Rabid Fun

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Don’t Have A Title For This Post Because I don’t Know What’s Going On

Monday I went with my brother to attend the funeral of a younger cousin.

The pastor spoke on the first five verses of Psalm 31 and moved from there to the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

Members of my mother’s extended family packed the funeral home chapel. I helped the funeral director bring in extra chairs but even so there were eight of us standing against the back wall while several mothers with small children remained in the hall outside.

I saw many familiar faces. Faces I remember from my youth as belonging to old folks, but the odd thing is that these faces are now on people younger than I am. Family features are strongly stamped on people.

I felt so nervous about being exposed to the ridicule and censure of all these people again, that I spent the whole day psyching up for the encounter.

I have not been to any extended family gathering for years since they ostracized me and my family, and dropped us after my father died. As always, I felt like the failure. poor relation, family fool, village idiot, being barely tolerated among the successful. They’ll let anybody into a funeral, you know.

My brother really did not need my support although he’d insisted that I come with him. His wife was along for that. (Ginny was still at work and couldn’t be with me).

However, I tried to stay out of the way and not offend anybody again. I kept my guard up to avoid injury. I spent the whole time walking on eggs but nobody threw rocks. I paid my respects to the dead and I survived the contact with the extended family without being wounded so I suppose it was ok.

When I got home, Ginny cooked me a hamburger and, without speaking to me because she knew how on edge I’d be after this ordeal, sat me down to watch the Incredible Hulk on video.

It’s nice to fit in someplace.

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 @ 5:52 AM

Your comments are welcome: 5 comments

Monday, February 27, 2006

And The Gold Medal Goes To ....

The information came at me in a rush.

In the restaurant at breakfast yesterday, Ginny & I started talking about restaurants we might try someday and I mentioned one I’ve heard about but never been to and she said the place disappointed her when she’d been there and I ask when she’d ever been to that restaurant and she said, “Oh some of us went over there for lunch when the building was evacuated during one of the bomb threats. I had a shrimp salad and …”

“Whoa! Back up there a minute! Bomb Threat! What Bomb Threat? And what do you mean One of the Bomb Threats?” I said calmly – calmly for me, that is.

Now I should explain that while I work out of a home office, each day Ginny drives across town to an office building in a slum where, along with a hundred other people, she helps make sure that several thousand hungry children are fed and cared for.

Every day when she returns from her office, I have coffee waiting for her and we sit to sip coffee and unload to eachother the problems of the day. I tell her about the frustrations of writing; she tells me about encumbrances, contract negotiations, budget analysis, and who’s pregnant this week.

We talk like that every evening.

I don’t understand half of what she does but I do listen.

Never once has she ever mentioned bomb threats until yesterday at breakfast.

“John, it’s no big deal. It’s just one of the obstacles we have to get around to get the job done,” she said.


Just one of the obstacles.

That is what she said.

“One of the obstacles?” I said.

I knew that once a guy crashed his car into the side of her building in an apparent suicide attempt and that a few weeks ago a stabbing victim had staggered in off the street. Those things made the evening news.

So yesterday over pancakes, she now also mentioned that in the six months since her office moved to the new building that six times windows have been shot out.

She never mentioned these incidents before because she didn’t want me to worry.

“It’s no big deal,” she said.

“There’s only a small window in my cubicle and it’s high up and I duck my head when I pass it,” she said.

Such things are “just obstacles” to getting the job done, to getting the children fed.

She and her co-workers get past such obstacles every day.

And the administration feels they have to lay off 20 percent of these people who are working to overcome such obstacles. There are budgetary conciderations.

And tonight on tv I see that they hand out Gold Medals to guys who only slide down icy hills on their asses.

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 @ 5:42 AM

Your comments are welcome: 7 comments

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"Despise Not The Day Of Small Things"

Saturday morning Ginny & I went out to breakfast at Denny’s and found the place so crowded and the staff so rushed that when we found a booth there was no placemat on the table.

What a drag.

I love restaurant placemats. For as long as I can remember I’ve had the habit of turning the placemats over and drawing little pictures on the white side. I draw stick figures of birds or elephants or scrolls or camels or anything the conversations around me suggest. I do this almost unconsciously while paying close attention to the person I’m with as we talk. Ginny finds this amusing.

When the food arrives at the table I flip the placemat back over and the world tragically looses another example of great art.

But our table had no placemat yesterday.

The harried waitress did stop to tell us that she’s changing jobs and moving to another restaurant a few miles away and we promised to go there next week to see her in her new environment.

Now, here’s an odd thing.

Neither Ginny nor I can remember first meeting.

We are deeply in love and we’ve been married for 38 years but we can’t remember when we first met. We were both connected with a large church youth group back in the 1960s and to each of us, for the longest time the other was just part of the crowd, background noise to the group’s activities.

So it was definitely not a case of love at first sight.

There wasn’t any first sight.

But one night after a prayer meeting, the gang went to a Hot Shoppe restaurant and packed around a couple of tables pushed together to make room for everybody. Being the shy person I am, I wrangled a place in the corner so I didn’t have to speak to anybody. I turned over my placemat and began to draw as usual not really paying attention to the others who were engaged in animated conversations.

A hand with a pencil appeared at the edge of my vision and began adding features to my drawing. It was this girl seated beside me. This shy girl who never had anything to say in group meetings. I’d seen her around but I didn’t even know her name. I drew a hammer. She drew a house. I drew an alligator. She drew a squirrel.

Neither of us spoke a word for the longest time….

And out of such a small beginning grew a lifelong friendship, a torrid love affair, a joyous companionship, a thriving family, a contented old age.

There’s no particular point to this posting…

I’m just remembering.

And smiling.

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 @ 7:48 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Yep, I’d say that’s a mammal alright.

Anyone who has read my novel Glog , or about my bird watching activities in this blog, knows that natural history interests me.

Since I was a Boy Scout, I’ve found fossils fascinating. Our troop used to go to an abandoned phosphate quarry and collect the huge teeth of Carchadrodon Megalodon, the giant shark that used to haunt Florida when the whole state was underwater

And I once spent a happy vacation with a group doing an underwater survey of fossil and Indian remains in a Florida spring.

And I have prowled the Calvert Cliffs fossil bed where Glog found his baculum and explored caves looking for fossils deep underground.

Yes, I’ve always been interested in fossils, so I often read about new discoveries in paleontology whenever I see a news item about them.

Friday, scientists announced they have uncovered a fossil mammal which they say is older than any previously found.

