this she went to college earning a Banking & Finance degree with a minor in accounting!

The total came to $335 of which the machine kept over $30 as a processing fee.

All pennies that fell on the floor, I picked up and put in my own pocket as a finders fee. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn".

I bitched to Ginny that she should never again accept loose change from anyone at work but should reject sacks of coins until they are wrapped and counted. And she should never cut into our weekend time together to do stupid chores for the commission without being paid overtime… Lot of good my complaint did. Both she and I know that she’s so conscientious that she does that sort of thing all the time and .is likely to keep doing it; it’s in her nature....

In the evening we continued our Tom Hanks marathon with Road To Perdition. The man’s versatility amazes us.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:15 PM

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Red Letter Day

Ran across a great bumper sticker: ALL MEN ARE IDIOTS; AND I MARRIED THEIR KING!

Do I detect a hint of bitterness there?

Went out to breakfast with Wes. We do this every week or two. He has finished proofreading Crackers & Carpetbaggers. We worked at correcting the proof copy and it’s ready for posting in a final version. We also discussed recording some of our conversations for podcasting; Wes is particularly interested in making a recording of an organ concert by Jacob.

Today's conversation ranged wide covering subjects as varied as labor relations at his job, printing, bioethics, Ginny’s fall, scientific frauds, human misery, family relationships and the strong and weak points of Cambridge Bibles as opposed to Oxford Bibles.

Wes, a master printer, told the story of a radio preacher who railed against Bibles which are printed only in black ink and do not have the words of Jesus printed in red ink. The preacher denounced imagined liberals who “Are taking the Words Of Jesus out of the Bible”!

I think Heaven is going to seem a very strange place to this preacher when he gets there.

Jesus may save us from our sin, but He doesn’t seem to save us from our own ignorance.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:13 PM

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Writing, Reading and Story Telling

Up at my usual 4 a.m. to start the day in a my usual stupor.
I worked, sort of, doing foundational stuff on the Stacy Letters, but there are so many decisions I have to make regarding the formatting that I gave up, spent some time staring into space, then read a murder mystery instead of working.

I should not be so hard on myself… There is an old Shoe cartoon in which he is sitting at his typewriter staring out the window when another bird comes by and says, “Why aren’t you pounding that keyboard”?

To which Shoe replies, “Typists pound keyboards; writers stare out windows”.

Our daughter Eve came over this evening for a delightful supper with us. I was too lazy to cook so I called Ginny who brought in a rotisserie chicken. Lemon pepper. Delicious!

After supper, the three of us tried to get the tape recorder working to make a podcast program for Donald to air. The program is to be Miss Eve’s Story Hour. I set up the recorder and Eve began telling one of the stories she relates to kids at her library.

I was so impressed!

She assumes a professional stance and demeanor, her voice changes. And with her very first sentence I realized that I was no longer listening to “my little girl” but I was in the presence of a professional story teller. Enthralling.
She told two great stories.

Of course the tape machine didn’t work! Ginny and I figured it out that we bought if at a yard sale, maybe six years ago and we have not used it for maybe three years… Practically brand new. Why wouldn’t it work? Cheap piece of crap.

We got to talking about old Florida Cracker tales and I remembered one of my favorites:

Jessie had this pit bull that he’d take to the dog fights. And ol’ Cubie would just tear up any other dog in the pit. Jessie was right fierce proud of that dog.

So one day he goes awalkin’ in the park and meets up with this fellow with a little low-squat ugly yellar dog on a lease. So Jessie sets his pit bull on this little yellow dog just to show off. And that little dog opens its mouth wide and just eats the pit bull up in one bite.

Dumbfounded, Jessie says “What the hell kind of dawg is that?”

The fellow says, “Well, before I cut his tail short and painted him yellow, he was an alligator”.

Thus endeth today’s reading. Amen.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:11 PM

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Daily Struggle

In a recurring fit of scruples, from which I periodically suffer, I erased some naked internet lady's photos from my computer. I'm a pure-hearted Christian so she will never again appear on my screen... Want'a bet?