I understand that newspaper editors do not always pay attention to what they are doing, but some mistakes should ring a bell with a proofreader shoewhere.…

Am I the only one to think this news report on fossils is hilarious?

Here is a verbatim copy, including graphic, from this morning's South Coast Today, Standard Times newspaper:

New fossil overturns previous ideas of Jurassic mammals

The discovery of a furry, beaver-like animal that lived at the time of dinosaurs has overturned more than a century of scientific thinking about Jurassic mammals.
The find shows that the ecological role of mammals in the time of dinosaurs was far greater than previously thought, said Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of vertebrate paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
The animal is the earliest swimming mammal to have been found and was the most primitive mammal to be preserved with fur, which is important to helping keep a constant body temperature, Luo said in a telephone interview.
For over a century, the stereotype of mammals living in that era has been of tiny, shrew-like creatures scurrying about in the underbrush trying to avoid the giant creatures that dominated the planet, Luo commented.
Now, a research team that included Luo has found that 164 million years ago, the newly discovered mammal with a flat, scaly tail like a beaver, vertebra like an otter and teeth like a seal was swimming in lakes and eating fish.
The team, led by Qiang Ji of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing, discovered the remains in the Inner Mongolia region of China.
They report their findings in today's issue of the journal Science.
Matthew Carrano, curator of dinosaurs at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, called the find "a big deal."

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 @ 5:40 AM

Your comments are welcome: 5 comments

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Machine, she now work

My computer server has been busted since Wednesday, Feb. 15th, so I have not been able to post blogs, get site e-mail, comment, update my website or do much else except eat donuts.

Did anybody notice?

Anyhow, following are a number of blog postings I would have made if I could (The one about the nutria is the most interesting if you want to skip the others).

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 @ 10:58 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Why I'm Not A Best Selling Novelist

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Server is still down so I can post nothing, not can I receive e-mail.

Apparently the tech support people in Calcutta or maybe it’s a kid running a Fortune 500 internet company out of his garage in Cleveland took a three-day weekend to celebrate President’s day and have not worked to get my sites back up. I didn’t know they celebrated President’s Day in Calcutta.

Anyhow, apparently my server hard drive won’t get hard. Therefore it can’t perform as it should. Sometimes, I know the feeling.

As Ginny got in the car to leave for work this morning, (she still has no definitive word about her job status but continues to labor as though the office depended on her efforts alone)….

Anyhow, as she got in the car I was wondering why my most recent book manuscript could be posted to the printer. I wondered if the devil was blocking my work, or if perhaps God is delaying publication for some timing reason of His own?

Ginny quipped, “Love, I think they’ve called a truce and are cooperating on this one”.

That’s what I get for marrying a literary critic.

Interesting thing this morning: I went to the doctor’s office for a blood test to check my cholesterol and such. A young man was just ahead of me at the lab. He wore brown work boots encrusted with mud, faded jeans, a company tee shirt indicating he was a construction worker and he sported bulging biceps and abs showing off his strength.

When the nurse put the needle in his arm, he fainted.

She and another nurse revived him and offered him a paper cup of water. He lifted it to his lips, saw the needle and fainted again spilling the water all down the front of him.

This was so curious to me.

Back in the mid 1960s I was already a member of the ten galleon club as a blood donor and it’s incomprehensible to me that anyone would be bothered by a nurse drawing blood. I usually watch the procedure or don’t notice it at all. So I was amazed at this young man’s reaction. God has made us all different about such things.

One other thing to catch up: While I’ve not been able to write online, I’ve been reading. When writers don’t write, they read. My reading this past week convinces me that I’ll never make it as a novelist.

I read this mystery that’s been on the New York Times best seller list as well as on the Waldenbooks and B.Dalton best seller lists.

Here is a quote from this novel:

“She caught her breath with a strange trepidation as she felt his crushing manhood poised on the very brink of her feminine core… He pushed his knee between her silky thighs and tasted the dark grape that tipped her breast… Slowly he thrust into her , taking his time so that he could experience every centimeter of her clinging, velvety core.”

This went on for eight pages!

I’ll never make it as a novelist.

If I were writing that scene, I’d use only five words — not one of them would be core.

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 @ 10:55 AM

Your comments are welcome: 1 comments

Monday, Feb. 20th

Today, Server has been down for almost a week now so I can't post a blog, use site e-mail, or do many such things yet. Donald is working on it...

Ginny & I watched the Olympics some on tv last night... we concluded that while we may not be much physically, we are ice dancers of the spirit.

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 @ 10:51 AM

Your comments are welcome: 0 comments

Saw A Varmit

Ginny and I wasted Saturday running around doing necessary household chores such as grocery shopping.

We enjoyed a late lunch on the deck of Harpoon Louie’s overlooking Fishwier Creek. We saw three different species of heron hunting within a few feet of each other; a great blue, a white and a tri-color. The white and the blue are static hunters while the tri-color is an active hunter so it was interesting to watch their different methods of stalking prey, each effective in its way.

We spotted an animal swimming briskly under the bridge and watched it climb out of the water onto the far bank. It was a nutria, a large invasive rodent from South America. It’s similar to a 30-pound beaver only it has a rat tail instead of a flatten one. I have never seen one in the wild before. I’d heard they have reached Florida by way of Louisiana and they present a problem in th at they undermine rivebanks and destroy marshland. Some states, such as Maryland, actually have programs to eradicate them. Not a bad idea because essentially they are nothing but big ass rats.

Nevertheless, it was interesting to see one.

There used to be a good sized alligator that lived in the mouth of the creek just off Louie’s deck but somebody decided it was a nuisance gator because customers in waterfront restaurants wound toss it tidbits. So Fish & Game officers trapped it and (killed?) removed it. The nutria has no natural enemies in North America so it breeds unobstructed; but if they’d left the gator alone, I imagine he would have thinned the colony of them in no time — unless the varmint really did prefer luscious Avondale children from Fishwier Elementary School just across the bridge.

I think it would be cool to watch a gator feed as I enjoyed my own dinner. Besides, who’d really miss those skateboarders who make such a ruckus on the concrete bridge footings right beside the restaurant?

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 @ 10:43 AM

Your comments are welcome: 0 comments

My Machine, She is broke

Friday (2/17)I worked indexing Strangers On The Earth.

Unfortunately, I hit two snags.

First, the computer server is down today; that means I can neither update my Blog nor post anything on my webside.

Next, I worded for hours indexing the wrong version of Strangers; that is, I indexed a backup copy which I had not updated so the pagination is different from the version I’ll send to the printer. This goof came about because I was not paying attention to what I was doing.

Back to the drawing board.


Ginny came home from her office still not knowing here job status. After telling everyone two months ago that today 22 of the 105 people working in the office would be laid off, today the administration made no announcement at all. This leaves Ginny and everyone else there to spend the weekend in limbo.

Sometimes I wonder if satan himself does not top the organizational chart in most businesses. However, the Lord’s kingdom is not of this world and out job and joy is to fit into His plans whatever is going on in the world at the same time.

After dinner out, we did watch the vcr of Hercules And The Captive Women: This king kidnaps Hercules and put him aboard this ship bound to conquer Atlantis where the evil queen is sacrificing luscious young girls to a volcano and where all the palace guards dress in black armor. And Hercules plugs up the mouth of the volcano with bad guys he lifts above his head to throw in the hole while girls cling to his sweaty chest while their white negligees (which never get dirty even in the cave) threaten to slip off their shoulders and this dragon bites the heads off the guys Hercules throws in the hole and it snaps and bites and claws and Hercules lifts this boulder and … I fell asleep.

Good thing.

It would spoil the movie for you if I revealed the ending now.

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 AM

Your comments are welcome: 0 comments

Friday, February 17, 2006

How Dedicated Christians Handle Anxiety

Well, it’s Friday and my Thursday was a carbon copy of my Wednesday.

Ah, the romance and excitement of a writer’s life.

I enjoyed the thrilling adventure of sitting 12 hours at my desk searching for punctuation mistakes in the Strangers ms. Know how when you’ve been out in a row boat all day and come home at night but the boat is still rocking even though you’re not in it? Well, I close my eyes and still see a computer screen floating before me.

However, the last remaining task with this book is formatting the index and I’ll be all set to send it off to the printer for proof pages — which I am confident will not reveal one single mistake this time. HA!

Also, today Ginny should find out if she’s among the 22 people being laid off at her office. We probably should feel more anxious about this.

I can’t tell if we are in a state of holy resignation to accept the will of God in the matter, or if we are in a state of stunned denial — but the end result for us is pretty much the same: We just don’t give a damn what happens.

You know, there’s just so much crap, even tragedy, you can take before going into system overload and shutting down. At that point you just go into familiar routine ignoring the irritants around you; like during the Great Fire of Jacksonville in 1901, there was a lady who escaped carrying an empty canary cage, and a man who rescued a bundle of old newspapers from his burning home.

I can’t say that Ginny and I are in that state of shock but there may be a few symptoms… For instance:

Nothing much on tv so we have been enjoying some black and white 1950s science fiction vcrs. These movies didn’t make B Grade when they first came out and the years have not improved them a bit. Yet we have enjoyed them thoroughly even with the tin pie plate flying saucers. This week we’ve watched such thrillers as Teenagers From Outer Space, The Amazing Transparent Man, Bloodtide, The Brain Machine, and Hercules Against The Moon Men — and no, we don’t own these, we check them out of the public library. These things were cheesy when I saw them in theatres as a kid, but they are just our speed at the moment.

I suppose if we were a more pious couple we’d fast and pray about our situation, but to tell the truth, tonight we intend to watch Hercules And The Captive Women — with popcorn.

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 @ 6:26 AM

Your comments are welcome: 0 comments

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Only a prayer

Of course, since I wrote about some exciting adventures of the Christian life yesterday, nothing at all of significance happened in my life today.

I sat at my computer all day proofreading copy.

So I have nothing special to say.

I find it much easier to jabber about God than to listen to Him.

A thing that helps a little is that each morning I receive a devotional e-mail from http://www.rdex.net/devotions.php . That helps me focus somewhat on the Lord.

Here’s a prayer from yesterday’s e-mail:

Lord, help me to glorify Thee.
I am poor, help me to glorify Thee by contentment;
I am sick, help me to give Thee honour by patience;
I have talents, help me to extol Thee by spending them for Thee;
I have time, Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve Thee;
I have a heart to feel, Lord, let that heart feel no love but Thine, and glow with no flame but affection for Thee;
I have a head to think, Lord, help me to think _of_ Thee and _for_ Thee;
Thou hast put me in this world for something, Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose:
I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two mites, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into Thy treasury;
I am all Thine; take me, and enable me to glorify Thee _now_, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.

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 @ 5:40 AM

Your comments are welcome: 7 comments

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Invitation To Join The Parade

Bogged down preparing my book cover for Strangers On The Earth yesterday. I did all I could then e-mailed the result for Donald and Helen to repair the damage.

Ginny spent the entire day in a mega-meeting reviewing 36 grant contracts to disperse 13 million dollars for various worthy charities. She still has no word on whether or not she’ll be laid off Friday but she still keeps plugging away at the duties of the day as though there were no sword hanging over her head.

Last night she was amazed that I’d found those photos of my beard that I posted. Those pictures are from the Dark Ages (late 1960s or early ‘70s). We laughed to think we were once so young.

For six or seven years back then, I worked nights and volunteered at a sort of half-way house for drug addicts and street people. One of the odd things I did there for several years was to design and build parade floats for the annual opening day of the beaches parades.

We used the floats both as fun projects for the kids but also as evangelistic tools. We passed out religious tracts along the parade route. Then after the parade we’d park the float on the beach and I’d use it as a platform to speak to the crowds.

Have I mentioned that I am one of the shyest people in the world?

I really am.

During any of the evangelistic street I ever led, I never raised my voice or spoke to anyone who did not speak to me first. The way this worked was that I’d set my easel up somewhere, say in a park, and begin painting a stick-figure drawing and never say a word till people gathered to watch and someone would ask what I was painting. I’d say it’s a picture that tells a story and go from there.

Anyhow, we’d use the parade floats as a platform for that sort of thing.

Last night seeing those old photos, which had been packed away in a drawer for years, reminded Ginny and me of some of the odd things we enjoyed back in those days.

Here are a couple of more photos of two parade floats we made in different years. This first one is Noah’s Ark. The base was an abandoned boat trailer. The ark cabin is a bunk bed covered with cardboard; teens inside the cabin poked animal hand puppets through the port holes. The giraffe is a dog skull mounted on a fishing pole with the neck covered by the arms of an old coat. Notice the stuffed Snoopy on the roof.


The Lord has given me this odd knack for seeing one thing and transposing that shape into another thing at a different angle. For instance, the lion on this next float (about persecution) is a rusty gas can fixed to a board and covered with the insulation from an abandoned freezer. This float won the trophy as Most Outstanding in the parade. Some companies spent thousands of dollars sponsoring commercially designed floats in this same parade. But by scrounging in the trash for bits of this and that, I produced our float for only $5 cash money. (I spent the cash on smoke bombs to go at the feet of John Hus being burned at the stake).