Up this morning at my usual 4 a.m. and spent hours entangled in the World Wide Web trying to get the Antler’s, Horns & Haloes article straightened out. I finally managed it by 11 a.m. but my methods resemble using a hammer and chisel on stone to shape the computer site into what I wanted.

Afterwards I walked to the Post Office Substation to mail their copies of my Lulu books to the Library of Congress registry office.

As I walked I ran into a guy I know who hangs around the local library. Although he is the next thing to homeless, has no computer, and no electricity in his house, yet he knew all about podcasting! It seems that he knows a garage band which podcasts their music. And he’s up on the phenomena — I’d never heard the word before yesterday!

Donald called and we simultaneously browsed blog sites from Jacksonville as he guided me through the mysterious world of blogs.

To me it appears that there are a lot of technologically advanced people out there whose sites reek of computer sophistication but have nothing to say. My overall feeling is that these folks should grow up and get a life. (Careful there, Cowart, Judge not that ye be not judged — what's so special about the stuff you're recording right here, right now? This isn't exactly Pepy's Journal!).

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:09 PM

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Free The Flashing Twelve!

Free The Flashing Twelve!

Today I’ve learned that I number among the Flashing Twelve.

Donald came over excited about establishing a podcasting website designed to help Flashing Twelves podcast. What is a Flashing Twelve? What is a podcast?

Well, when a computer geek walks into someone’s house and sees the clock radio, VCR and the microwave all flashing twelve on the LCD screen, he knows that the homeowner does not know how to set the time on nay of these appliances; in other words, someone as technologically illiterate as I am. Therefore, the Geek pitches in to help bring the victim out of the stone age.

That’s what Donald wants to do for me and other Flashing Twelves.

Podcasting apparently is a sort of radio program on demand wherein anyone can produce their own program and make it available to the world via a Blog (which is a sort of online daily journal, I think).

Why anyone would want to either broadcast or listen to such programs is beyond me, but Donald says Podcasting is the coming thing in computer communications.

Could be.

Personally, for years I’ve kept three radios tuned to three different stations and when I want one kind of music, I turn on that radio; or, if I want another kind of music, I just turn on a different radio. That way I never have to fiddle with tuning dials.

Donald says this practice makes me a quintessential Flashing Twelve.

Hey, my system works.

In other news today, two great things happened:

The UPS man delivered copies of one of my books which, this month, was published in the Philippines. My book People Whose Faith Got Them Into Trouble has been re-issued by a company called Church Strengthening Ministry Of The Foreign Mission Board, SBC, Inc. Their website is www.csm-publishing.net out of Manila .

I’m pleased that the book is available to folks in the Far East; but I’m also a bit disappointed because I thought it was being translated into Talog and I expected to see my name in squiggly exotic oriental letters (I’ve never seen Talog printing) just to feed my vanity.

The other great thing is that I finally managed to update my website for March. I’ve finished my Rabid Fundamentalist column, Horns, Antlers & Haloes and it actually includes that photograph of my Elk Horn Pipe I’ve never been able to include in my Blog – We Flashing Twelves managed to muddle through somehow – so if you want to finally see that photo you’ve been so anxious to see in this Blog, then check out my website at www.cowart.info . I also added a few new tasteful jokes for you more refined readers.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:07 PM

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Recharging Batteries

I’ve spent most of today reading St. Patrick’s Confession and a biography of Mary Slessor, a Scottish missionary to Africa. I have previously written profiles of each (see www.cowart.info) but I was not doing research for an article.

No, I feel the need to recharge my own batteries and nothing helps my spiritual slumps more than reading Christian biographies. They help me see what real Christians went through for their love of Christ.

Ginny went to work today in spite of her aching foot and my urging her to stay home in an ice pack. (I’m married to a left-handed, wrong-headed woman!).

While at work one of her former bosses called asking her to take a job with another agency. She is interested but wants to see if an offer of a better job at the commission may be in the offing also. She’s so conscientious that she’s in great demand. I’m proud of her. But nowhere is she more appreciated than at home.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:06 PM

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Monday, March 07, 2005

A Typical Weekend

After breakfast at Dave’s (where I left a poster and some flyers promoting my Jax history book) Ginny & I went to the Jacksonville Fairgrounds to the Friend’s Of The Library Book Sale.