Anyhow, this photo shows one of only about three or four times Ginny spoke to the crowds ever. Normally that is just not her thing, she’s quieter and shyer than I am. But on this one occasion she felt she should be the one talking so she did.

You know, I often hear young people complain about being bored and having nothing to do, I hear more mature folks say how empty and meaningless their lives feel. The poor things don’t have a clue. I think that when a person chooses to follow Jesus, they are in for a blast! I suppose folks who are not Christians are able to have a bit of fun now and then… but they miss out on so much.

I think that’s a crying shame.

Want adventure in your life? Then just follow Jesus and go with the flow. Take a better camera than we did. It’s amazing the things you will 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 @ 6:58 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Life As A Great Master

Monday I had a blast playing with graphics for book illustrations and Gimp software trying to make a bookcover for Strangers On The Earth. After many mistakes, I’m beginning to get the hang of it. The problem is that I can’t decide which of my exquisite designs I want to use. They’re all wonderful (If you like my sort of art, that is).

The afternoon mail brought my corrected proof copies of A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad. I double checked pagination, index correlation, etc. Looks as perfect as I can make it. Thanks be to God! It’s now available for sale on my www.bluefishbooks.info storefront. Bring a fist full of money and get in line for your copy.

I need to celebrate.

I haven’t been celebrating small victories enough recently.

Life’s too short and tough not to celebrate every victory you can; if you don’t mark even the small things by rewarding yourself some little something, then you tend to forget triumphs and only remember bad nasties in life. That’s a downer…

I’m going to have to think about that for a bit. At the moment, any reward that occurs to me to give myself is immoral. Yes, I’m going to have to think about this a bit more. But I feel I deserve something. I just can’t decide what right now.

Yesterday my friend Barbara came over between one doctor’s visit and another. Last week she broke a toe stumbling over her own aluminum walker! She has one of those electric scooters to get around the old folks home but the tire had gone flat and she fell over her walker on the way to the dining hall.

I comforted her by saying her accident can’t be blamed on old age, she’s always been clumsy.

I took her out to breakfast at Dave’s. One of my waiter friends there has started growing a Captain Ahab beard. He didn’t believe me when I told him that 30 years ago I grew that same style beard. So, Chris, here are two photos to prove it.

Way back then, in a mad fit of evangelistic fervor, I used to spread the Gospel by doing paintings in city parks as part of street preaching. Not many souls were saved but many people found it amusing to see a guy as shy as I am doing this. This first photo was taken at the slave market in St. Augustine; notice my cool beard:

This second photo was taken when I was invited to teach a lesson at a Korean Church. And, no, I do not speak Korean. For the honor of speaking in their church, I learned to draw the letters and say five words which were the main points of my lesson. Again, notice my debonair whiskers:


Oh, the question I painted at the top of the easel asks, “What Is God Like”. The five points of my drawings and the Korean words down the side say:

* God is Great
* God is Holy
* God is Light
* God is Love
* God is Near.

Ah yes, as you can see from my drawings, the world lost a great artist, comparable to Rim Brant or Van Go, when I turned from painting to writing. And, before I finally shaved it off, that beard grew long enough to tuck under my belt!

So, being the renaissance man that I am, I’m having great fun not only writing Strangers but also designing my own book cover for it. Having such varied talents humbles me — but not much.

Oh, yes, one other thing. This will be posted on Valentine’s Day but Ginny and I do not pay any attention to any holidays except Easter, Christmas and our anniversary. We were just as in love last Thursday as we are today so we feel no need to do anything different than on any other day. But for those of you who do observe the day, I wish you love and 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 @ 6:14 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Monday, February 13, 2006

Fun Sunday & Undie Monday

Two happy things to blog about this morning: Fun Sunday and Undie Monday.

Fun Sunday: On her drive to work each morning Ginny has to pass through a slum where she sees various odd things.

As a special treat for me, Sunday she took me to see an odd standpipe exposed by demolition. She knows I am enamored of photographing beautiful things which have been unintentional created by people, things I term organic art. So she knew that I’d love this standpipe. We had a wonderful time taking pictures of that as well as the decorations on a brick wall of a neighborhood storefront church.

I’ve posted some of the photos we took over on the blog sidebar in John’s Gallery under the title Urban Art In Jacksonville.

A funny thing happened during our breakfast at Dave’s Diner, a spot where we have hung out often for years, where we never need to look at a menu, and where we have an easy relationship with the staff.

When the waiter came over for our order, he greeted, “Ginny, I’m glad to see you with him this morning instead of one of those strange women he usually brings in here”.

I reached across the table, took her hand and said, “Sweetheart, I don’t know any woman stranger than you”.

The three of us cackled like fools.

Great fun on a cold Sunday morning.


Undie Monday: No, don’t get all excited; this has no relation to Half-Nakkid Thursdays which some of my e-friends observe by posting photos of themselves in various states of undress every Thursday.

This is something different.

My librarian daughter told me about Undie Monday the other day when I took her to lunch.

In the past I’ve written about her library’s fighting rattlesnakes which like to sun on the warm concrete walk at the front door. I’ve written about how her library lets kids who are slow readers come in to sit on a blanket and read stories to dogs. Her library sponsors a program where readers knit warm afghans for an old folks home up in the cold frozen north. And her library sponsors a program to cull Jacksonville libraries of duplicate books to replenish the stock of libraries flooded by Hurricane Katrina.

But, now her library is collecting underwear.

While working at various rescue missions, I’ve noticed myself that while donors generously give coats and pants and sweaters, they seldom donate underwear. The clothing centers often fall short in that department.

Well, to fill this gap, the libraries of Jacksonville act as collection points for brand new still-in-the-package underwear and socks in children’s sizes. Library staff and readers bring such underwear to local libraries and on a Monday in March (hence the name Undie Monday) these items will be gathered for distribution to the poor by a charity called Dignity U Wear.’

What makes this extra fun at my daughter’s library is that some wag began attaching the donated underwear to a plant to create an underwear tree!

And here’s the amazing thing: along with snakes, dogs, underwear, afghans, and all that stuff — the library also occasionally circulates books.

I wonder why the library system buys so few of the books I write?

I think it’s because they waste all their funds on this other stuff.

It is entirely possible to read a book while wearing no under garments whatsoever.

I do it all the time.

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 @ 8:54 AM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cow Catapulting Cowarts

Saturday most of the family gathered at Jennifer’s house for an impromptu party for no other reason that we haven’t had a get together since Christmas. Pat is down with a cold and fever. Jennifer grilled steaks outdoors and we all brought in food of various sorts with no coordination or planning.

It was a feast.

Eve gave Donald a Monty Python Cow Catapult so we all gathered round the table shooting cows into the air and catching them. Growing tried of that, we placed bits of dry dog food in the catapult and shot it across the room to see Jennifer’s five little Mexican dogs that nobody can spell scramble for the tidbits.

Great fun.

It doesn’t take much to amuse Cowarts.

Pat’s six-year-old niece was there having a blast but no one could get a word in edgewise because of the chatterbox. Jennifer said that she couldn’t imagine how Ginny and I raised six kids without resorting to drugs or drink. She asked how we avoided drowning one or another of them in the bathtub… I told her that we were going to, but some other kid always interrupted.

It really does take the grace of God to raise children. I can’t imagine how we did it… but here we are with them all grown and now they are our best friends.

Helen came with Donald and she told me that with the pressure of her regular job, she is not able to illustrate the book we’ve talked about.

On one hand, I’m disappointed because she’s so talented and does such a fine job and makes it look so easy.

On the other hand, I’m relieved because I get to do the cover design myself.. So when Ginny and I got back to our house, while she dabbled in the kitchen, I tried a few things with graphic files on my computer and had a blast. I really believe I can do this.

I resist learning new things because they stretch my mind and my mind does not like to get stretched.

In thinking about what a help Helen and everyone else in the family has been to me in my writing projects, my mind began wandering back to recall how many wonderful people have helped me in the past… I like to think of myself as independent, a lone artist sitting in my lonely room creating great literature — What a false picture. Dozens and dozens of people have helped me over the years. I write while standing on the backs of many good friends that I had almost forgotten in my arrogance over being a self-made man.

A writer does not work alone — but those people are the ones who can’t spell Chihuahuas.

Anyhow, all evening Ginny nestled down on my shoulder as we snuggled under a blanket laughing at British comedies on tv. It’s been a wonderful day.

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 @ 6:40 AM

Your comments are welcome: 5 comments

Friday, February 10, 2006

I have no idea what to call this

It’s 1 a.m. now and I began formatting the Joseph Piram King autobiography at 3 a.m. yesterday. It's only 48 pages but I've worked on this thing steady for four days now.

I’m a little tired.

Wes’s great-great-grandfather began his career as a butcher supplying meat to Confederate forces in Wilmington, N.C. during the Civil War. He was converted and became a Baptist preacher for a time but changed his doctrinal views to become an Advent Christian and was tried for heresy. When the Baptist Association put him out, he became an Adventist preacher. And seeing the need for a doctor to work among poor people, he studied medicine to become a physician. His wife of 59 years died shortly before their anniversary and on the eve of what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary and while on his sickbed, he dictated his autobiography to a daughter who wrote it down in pencil in school notebooks. He dwells more on their love affair than on either preaching or medicine.

I scanned in the text from pages done on an ancient manual typewriter and the scanner refuses to recognize anyspacebetweenanywords and the spaces have to be inserted one at a time.

The thing is a bitch to format.

The highpoint of my day was lunch with my daughter Eve. We had a delightful time as she advised me about books and life. She loves my jokes – hardly choked at all.

A minor crisis this evening made me think the king autobiography had already been published, but Ginny checked the Library of Congress catalogue and discovered that the copyright on that edition was from 1898. For a few hours there, I though I’d done all this work for nothing. I was in a rage kicking my own ass over my own stupidity. I’m glad she discovered that I was wrong and all upset over nothing … as is usually the case.

Tough day, but Jesus is Lord of the tough as well as the dull.

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 @ 1:31 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lord Of The Dull

Yesterday I sat at my desk all day formatting Wes’ manuscript.

When Ginny came home, we made a fruit salad for an office breakfast, then she read all evening while I continued to work.

Jesus is Lord of even the dullest days.

Here’s a happy Bible verse:

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a hope and a future.”

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 @ 3:55 AM

Your comments are welcome: 5 comments

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Are All Writers Nuts?

First in local news: About dawn yesterday a man dressed in an animal costume broke into a historic lighthouse just a few miles south of my home. He barricaded the door then climbed the lighthouse circular stairway (219 stairs) up to the catwalk, 165 feet above the ground. Then he climbed over the lantern and up onto the cupola dome. Hanging from the flagpole up there he unfurled two signs. These signs promoted a book he had written.

Yes, he was a writer wanting to advertise his book.

Cops arrested him for breaking into the historic monument and he’s in jail today.

No permanent damage was done to the lighthouse which was built in 1871.

Oh, the animal costume?

Of course, he dressed up as a cat, what else.

I’ve decided not to mention the author’s name of the title of his book but if you want to search Google for it, try the key word, asshole.

Speaking of history writers: my friend Wes and I went out to breakfast yesterday. Most of our conversation revolved around two things, publishing a history Wes’ great-great-grandfather wrote, and deathbed conversion.

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about a dying atheist being cared for by a group of volunteers from a local church? Wes tells me the man became a Christian shortly before his death this weekend.

I have mixed feelings about such things.

On one hand I realize that Christ is able to save to the uttermost. To a thief nailed to the cross beside Him, Jesus said, “Today, shall you be with me in paradise.”

Obviously, when you realize that Hey, my parachute didn’t open, is not the best time to start praying. And, come right down to it, every bed we lie on is a deathbed, we are all dying, fast or slow. So I think last minute conversion is possible, but not smart.

On the other hand, I’m inclined to agree with Methodist founder John Wesley who told a crowd, “You can’t live a goat and die a lamb”.

But whatever, a number of people are rejoicing because the dying atheist made a commitment to Christ in his last extremity.

Concerning the life history of Wes’s ancestor: Joseph Piram King died in 1948 just before his hundredth birthday. Bedridden from age he called on his daughter Theodocia Ithiel Grant to write his memories as he dictated. She wrote out the old man’s words with a pencil in a school composition book. Years ago Wes used a manual typewriter to transcribe her jottings.

These papers are important to Wes as part of his family heritage. I think this manuscript is worth saving for its historic content and I want to preserve it. Local history buffs and researchers will find it fascinating but I doubt if anyone else will buy a copy.

So, this week I’m scanning in the typescript into my computer and formatting it into a small book. This is a pain because the pages have many crinkles that scan in as symbols and it’s a mess to clean up…

And although the manuscript contains many redundancies, spelling and grammatical errors, Wes insists that it be presented verbatim with no editing at all.