We browsed for hours amid over 100, 000 books culled from Jacksonville Libraries or donated for the sale.

Three observations:

1. Before going, I prayed that the Lord would deliver me from acquisitiveness, that I not just buy things which strike my fancy but truly useful books: We bought only eight books between us.

2. The age of the people shopping; gray-hair definitely predominated. Younger readers were definitely not in evidence – Makes me wonder about the future of writing.

3. The material the Library has culled; They are giving Jacksonville a systematic lobotomy by removing from the shelves traditional classics. Yes, I can see removing out-of-date materials but when will they get more up-to-date copies of Beowulf. Poe, Kippling, Browning, Yates? Literature was being thrown out by the barrel full. History and biography discarded by the ton as though the information in these books might change.

And, there were tons of discarded books about World War II. How are younger readers to learn about these battles? There was a reason we A-Bombed Japan and sent Americans to die fighting Nazis. But the memories of people who actually did the fighting are being discarded to be pulped unless someone buys the culled books.

Such books sales make me feel very sad.

I know how much energy, thought, work and life-force goes into producing a book – and here are thousands of examples of such human endeavor essentially consigned to the trash. Tragic.

O well, as King Solomon observed, “Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh”.

Saturday, March 5, 2005
Ginny & I devoted this day to cleaning up our garden – by which I mean we sat outside and talked about all the work to be done with this flower bed or that. We did not actually do any work. But daydreamed about how nice the garden will look once we get it straight from the ravages of winter.

Eve came over to pick up her mail and bring me some pamphlets discarded from the Friends of the Library culling. She took us out for a nice lunch at Dave’s then Gin & I went to the library to stock up on books for next week.

Sunday, March 6, 2005
Ginny & I chose to skip church this morning and go bird watching along a section of the Jacksonville to Baldwin Rails To Trails path.

Organizers of this project revamp abandoned railroad tracks to make long hiking trails. The section we strolled was paved about eight feet wide with cleared right of way to either side of the path. We strolled past farmland and ponds and pinewoods. The number of cyclists and walkers using the trail surprised me. I thought the path would be little known but a lot of people were on the trail enjoying a beautiful day.

Next time I’ll bring a camera.

The only untoward incident was that Ginny stumbled, spraining and bruising her ankle (especially worrisome because she is diabetic and a foot injury can be serious). But once I got her home I filled a Ziploc freezer bag with ice and kept her foot elevated and warped for the rest of the day as we watched library videos.

Our friend Rick, A Neighborhood Watch Block Captain, came over to tell us that a new neighbor, a young man , father of an eight-month-old baby, died suddenly yesterday. The family just recently moved into the neighborhood. Rick and Judy, another block captain, are organizing a collection to help out the widow and children.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:04 PM

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Thursday, March 03, 2005


If what Jesus Christ says if false, then nothing matters; if what Jesus Christ says is true, then nothing else matters.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:02 PM

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Polishing a Manuscript

Wes took me to breakfast at Whiteway Delicatessen, a hangout for Jacksonville’s Movers and Shakers. Although I number among the moved and shook, I enjoyed the breakfast anyhow.

Wes, a master printer, has been proofreading my book The Lazarus Projects and has been invaluable in catching typos. Apparently I can not spell the word BUILT; I get it wrong just about every time I use it.

Wes also critiqued the plot of the novel bringing into play his extensive knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. He says he’s going to write a review of The Lazarus Projects for the Lulu site.

After we corrected the proofs, we spent a couple of hours talking about free will and various sections of Scripture which puzzle me.

When he left, I worked updating www.cowart.info adding a sampling of Donald’s photos of Jacksonville’s Old City Cemetery. I need to go out there again to gather more information for the captions.

I also outlined a Rabid Fundamentalist column for March; I’m basing this one on that Elkhorn Pipe that I still haven’t managed to get a picture of in this blog. I should be ready for the website in a day or two.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 10:00 PM

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