He’s adamant about this.

This vexes me because I see where the manuscript can be cleaned up and made more readable and understandable…. I care about such things… but I also don’t care. It’s not my baby, I’m just helping.

The editor says, “How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?”

The writer says “I ain’t changing a damn thing!”

Since I’m willing to help with this history book project but I’m not emotionally tied to it. — When it comes time to promote the book, if you see some guy in a cat costume on top of a lighthouse waving a sign– that’ll be Wes.

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 @ 6:03 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

200 Minutes

Yesterday, an elderly couple from down the street walked to my house to ask my help with a technological problem.

They came to the right place.

After all, I am King of the Geriatric Geeks.

You see, neither of these old folks is able to read or write. But they know that I can. Each of them has medical conditions and it’s not unusual to see a city rescue ambulance parked in front of their house with paramedics running in and out.

One of their granddaughters, knowing the old folks are shaky (they are as old as I am) and that they had no telephone, gave them a cell phone and a prepaid card with 200 minutes on it.

Problem is that you have to activate this device and manually add the minutes to it’s memory bank. This involves calling an 800 number at the prepay company, then going on the internet, punching in the 800 number there, then the cell phone number with area code, then a 15-digit IFD number (which you find by scratching an emulsion off the card), then punching in an 11-digit access code number, then there’s a 13-digit number just for the hell of it and then…

So, they brought this thing to me.

I talked on a cell phone once.

Ginny turned it on, punched in the phone number, and handed the tinny tiny phone to me and I talked.

Thus, being an experienced cell phone user, I had no idea how to activate the old folk’s telephone. Complicating matters, my macular degeneration makes if difficult for me to see those little buttons. So I used a real telephone to call a friend who has a cell phone and I ask him how he turns it on.

He explained the complex process to me in layman’s terms, “I always let my wife do that,” he said.

I admitted to Bubba and Dolly, my elderly friends, that I could be of no help. But they urged me to try to do this for them anyhow.

I said a silent prayer and called the cell phone company’s helpful answering machine in Calcutta. I counted the number of digits on the scratch & sniff card and punched in 13 of them, guessing which of the dot-matrix things are zeros (0), capital Os or maybe the letter D – 0OD they all look the same to my degenerate eyes.

Bubba and Dolly hovered on the edges of their chairs. I punched in 11-digit numbers and 15 digit numbers. We made a wild guess at whether the next number string was a IFG number or a SIG-2 number because you enter them differently but the instructions don’t tell you which is which.

It took us 45 minutes to do all this.

Then a message appeared on the screen: WAIT 15 MINUTES.

So we waited.

I often wonder if my dabbling at writing books on this computer is serving God or just indulging my own vanity. Hardly anybody reads my stupid books. What use are they. What use is this computer? Do I make any difference in the kingdom of Christ on earth at all with this thing? I thought about such things as we waited making small talk about children and grandchildren.

Dolly’s phone rang!

It was the prepay company.

The phone worked!

The three of us cheered. We stood up and hugged each other. We laughed like fools. We celebrated. We cried. We had beaten technology. The damn phone worked. It will keep working for 200 minutes.

I don’t know if my writing website, books and blog on this computer advances the kingdom of God or man… but I think that getting that cell phone to work for two old folks who can never read anything I will ever write was probably the best use I’ve ever put this computer to.

Thanks be to God.

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 @ 6:47 AM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Monday, February 06, 2006

Did You See My Superbowl Commercial?

Superbowl commercials last night cost $5,000,000 per minute, so I could only afford a 30-second spot to advertise my books. Didn’t you thrill to see the world famous Cowart Clodsdale horses pull that wagon filled with cases of my books? No? Phooy! No one I ask saw my commercial! No wonder. The World Association of Residential Plumbers (WARP) reports that during my 30-second spot, every toilet in America flushed!
My entire advertising budget for my books… down the drain.

Oh well, as my Dad used to say whenever he handed the cashier money to pay a bill, “Don’t worry about it, there’s plenty more where that went.”

Now, if anybody wants to see my new book, they have to click on www.bluefishbooks.info .

I'll spend today with a shovel. Stupid bigassed horses! I'm thinking Alpo!

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 @ 6:07 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Sunday, February 05, 2006

E-People I Absolutely E-Love

In the year I've been posting a blog, I have come to e-love the e-people I have met.

Here are a few of them listed with some reasons I like them so much. Please check out their sites and say hello.

I’m doing it this way because in the Computers For Senile Seniors course I took at the library, I never learned how to work that sidebar thing. And if my list is not exactly alphabetical it’s because I never learned the alphabet all that well either.

Big White Hat — http://bigwhitehat.blogspot.com/ — Intriguing guy. This is the man John Wayne wanted to be. Of course, he’s from Texas, where else. And he writes children’s books. His autistic son, Tiger, inspires inspiring posts on this blog.

Boobs — http://boobsinjuriesanddrpepper.blogspot.com/ — Ever try to breast feed a kitten? She got a great new dog, Dusty. Neutered him. Her daughter keeps a pet rat; it’s neurotic.. Arthritis makes her type with one hand better than I can type with two.

Career Guy — http://careerguy.blogspot.com/ He’s back to work after a two-week Caribbean cruise. But don’t hate him, he’s worried about getting stuck in an elevator. He’s not a wiseguy – he’s a wise man.

Chris — http://chrismacfie.blogspot.com/ Stand aside. Chris, a nursing student in England, is learning to drive a car. Her normally exuberant youthful charm has been dampened a bit recently by the death of a young friend. She seeks to follow God in joy, in trials and in dissecting a heart.

Darlene — http://wwjblog.blogspot.com/ Last Friday Darlene and her friends posted the first issue of an on-line Christian Women Online, a magnificent undertaking.In her daily postings Darlene always has something worthwhile to say; although sometimes, I think she’s the sneakiest Christian on the internet. She can make a bologna sandwich into a religious experience.

Donna — http://commakat.blogspot.com/ — She dresses in black. She wears her long hair in a bun. She’s pregnant for the first time. She watches tv. She puts little suede boots on her dog. She’s a librarian who makes all this information fascinating.

Eveq — http://www.eveyq.blogspot.com/ — Rural librarian fights rattlesnakes, reads to dogs, knits afghans, plays with kitties, and spreads joy. I’m proud to call her my daughter!

Eric — http://panic-e.blogspot.com/ — This police dispatcher in Alaska collects pantyhose. He claims they are to use in case Augustine Volcano erupts. I have no doubt that he is an honest man… and a great writer.

Faith — http://faithinflorida.blogspot.com/ — She mourns for her sister who died suddenly just before Christmas, yet she keeps the faith. Her next baby is due in 143 days.

Funky Bug — http://funkybug.blogspot.com/ — A free spirit if there ever was one. And a great photographer. Her husband broke his leg recently. She says she didn’t do it. Although when she posts a rant, I wonder just what she is capable of. She put a new template on her site last week. But even though her blog is covered with liquor glasses, she’s sometimes been known to blog while sober. Don’t tell her I said so, but I think she’s a closet Puritan.

Gene — http://oldhorsetailsnake.blogspot.com/ — Think of a distinguished elderly gentleman who has mellowed with age, and you won’t be thinking of Gene. Irascible, irreverent, and wise, that’s him. At age 76, he observes the world from a nursing home in the same town where my brother-in-law is a physician. Daily, Gene posts my favorite kind of groaner jokes as well as photos and cartoons I never see anywhere else. There’s a reason for that.

Heather — http://epnurse.blogspot.com/ — This nurse in lead armor loves shiny things. Today, she uses the phrase “control freak” three times in four lines of print, but if you ever get sick, she’s the one to ask for.

Jade — http://azjade.com/archives/2005/08/18/its-all-about-the-females/ From her new home this llama lady hosts a radio blog as well as one of the most technologically sophisticated sites I’ve seen. And as a writer, well she makes peeling hardboiled eggs interesting.

Jamie — http://jamiesmindlessblather.blogspot.com/ She lost her voice but speaks eloquently and often. She claims not to be in the Federal Witness Protection Program but she’s moved seven times in the past 2 ½ years.

Jellyhead — http://jellyheadrambles.blogspot.com/ — This charming physician on the underside of the world yearns for lost love & disco dancing; her beautiful children may grow up, but I hope she never will. Her child-like sense of wonder is a delight.

Jen — http://jlkrzys.blogspot.com/ — She got the job! She got the job! She got the job! YEAH! Knew she could do it!

Just Thinking — http://theothersideofthecircle.blogspot.com/ For some reason her postings remind me of an ancient white statue of a Greek goddess standing on a green windswept hill overlooking the Aegean. Read her poetry and see for yourself.

Karen — http://nerakf.blogspot.com/ Karen, a Christian youth worker in Wales, exhibits an enthusiasm for God in her thoughts and questions. She is a lady of indisputable good taste, refinement and culture as proven by the fact that she was the very first person to ever leave a comment on my blog.

Kim — http://emergiblog.blogspot.com/ — Old-time medical ads, up-to-date medical information, a soft-caring heart, and glamour-girl charm characterize the writing of this emergency RN. I never know what to expect when I click on her site, but it’s always worthwhile.

K. Jones, King of WilkeWorld — http://wilkeworld.blogspot.com/ His royal highness is a Utah Mormon. His father-in-law shot himself in a tender place. His young daughter, Touchdown, believes God wears pink flipflops (Sept. 14th post). His Teenage daughter is a swimming champ. He sports a manatee as the mascot of his on-line kingdom… and he is a really fine writer.

Moogie — http://www.moogiesworld.com/index.php I could spend all day in Moogie’s World. Even when she blogs about troubles, she leaves readers refreshed. And she posts some of the coolest graphics anywhere.

Platypus — http://lastblogstanding.blogspot.com/ — Platypus works in an emergency room of a metropolitan hospital in Dankstown where he compassionately observes life in the raw. He also ventures into boarded-up abandoned buildings to take astounding photos. Thus, he presents readers with a double whammy well worth reading and seeing.

Robin — http://alittlebitofmetosee.blogspot.com/ — Robin recently went insane and invited eight pre-teen girls to a sleep-over for her daughter! Yet she keeps up a photo gallery with hauntingly beautiful landscapes. She must live in one of the nicest areas in the country and she posts new photos almost every day.

Seth — http://www.sethsblog.com/ — A military man recently having served in Iraq, Seth presents his unique worldview with power and cynicism. His no-crap social outlook makes me think. A lot. Not for the faint-hearted, his blog often surprises me. This guy's cooler than a polar bear's balls!

Slackv http://slackv.blogspot.com/ — This is the nicest guy I’ve ever met. This is the smartest guy I’ve ever met. He’s darn near as handsome as his dad. . He also hosts a site where you can record your dreams at http://www.dreamlibrary.org/ ; a high-tech computer journal at http://slashdot.org/%7Edcowart/journal/ ; A Geek Bible translation program at http://www.rdex.net/projects/KJV_Translation/index.php ; an on-line daily devotional program at http://www.rdex.net/devotions.php and a Linux site with a lot more stuff at http://www.rdex.net/ .

Sweetie — http://sweetietime.typepad.com/sweetietime/ — In real life, Sweetie produces live theatre plays, although she does some mundane stuff too. She’s producing Mid Summer Night’s Dream at the moment. She and my wife are among the few people in the whole world who know Accokeek.

Tony — http://fuggettaboutit.blogspot.com/ — Got to be the funniest man on the web! He’s a bank president. He’s been married 27 years - in a row! And his wife has a sword.

Waiter — http://waiterrant.net/ Waiter serves people. He also serves cuisine and find wines in an up-scale bistro. He records deep thoughts as he observes both high end clientele and street people he encounters. For instance a recent post told of sharing a genuine Cuban cigar with a bum. Another tells of a lady dinner who… Well, Waiter is too much of a gentleman to say her clothing was too tight, but he did say he could read the serial number on her breast implants.

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 @ 1:26 PM

Your comments are welcome: 14 comments

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Religious Cartoon

Ginny is sick this morning so I’m keeping her home from work. The administration still has not said if she will be among the 20 laid off at the end of the month, so I figure that if they may do without her then, they can darn sure do without her today. Of course, being the conscientious worker that she is, she wants to go in even thought she’s sick as a dog. Crazy woman!

Yesterday I finished locating misspellings, goofed punctuation, etc in my manuscript’s proof pages. God willing, I’ll make the corrections in the computer today or Monday.

The promotional blurb for this book reads:

A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad, by John Cowart, records the humor and happiness of a frustrated writer. John’s daily blog, Rabid Fun, bears the caption, “A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.” Sounds like a downer. Yet, over 104,000 readers from 102 countries visited his website in 2005. A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad reveals John’s happy joys as well as his struggles with temptation over bitterness, resentment, pornography, Microsoft, depression, laziness, Google, Blogger, pettiness, sloth, Krispy Kreme Donuts, and anger. All in all, this is a real-time love story told day by day by a man who loves reality.


This morning’s Google News cites 1,151 stories about people rioting over a cartoon. In Indonesia yesterday a mob attacked the Danish Embassy protesting a newspaper’s editorial cartoon. It’s a religious cartoon.

This interests me because the oldest picture of Jesus ever found is also a cartoon.

According to archaeologists, a soldier scratched the cartoon of Jesus on the wall of a Roman army barracks about 30 years after Christ rose from death.

This cartoon means so much to me that I keep a copy on my office wall.

Some people say it is disgusting and offensive.

They’re right.

The picture was meant to mock Jesus.

It’s been called the “Ugliest Picture On Earth”.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about this cartoon, the Alexamenos Graffiti, and what it means to me -- but before you click on the link, be forewarned that many people find the cartoon gross.

The web address for my article is http://www.cowart.info/Monthly%20Features/Ugly%20pix/Ugly%20%20pix.htm .

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 @ 4:56 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hello, Kitty. Make My Day...

While Ginny and I enjoyed our long holiday last weekend, we discussed a recurring problem.

We enjoy watching birds. We keep four birdfeeders at various places in our yard so we can see the birds wherever we sit with our morning coffee. These birdfeeders have been in the same locations for over ten years, so the birds know just where to find food as they migrate through our neighborhood.

Our feathered friends know they are welcome to eat, bathe in the birdbaths and nest in the trees on our property. Some of the same birds come year after year.

Last weekend we talked about whether it might be wise to move the feeders farther away from the house in the light of the impending bird flu epidemic which is projected to kill millions of people. One of my aunts lived through the 1918 Spanish Flue epidemic and told me all sorts of horror stories about that plague. But Ginny and I decided to leave the feeders where they are even with this threat.

But the problem with our feeders is the neighborhood cats.

These vile creatures know that birds congregate at our feeders. These cats slink through the fence and lurk beneath bushes near the feeders. When a poor defenseless bird lights on the ground to eat seed fallen from the feeders. This huge black snarling cat lunges out with claws flashing and disembowels baby birds right in front of their mother’s eyes. The cat will crunch tiny bones and scatter bloody feathers right underneath the feeders.

For evidence in case we ever have to go to court over this matter, I tried to snap photos of these atrocities but the depraved cat slinks back into the bushes too fast for my camera to catch the deprivations. So I called my artist buddy Picasso who has a quick eye for such things and he came over to hang out, sip coffee and draw a quick sketch of the cat in action. He often likes to set up his easel and paint in our backyard.

Here’s a picture Picasso whipped up for me:

Picasso suggested that we set the water sprinkler near the bushes to hinder the beast’s marauding. That worked for a few days, until the water bill came in and we found we can’t afford to keep sprinklers going 24 hours a day.

So, I walked over to the local High School and explained my problem to the kids in the science club there. My problem interested them so they broke off their class science project of producing crystal meth and began a little experiment in gene splicing and cloning to help me out. Here is the result of their work:

Here Kitty. Here Kitty! Here Kitty, Kitty.

Actually, before Oprah exposes me on her show, I confess that Picasso hardly ever drops by our house for coffee; but the fuzzy little kitten painting really is one of his.

And local high school kids did not stop making meth. No, the bird dog photo comes from a website called When Cloning Goes Bad; you can find it at: http://floatingworldweb.com/EARTHLINGZ/GALLERIES/CLONES/index.htm

I ran across dozens of such doctored photos while surfing the net the other day when I should have been working and I thought the site was such fun that I wanted to share it.

The only thing true in this posting is that bird flu is real, and cats really do haunt our birdfeeders, and that I’d always rather screw around on the net than work.

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 @ 5:57 AM

Your comments are welcome: 1 comments

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Prick In The Eye

Monday afternoon’s mail from the printer brought the proof pages for my book A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad and the first thing I saw as I opened the package was a misspelling!


The second thing I saw was a minor formatting error.


I discovered both mistakes within two minutes of opening the pages.

Some words which you will not find printed in the Bible escaped my lips.

I thought I’d honed this manuscript to perfection. I thought I had no more work to do on it. I expected to rubber stamp the proofs and move on to other projects dear to my heart. I felt sick of working on this manuscript and I didn’t want to fool with it any more.

Here comes an insidious train of thought:

Why bother making corrections? These mistakes are so minuscule that no one else is likely to notice them. Don’t want to get hung up on trivial details. Don’t want to be an obsessive perfectionist. These little things don’t matter. You could spend all day just punctuating your grocery list. Besides, who’s likely to buy this book anyway? I doubt if six people will read the thing; so why bother putting another week’s work into searching for mistakes when you’ve already been over this manuscript a dozen times already?

So I was tempted to ignore shoddy workmanship.

Ever heard the phrase, Close enough for government work?

I’ve already started another project and I don’t want to return and re-do work I’ve already done. I’m sick of this book and I want to move on to fresh material.

Back in the days when I worked as a janitor, one part of my job was cleaning public urinals. Like the labor of Sisyphus (the Greek guy who pushed the bolder up the hill when it kept rolling back down) the task never ended. No matter how well I’d clean one night, they’d be slimy the next day. I was tempted to say what’s the use and cut corners and just do the minimum the job required.

I fought that temptation by realizing I did not work for the building manager, or for the public, but for Jesus Christ. So I tried to clean those urinals as though the Lord God Himself would be the next guy to piss there.

Yesterday morning as I thought about re-doing those proof pages, a phrase in my morning Bible reading brought an odd image to my mind.

I sometimes read a snippet of Scripture with my coffee at the start of a day and Tuesday’s passage was from the Book of Numbers. Here’s the verse that caught my attention:

“If ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; ... those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell”…..NUMBERS. 33:55.

As the Jews entered the Promised Land, God told them to exterminate the idol worshipers already living there. The Jews had a better idea. Instead of killing the idol worshipers, they made treaties with the Gibeonites and enslaved others to cut firewood and carry water buckets – before long the heathen led the Jews themselves into idol worship. The people they should have taken care of and exterminated became thorns in their sides, undermined their souls, and disrupted their peace.

I’m sure the Bible verse refers to that sort of thing…

But the phrase “pricks in your eyes” reminded me of something else. Somehow, that phrase congers up a different image to me… it’s not exactly the image the Bible writer had in mind I’m sure -- but it is effective.

So, I’ve written all that just to say that for the rest of this week I’ll be going over those proof pages again and doing as thorough a job as I can of correcting my mistakes – even the little ones.

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 @ 5:08 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments