Rabid Fun

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Stoic I'm Not!

Yesterday I went to lunch with my friend Barbara but we could not find the restaurant at first.

We knew the place we usually go each week planned to move. We saw the sign at the new location but the place was locked tight. Turns out they had moved the sign without moving the restaurant.


After lunch we drove back to my house to sit in the garden and talk about a tragic—but all too common — development at a local church: pastor fired for “inappropriate behavior with an adult female church member”.

The local media announces the situation with an undercurrent of glee because the guy was an outspoken advocate of morality. (I think Barbara intends to write about our conversation soon, so I’ll leave this topic for now).

My world turned a bit topsy-turvy last night.

Just as Ginny got home from work, one of our daughters called informing us that she quit her job and dropped out of school. She’s broke and needs to move by the first of March.

That’s like tomorrow.

Say, in the next 24 hours.

I do not know how —or even if — we can help. Or whether we should.

Gave us something besides sex to talk about for the evening.

Our Mom & Dad instincts urge us to rush in as rescuers; our common sense cautions us to say to her, “That sounds like a real problem. What are you going to do about it”?

We want to know what role drugs play in this sudden crisis.

Hard to know how we can help her best.

My work editing the 16th Century Diary of Puritan Richard Rogers sailed right along… until February 21st.

That was the day I underwent a medical test on my feet to see why my hands have started shaking. There was actually nothing to the test.

Nevertheless, the experience took the wind out of my sails and I haven’t done a useful lick of work on that manuscript since.

It was not the test, per se, that took the wind from my sails but the experience of being touched. I think I have mentioned my aversion to touch a time or two or ten before in this blog. Being touched upsets me.

Generates a panic attack.

Leaves me dead in the water.

I’m just a big baby.

The reason I mention this yet again is that this morning, in about an hour, I’m scheduled for yet another medical exam. This time by a dermatologist who will check every inch of my skin to examine what another doctor termed “suspicious spots” which may or may not be skin cancers but which he thinks merit biopsies.

Oh Goody!

None of this medical stuff appears to be life-threatening for a long way down the road; it all still lies in the realm of gathering information so I can decide about future radiation treatments — or not.

The possibility of more cancer does not upset me; the possibility of being touched does. The anticipation of it bumps me into a four-alarm hissy fit.

I find this prospect so upsetting that Ginny is taking off work today to go with me and hold my hand through today’s ordeal.

Looks as though in the future I’m going to get plenty of opportunity to exercise my God-given right to whine!

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 @ 4:29 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Latest News About My Moose Head, Oscars, Jesus, & A Drowning Lizard.

Breaking News: I did not win the $11,000,000; I do not get a moose head.

In other news:

Ginny may know who the winners were, but I fell asleep in front of the television about six or eight hours into the Oscar show.

I missed all the biggies.

So I don’t know who won what.

The last award I recall was for something called sound mixing or cinematography or something like that and there were four winners but I didn’t catch their names.

Sorry guys. I know you are the best in the world at whatever it is you do, but I can’t honestly say that I even know what cinematography is. Something to do with cameras, I guess.

I do know that there were a lot of low-cut gowns on the stage.

Those, as a keen Oscar observer, I did notice.

But I’m afraid I can’t name the young ladies wearing (mostly) those gowns.

There’s so much I don’t know.

That doesn’t bother me too much.

In 18 months I doubt if anyone reading this blog will be able to name five of the biggest winners without looking names up on-line.

Fame flees.

What ranks as “big news” this morning is a Trivia Pursuit question a few months from now.

Such is the way of the world.

Can you name five of last year’s Nobel Prize winners? How about Pulitzer Prize winners? Such important news escapes us.

Speaking of important news, I read in the newspaper yesterday, before dozing off in front of the tv, that Jesus Christ has appeared in Florida, just south of where I live and that he’s encouraging truly faithful people to get special tattoos on their forearms and give him 40% of their income.

I didn’t know Jesus did that.

But, get this:

Even more bizarre, this morning’s radio news announced that some movie-maker is promoting a film about how archaeologists in Jerusalem are supposed to have uncovered a tomb filled with ossuaries containing the bones of Jesus Christ —along with the bones of his wife, his mother, his brother, and several of his children.

An ossuary is a bone box, often carved out of white limestone. After the meat rotted away, often ancient peoples would gather a dead man’s bones and keep them in such a decorated box.

This startling “new”. discovery is old hat; a Google image search for ossuary brings up over 5,000 pictures.

In fact, archaeologists have discovered about 800 different ossuaries in the Near East over the years.

Jesus knew all about ossuaries.

He compared them with hypocrites:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” He said. “For ye are like unto whited sepulchers which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity”.

Turns out that this tomb in today’s news was uncovered back in 1980 during the construction of an apartment building but no one paid much attention at the time, in fact they managed to lose one of the ten ossuaries originally uncovered.

But then this guy decided to shoot a made-for-tv movie about the startling “new” discovery which he says will not shake the faith of millions but will generate a few bucks for his film company.

(Although it would make for great box office draw, the movie guy does not claim to have Anna Nicole’s body in his “new” tomb too; her body is still tied up in south Florida courts near where that living Jesus hangs out).

Check your local listings.

I doubt if I’ll bother to watch: No low-cut gowns on starlets promised in that tv special.

Sometimes what passes for “news” wearies me.

All this stuff is old hat.

Where’s the “news” in such events?

Jesus Himself talked about such stuff 2,000 years ago.

Take heed that no man deceive you,” He said, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet….

“Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold….

“If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

“Behold, I have told you before.

“Wherefore if they shall say unto you, ‘Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth. Behold, he is in the secret chambers’; believe it not”.

See what I mean? Jesus knew that “discoveries” and claimants would abound, and He cautioned us not to get confused when they do. Whether such claimants appear in south Florida or Jerusalem or even Hollywood, we are not to be surprised.

When Christ returns, we won’t see it on tv or read about it in the newspaper. No. We will each one be eyewitnesses.

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be… Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”.

Jesus said that no one, not even angels, knows the day or the hour when this will happen. Therefore we are to be ready.

The Bible does not say a great deal about dogs. But in my own mind, I compare the return of Christ with a happy dog. The dog leaps up and shakes and quivers and runs in circles and pees on the floor at the sight of the Owner coming home.

In my mind, that dog is the whole creation which until now watches to hear the Owner’s car in the drive. It will go nuts with joy at His appearing again. This is what we’ve been waiting for all our lives!

We’ll sake off worldly things like a wet dog shaking off rain drops… This is what is commonly referred to as the end of the world…

And good riddance!

Jesus is Back. Boy! O Boy! O Boy! Wow!

Doesn’t matter whether we’re still alive or already dead:

As St. Paul said, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living”.

In another place Paul said, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”.

See how I come up with my happy dog imagery?

We’ll shake off the soggy things and sticky burrs that mat our fur and leap to meet Him shaking for pure joy.

Well, maybe not everyone.

Some may try to cower and slink away from His bright presence. But the thought of that is unbearable, isn’t it? What a loss. What a tragic loss.

How did I get from falling asleep at the Oscars to our final glorious awakening at the end of the world?

Oh, I remember; I got off on non-news stories about live and dead Christs being found here and there.

I get carried away sometimes.

Now, for the important news of my own day:

I rescued a drowning lizard this morning.

I saw this dumb reptile jump into the water bowl we keep filled on the ground for the raccoons to keep them from tearing apart our garden fountain for a drink.

Once in the bowl the lizard could not climb out because the bowl is porcelain and the sides too slick. He kept flopping back in and swimming around and around the rim — the very picture of a futile life.… (Actually, it was kind of cool to watch him struggle. Kind of like having my own mini-gator right there by my chair).

But, moved by my heart of Christian compassion, I broke off a stick and angled it in from the side of the bowl so he could finally climb out and dry off.

His antics were more fun than watching the Oscars.

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 @ 2:20 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Marriage Made In Heaven -- with a moose head

Today the Florida Lotto Jackpot stands at $11,000,000.

I mention that fact because marriages, even a 38-year one like ours, are fragile.

Especially when you’re married to a left-handed, wrong-headed woman like the one I'm married to.

Consider the case of my moose head.

Saturday morning Ginny and I enjoyed a 2-hour- chat over a leisurely breakfast at Dave’s Dinner. Our conversation ranged world-wide in scope and then moved beyond this world to the Hereafter.

She said the only thing that bothers her about the prospect of Heaven is that Jesus said, “In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”. (Whatever that means).

As we sipped coffee we both stated that we love being married to eachother and that we’re sure that whatever Jesus meant, it is something good, something beyond our imagining.

I assured her that the first thing I plan to do in the resurrection is to feel around underneath my white robe to check out what’s there! (With this earthly prostate cancer thing still in the decision stage, you can understand my concern).

We discussed how we think we’ll each feel if one of us dies first which is likely, baring a car crash or house fire or something of the sort when we’re together that would send us both Home at the same time.

We had a great time discussing these things at leisure as we also talked about upcoming local elections, fake fur, Food Stamps, Iraq, dog care, our garden, motorcycles, and how we will spend our Lotto winnings — the jackpot is up to eleven million this week.

We love to be together and talk with eachother.

After breakfast we drove around doing normal Saturday errands: the bank, the hardware store, the library, the grocery, the tire place, etc…

As we drove down one residential street, I saw it!


A stuffed moose head!

At a yard sale as we drove past.

That woman I’m married to was driving and I urged her to turn back and circle the block so I could buy the moose head.

Our home does not have a moose head.

She kept on driving!

Can you believe that?

The one chance I’ve ever had in my whole life to get my very own moose head and she refused to stop the car!

I mean the walls of our home (at least her share of themt) display these doctor’s waiting room pictures of kittens and dirt-eating plants with flowers, and photos of our kids (as if we’re likely to forget what they look like) and insipid stuff like that.

Whereas the walls I decorate display tasteful object d’art — like the shark hook, the African spear, Miss April 1996, and a 1588 Map Of London. And that graffiti I wrote about last year, The Ugliest Picture In The World.

But we lack a Moose Head.

I feel deprived!

Now we are two calm, reasonable people except, of course, for her.

So we discussed buying my moose head.

“Just where in our house would you put a moose head? Those antlers must spread eight feet wide,” she said.

Well, I just happen to have a perfect place for it.

Yes, indeed.

I’ll have to move the shower curtain rod over for a foot or two, but I can make room for my own moose head!

Well, we haven’t remained happily incompatible for 38 years without learning how to compromise.

That means she finally agreed with me… with one stipulation:

I get to buy my own Stuffed Moose Head … with the money I win as soon as I hit the Lotto jackpot.

And if I don’t win Lotto?

I’ll bet all those mansions in Heaven will have moose heads on the wall!

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 @ 5:01 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Pain Of Winter Past

Friday’s temperature rose to near 80 degrees here in Jacksonville and, for the first time in months, I did yard work.

I edged. I raked. I chopped. I mowed. I mulched….

I bent. I stretched. I stooped. I lifted. I climbed. I pulled. I pushed…

For the first time in months.

This morning my muscles ache. My shoulders ache. My back aches. My arms ache. My thighs ache… I’m having to use my cane to merely walk.

Dumb me!

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

I should not have tried Spring cleaning all at once after a winter of inactivity. This morning I suffer the pain of Winter past.

On the up side, I counted 34 robins and doves following the path of my lawnmower as I worked. They hopped along snapping up bugs suddenly exposed as the grass and leaf cover disappeared.

Smart birds.

Oh but I’m stiff and sore!

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 @ 3:36 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Friday, February 23, 2007

F2f... or She Doesn't Know What She Missed

I met this girl on the internet.

This teenaged girl.

This teenaged girl in a local high school..

I tried to set up a face to face meeting.

No. I’m not some pervert — not that particular kind of pervert anyhow.

This young lady and I exchanged blog comments and e-mails a time or two because we both collect the same things.

You know how it is about collections.

If you own one of something, anything — say a stuffed kangaroo carrying an umbrella — then you own one.

If you own two of them — say a stuffed kangaroo carrying a green umbrella and one carrying a pink umbrella — then you own a pair.

But, if you happen to own three, then, come Christmas or birthday or whatever, you are marked as a collector and your children, friends and neighbors all know just what gift to give you: another stuffed kangaroo.

You’ll display them on the mantle above the fireplace. Your knickknack shelves groan under their weight. Cute stuffed kangaroos clog your closets. There will be boxes of the varmints under your bed. In the attic. In the guest bedroom. And you can never again park your car in the garage for fear of crushing a kangaroo.

And you can’t get rid of the things.

On every visit Aunt Peg will ask, “Where is that cute kangaroo with the lavender umbrella that I sent you”?

And you’d better be able to produce the thing or you will hurt Aunt Peg’s feelings and she’ll leave her oil well to Cousin Phillip, the creep.

Am I getting a little off the topic here?

OK. So I met this teenage girl on line. We exchanged blog comments about our respective collections. I began my collection back when I was a Boy Scout so I have collected this item for close to 50 years; The young lady began her collection about five years ago, but already she has some prize examples. She is serious about her hobby and gives every indication on her website of wanting to continue it for the rest of her life.

Now, Ginny and I have come to a point in our life where we want to divest our home of clutter. I have stopped buying more doodads to add to my collection; she gave away some of her grotesque ceramic cats.

No single item in my collection is of great value. You could not take any one thing to Antiques Roadshow and garner thousands of dollars. It all comes under the heading of ephemera and is of no monetary value except to another person bitten by the same collector’s quirk.

At various times I have asked each of my children, but not a one of them shows the slightest interest in my collection; it just doesn’t strike their fancy. Someday when they have to clean out the house, I suppose my collection will end up in the dumpster.

No great loss.

My collection has given me pleasure and it does not have to do anything more than that.

But I hate to see it go to waste.

So I decided that I would give the whole 50 year’s accumulation to this teenage girl I’d encountered on line. No charge. No strings attached. The collection has given me pleasure, I’d like to think it will continue to give pleasure.

So I tried to set up a face to face meeting with this girl AND HER PARENTS — got that? AND HER PARENTS — at a well publicized public meeting where I was a guest speaker. My wife would also be there and we’d determine if indeed this girl seemed serious about continuing as a collector. And, if so, we’d make arrangements with her dad about getting a truck and giving her the entire collection.

The girl did not show.

I do not know why.

Maybe she had homework. Or maybe a football game. Or maybe she watched Dancing With the Stars or MTV that night.

She and her folks did not come to the meeting.

Perhaps, with all the publicity you read about stalkers and perverts on the internet, she and her parents were leery of meeting.

When my son Donald first gave me a computer he issued a caveat:

The Internet, where the men are men,
And the women are men,
And the children are FBI agents!

So, you do know that if you ever plan to meet f2f (that’s computer jargon for face to face) someone you only know on line, that you should only meet in a public place (Police Headquarters works) and let someone in your family know when and where and what time you will be back in touch and it doesn’t hurt to have a cell phone and call your contact midway through the meeting with a license tag number or something of the sort.

Anyhow, the girl and her parents did not show up and I’m making other arrangements about the disposal of my collection.

She’ll never know what she missed.

This is really no big deal.

As Ginny says whenever I buy another addition to my collection at a yard sale or thrift store, “One man’s trash is another man’s trash”.

But, I do have a point in all this rambling.

I’ve heard it said that half of success is simply being there when it happens, that the prize goes to the guy who shows up.

The Lord God has gone to great pains (literally) to set up a face to face meeting with each one of us.

He intends to do us good. Incredible good. The Scripture says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”.

Yet we are leery.

We avoid Him.

We do not believe.

We’ve heard tale of cults and isms and religious kooks. We hear so much of these warnings — and they are real — that we refuse to listen to the voice in our own heart.

The one that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”.

After the fall of Adam and Eve, the Lord God walked in the Garden in the cool of the evening and called, “Adam, where are you?”

That’s the first thing God said about sin.

And He has been searching for man ever since. But we, like Adam, hide in the bushes.

I think the secret to life, salvation and godliness is simply to stop hiding. To let God find us. To show up at that Face to face meeting He’s been inviting us to all our lives.

In spite of all the rumors we’ve heard about a Predator God who will do awful things to us and turn us into religious fanatics, we need to come out of hiding and trust the One who calls us.

Oh, and it doesn’t bother Him at all to meet us in either a private or a public place or for us to let other people know that we intend to meet Him. He even encourages us to let everyone know how the meeting turned out.

But, if we don’t show up…

PS: please do not mail me any stuffed kangaroos. I have plenty. Honest.

And, for Heaven’s sake, no more of those gruesomely cute kitten statues for Ginny. We’re trying to divest here.

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 @ 5:23 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tasers Work

Here in North Florida people who go to school board meetings debate the use of tasers by school resource officers.

Tasers are Star Trek style ray guns which deliver powerful electric shocks.

School resources officers (which we never needed when I was in highschool) are cops who have offended the administration—maybe they didn’t sell their quota of Policeman’s Ball tickets— and as punishment are assigned to keep order in area highschools.

They deserve hazardous duty pay.

Whether or not they are allowed to tase criminal students instead of shooting them outright, generates debate.

Personally, I think anyone who keeps students who want to learn from learning should be shot and their bodies run up the flagpole in the courtyard.

Ok. Ok. Maybe it should only happen at the second offence.

I take this stance because Monday I was subjected to a taser attack.

No. A policeman did not zap me.

It was a medical professional.

See, I visited a doctor because my hands have begun to tremble. So naturally, he ordered tests on my feet.

This latest medical theory derives from that old spiritual:

De foot bone ‘connected to the anklebone,
De ankle bone connected to the shin bone,…
De shin bone connected to de leg bone
De leg bone connected to the tail bone…

And so on up to my hand bone….

So, the technician connected electrodes to my thighs, shins and points south then zapped me with this taser which was connected to a computer which showed pain spikes on a vivid blue screen.

If she scores 24,000 points or more, she wins a trip to the Bahamas.

When I was in highschool, we did this same sort of electricial test to make the leg of a dead frog jerk and jump.

Fortunately, this test proved what friends and family have observed for years: that I’m a numb ass.

Even when Mr. Spock ordered, “Jim, set the Phasers on stun”. I would often feel nothing.

This means that if I were still in highschool, the kiddy cops would definitely have to shoot me with a Glock instead of a taser.

Actually, this test was not so bad.

Even the part when they gave up on the taser and used knitting needles filed to a blunt point to probe to see if there are actually bones inside my legs.

Afterwards I thanked the nurse technician and the doctor for their efforts to help me. Essentially they did for me the same sort of service Jesus did for His friends when He washed their feet just before He died for us all.

The nurse remarked that her work was a lot like an auto mechanic's as he might do a diagnostic test on your car.

I disagreed.

No auto mechanic has to replace a fan belt while the engine is running.

Doctors and nurses do not get to shut the machine (that's me) down while they make repairs.

Of course my test proved inconclusive.

Maybe the one next month…

Meanwhile, my hands still tremble.

For me, the worse part of the ordeal was being touched by these strangers. My skin crawls. I cringe when touched. I’m not a touchy feely person. Being pawed causes me mental and physical anguish. And during this hour+ nerve damage test people touched me a lot.

In fact, that part of the test upset me so that I came home and slept for over 24 hours.

Of course after all this trauma, I felt the need of some spiritual encouragement.

Did I read the Book of Ecclesiastes or Thessalonians?


I picked up a copy of Dave Barry Is From Mars & Venus.

I read it through at one sitting.

After that reading, I feel uplifted and my soul doth magnify the Lord!

In spite of having been zapped by the taser..

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 @ 3:35 AM

Your comments are welcome: 1 comments

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Just A Quick Note Of Thanks

I relish indications of God’s goodness to us.

Late yesterday afternoon someone called me asking to borrow $50 to keep from being arrested and going to jail for writing a bad check that needed to be covered.

Although I have to do it sometimes, turning down a request for help from a person in need pains me.

I did not have $50.

But I told the caller that I’d talk the matter over with Ginny when she got home to see if we could scrape together the needed money. I said I would call to let the criminal know in an hour.

As Ginny parked the car and came into the house, she checked our mailbox. There was an unexpected royalty check for my book sales last quarter!

We went from being broke to having cash enough to lend in 15 minutes.

The Lord’s timing in practical matters delights me.

During my prayer time Wednesday morning I ran across an odd Scripture in Deuteronomy where God promises Israel, “Thou shalt lend unto many… and thou shalt not borrow”.

I’m tickled to recognize when esoteric religious notions move beyond the academic into my practical daily life.

The majesty and graciousness and mercy of our Lord sometimes overwhelms me. He is indeed sweeter than honey, more to be desired than gold. He reveals daily marvels if we’d just recognize them.

I feel grateful.

On the down side of yesterday, the heater fan broke again. I think the shaft in the motor is bent because I did not take care of the problem when it first began making that helicopter in the wall noise.

Apparently God doesn’t do neglected rotor shafts.

That problem will have to wait for a couple of paydays before we save up enough cash to afford repairs (I’ve presumed too much on Rex’s good will already).

And the tv weather guy says to expect record-breaking cold tonight and for the next couple of days.

Oh well, back when we were poor, we lived without heat before. Good excuse to snuggle under the blankets together for the weekend.

Richard Rogers, that 16th Century puritan whose diary I’m editing, wrote his whole body of work in chambers headed only by firewood, so I suppose I can continue editing his work in an insulated house in Florida.

The way the work is going pleases me so much!

The Lord has granted me the signal honor of thoroughly enjoying the work I do.

Phooey on Miller or Bud or whichever beer company has the advertising slogan, my motto is — The Christian Life: It doesn’t Get Any Better Than This!

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 @ 5:37 AM

Your comments are welcome: 5 comments

Friday, February 16, 2007

Whatever Happened To Tinkerbell?

Yes, I know I said I would not post again till next week, but I didn’t get up till 4:45 this morning and since I’ve already lost so much of my morning …

A church we sometimes attend distributes food to the poor.

The folks running the food pantry ask that each person in the congregation bring in nonperishable food items each week to stock the shelves.

Wednesday, when Ginny went to the grocery store, she bought several jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter to give at this church.

Thursday morning when I read Google news, I saw the USDA recalled poisoned Peter Pan Peanut Butter with the code 2111 stamped on the lid.

Something contaminated this peanut butter causing hundreds of people to get sick and maybe even a few to die.

For those who don’t know, peanut butter is made by dumping shelled boiled peanuts into this big vat where happy barefoot peasants stomp the seeds into paste which is too think to drink…

No. No, that can’t be right — I have no idea how peanut butter is made!

I think they put the peanuts into a vat to boil, then into a masher and crunch them into paste which you spread on bread with jelly.

Or maybe they just use a blender..

Peanut butter is a vital ingredient in Nutty Buddy Bars, a health food bar which I snack on all the time. This could be a crisis.

I checked the jars Ginny had bought..

Sure enough, the code 2111 was imprinted there on each lid.

I looked closely at this one jar.

There, pressed against the inside of the glass, was this tiny gossamer wing.

Whatever happened to Tinkerbell?

Anyhow, when Ginny got up, I told her about the salmonella scare and that she could not poison poor people.

That’s just not Christian.

She had to take the offending peanut butter back to the store.

She complained about having to make another trip to the store.

I told her that she would not have to make this extra trip if she’d bought steak for the poor in the first place.

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 @ 5:32 AM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Thursday, February 15, 2007

John Cowart: Human Monorail

First, before anything else I wish to declare categorically that I am NOT the father of Anna Nicole’s baby!

Honest, we didn’t even shake hands.

However, my D.N.A. is as good as those other guys’ so I deserve the money as much as they do. You know, of course that the initials D.N.A. stand for Dumb Nonsense Assertion — and I can assert as well as the other contenders for the lady’s millions. But I’m more generous than they are, they can keep the baby to raise; I just want the cash.

Enough of that.

Well, I promised I’d resume blogging today, so I’m back…. Sort of.

With all the doctors’ appointments the past few weeks, my work went off the track. And since I only have one track to work with, I stopped blogging to catch up on publishing deadlines.

I mean I really focused on this stuff.

Here’s a sample of the sort of material I’m working with (you can click to enlarge, but it really doesn't help much) so you can see why I need to focus:

You see why I’m anxious to finish this work before the next Harry Potter book comes out. I foresee throngs of people sleeping on the pavement outside book stores overnight so they can buy copies of my book first thing once it becomes available. I see them fighting and shoving, elbowing their way to the front of the line, trampling the weak underfoot…

Well, maybe not.

But come that great and terrible Day of The Lord, it may prove wise for us to have read something of a spiritual nature such as a Puritan diary. I recommend the Diary Of David Brainerd, edited by Jonathan Edwards.

Brainerd (1718-1747)was a missionary to the American Indians of the 18th Century; he endured incredible hardship to show the love of Christ to the Indians and died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine. His life verse was John 7:37 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink”.

Brainerd's diary is the one that turned me on to early puritan writings, especially their diaries.

While the writings of the early Puritans involve intense introspection, they also reveal a vision of the love, majesty, beauty and holiness of God. Such a vision often enraptured the writers giving them a sweet spirit.

No, I’m not a puritan or even anything close but reading such stuff really inspires me.

But, there’s a problem:

Since I’m not only mono-minded but slow on my single track, there have been times when it’s taken me as much as six hours to write a single blog entry.

Something has to give.

The 16th Century Puritan, Richard Rogers, whose diary I’m formatted, was once asked why he lead such a focused, precise life. “Because I serve a precise God,” he said.

I think it important to convey his ideas and devotion as well as I’m able, and that requires my full attention.

Bottom line:

I need more time to work. I plan to avoid blogging for another week to continue playing catch up with the Rogers diary.

Now don’t be alarmed.

If you can’t live without a Rabid Fun Blog fix, you can always browse in my archives… or even better than that, you can go to my On Line Book Catalogue and buy a copy of A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad. That’s my 2005 journal in chronological format suitable for reading in bed, bus or bathroom.

That book is being considered for the 2007 Blooker Prize. Judges will announce the finalists next month. Among many fine contenders for the prize, it's my D.N.A. that my book ought to win.

Oh, someone e-mailed me about Valentine’s Day — Ginny and I pay no attention; we feel it is an artificial holiday promoted by commercial merchants. We love eachother as much two weeks ago as we did yesterday.

We don’t eat black-eyed peas and gopher meat on Groundhog Day either.

Back to thoughts on blogging: Maybe I should keep up with my family’s blogs better. Although my daughter Eve and I had lunch together the other day and breakfast with the family Sunday, I did not know she was planning to get married till I read about it on her blog.

Dad is the last to know.

Speaking of breakfast: something I found appalling happened while Ginny and I ate breakfast one day she was off:

Two businessmen occupied the next booth. As they ate, they wheeled and dealed and fielded many cell phone calls.

Come time to go, the two men performed the usual ritual dance over who would pay the check. They eventually agreed that one would pay for breakfast, the other would leave a tip for the waitress.

Guy One paid the tab. With a flourish and great show, Guy Two placed two five dollar bills under the salt shaker so his buddy could not fail to notice.

They shook hands.

Guy One left the restaurant.

Guy Two picked up the two five dollar bills and put them back in his wallet.

He put two single dollar bills on the table for the waitress.

Sorry, no-account bastard.

Yes, I’m being judgmental.

Maybe I’ve been reading too much of that Puritan stuff — or not enough of it.

Anyhow, God willing I can catch up one my work and come back to blogging by the middle of next week….

If I get sidetracked, I’ll let you know.

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 @ 3:57 AM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Just For Fun

I want to take a few days off blogging to reorganize my thoughts. God willing, I’ll post again on Feb. 15th. Meanwhile, I hope you get a kick out of the following.

As I waited to get in to see a doctor last week for some odd reason I was reminded of a fiction short story I wrote years ago. I stuck the manuscript in a file drawer somewhere and I can’t find it now. But I’ll try to re-create the story here just for the anguish — and for the fun.

In The Waiting Room

The eye exam machine flickered as George brightened the screen by mistakenly twisting the wrong knob.

The old man with his face pressed into the scope flinched at the flash.

Old coot shouldn’t be driving anyhow, George thought.

He failed the old codger without a qualm.

“Go to Hell,” the old man snapped when George stamped REJECTED on his application.

“Not me,” George snickered, “I’m Civil Service.”

People in the A to E line shuffled forward listlessly. D through L milled around in place. M through S applicants squeezed up against the puke-green wall. T to Z and Late-Renewals sagged against the table holding Drive Safety pamphlets.

Time for a break.

Let ‘em wait.

George called over Cindy, Max and Laverne and the four of them strolled into the breakroom/kitchenette behind the Authorized Personnel Only door at the back of the State Driver’s License Bureau.

That left two counter windows open.

That’s plenty, George thought.

No hurry about a coffee break. Where else could customers go anyhow. They’d wait. They certainly wouldn’t drive away without a license. No hurry at all.

George sipped a second cup while regaling Cindy, Max and Laverne, the new girl, with that joke about the cripple and the blind girl. Just before he reached the punch line, the room exploded.

A gas line linked to the propane tank outside the break room wall ruptured killing George, Cindy, Max and Laverne instantly.

None of the driver’s license applicants or any of the other clerks were injured.

George woke up on a hard plastic seat with a fat woman crowding him on his right. A metal bar linked the seat tight against the next seats in the row where Max, Cindy and Laverne sat pressed thigh to thigh. It seemed as though hundreds and hundreds of other people milled about in the room.

Standing room only.

The place smelled musty.

Too many people herded together for too long

On a far wall, a big red sign proclaimed: NO SMOKING!

Below that in smaller print it said NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED.

Another sign announced:


A black speaker mounted high on the wall squawked something unintelligible. People in the crowd surged toward the six hundred sixty six counter windows at the front of the room.

Standing on tiptoe, straining to look over the sea of heads, George could see a long row of counter windows, each one made of opaque bullet-proof glass with a tiny awkward hole for speaking through set so that people would have to bend low to hear the seated clerk.

All but seven of the counter windows sported CLOSED USE NEXT WINDOW signs.

The loud speaker squawked again in a blare of static.

“What did it say? What did it say?” the people asked each other.

The mass of people swayed, some left, some right, pushing to get at the few open windows.

“Get in line! Get in line! Line forms on the right,” yelled a uniformed armed guard.

Cindy tugged the guard’s sleeve asking, “What happened? Where are we”?

“You’re not allowed to touch official personnel,” the guard snarled pointing to a huge sign above massive double doors at the end of the room. It said:


“Get off your butts and get in line,” the guard shouted. “You need to be processed before you can go in there. Line forms on the right”.

George got separated from the others as he pushed toward the right hand wall to join the long line of people there. The line snaked around tarnished brass stanchions draped with frayed green-velvet ropes.

George’s feet and the backs of his legs ached by the time the line inched to the window. He reached a place marked by a strip of yellow tape on the dirty floor and a sign which said, Stand Behind Line Till Called.

A voice yelled next as a fat woman slouched away from the window.

As George leaned forward to peek through that little, low hole in the glass, the shade dropped and a voice boomed, “Closed for lunch. Use next window”.

The line scrambled toward the next window pushing and shoving. George ended up pressed all the way back, two-thirds further away from the window than when he’d started. “Damn, but I need a bathroom,” he muttered.

“You’ll loose your place in line,” said a baggy man a head of him.

“Would you hold my place” George asked.

“That’s not allowed,” the man said. “Against the regulations to save places. No places saved down here. I worked an airport counter for 20 years before my heart attack and I know about regulations”.

George couldn’t wait. He broke out of line and shoved his way across the room to a red door. A sign on the door said:


A keypad lock sealed the door.

George returned to the end of line.

George finally reached Window 478. The clerk behind that low hole in the glass said, “Where are your admittance papers. You have to go to Window 12 to get your papers. Next!”

George fought his way through the press of people to the line at Window 12. “Need to have a Picture ID,” the voice behind the glass said. “No papers issued without a photo ID. Next!”

George lifted his tie to show his photo ID. He always clipped it to the point of his tie to embarrass any whining customer who wanted to know his name bad enough to stare at his crotch.

“Expired,” said the voice behind the window. “Go to Window 411”.

Looking around, George noticed that just about everyone in the crowd wore an official ID of one sort or another:

AOL. Student Advisor. Food Stamp Councilor. AT&T. Social Services. Hospital Admissions. Tag Agency. Cable Network. City Finance. Department Of Motor Vehicles. Registrar. U.S. Postal Service. Network Administrator. HUD Inspector. Service Manager. Homeland Security. Loan Officer. Building Maintence. LAPD. Event Staff. Human Resources. City Transit Authority. IRS. … the array of ID badges seemed limitless.

Not everybody in the crowd but nearly all of them wore an ID badge.

The crowd edged away from one barefoot guy who seemed to have lost it. He wore a swimsuit and a muscle shirt with LIFEGUARD stenciled on the chest. He kept lifting a whistle attached to a lanyard around his neck, blowing it, and yelling, “Everybody Out! Everybody out of the pool”!

Avoiding that nutcase, George elbowed his way across the room to Window 411. CLOSED FOR LUNCH, GO TO WINDOW 295, the sign there said.

The clerk at Window 295 told George to pick up his application from the counter at the back of the room “Where you shoulda got it when youse first came in”.

George picked up the 18 page application and got in line at Window 93. The clerk there sighed, “These papers must be filled out COMPLETELY. You haven’t filled in your grandmother’s Social Security Number. Can’t get in without all the proper paperwork being filled out. Next!”.

“My grandmother’s Social Security number!” George shouted. “How am I supposed to know that”.

“Computers at the self-service counter” the clerk said. “Look it up, fill out the forms COMPLETELY, then take it to Window 19”.

George stood in the self-service line. He finally made it to the computer station. “System Error 550… error code bX-vjhbsj … Enter password and click hereto contact Blogger Support”, the screen blinked.

Eventually George found Grandma’s Social Security number.

He wrote it on the form.

When he got there, the clerk at Window 19 was on coffee break.

And the line of dead service personnel inched forward from window to window to window to window.

But the big double doors at the end of the room never once swung open.

Never once.

For all Eternity, neither George nor a single one of the others in the Waiting Room ever made it into Hell.

“With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again”
—— Matthew 7:2

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 @ 4:40 AM

Your comments are welcome: 5 comments

Friday, February 09, 2007

Good People

Yes. I’m late posting. I’m sorry. Ginny & I watched a movie last night and slept late till 5:30 and have not posted a blog yet. I’ve already had a phone call asking if I’m ok and why I haven’t posted. Here it is; I’m writing quick and won’t even read back over it to edit. Thanks for your patience. I’ll try to have something up before 6:30 tomorrow. There’s no need to call.

—— John

Thursday I enjoyed breakfast at Dave’s Diner with my friend Barbara, the retired newspaper editor who started her first blog just a few weeks ago.

For almost three hours we talked about writing, following Christ, her adventures in the retirement home, and her daughter’s recent brain surgery.

Barbara has taken a really old lady under her wing. The lady may be delusional and has told tales about strange men making improper suggestions to her in the laundry room. Until recently the home staff wondered if she might be making these encounters up; but the other day the old lady called the office to complain and when a staff member checked, there was indeed a non-resident man in the laundry room. He denied making any off color remarks to the lady, but they banded him from the facility.

Just in case.

Barbara, who often uses an aluminum walker to get around, makes sure the old lady gets to meals and various errands. She takes some of the lady’s tales and complaints with a grain of salt, but cares for her as best she can without being entrapped in the guilt trips the lady tries to lay on her adult children.

Barbara also goes up nearly every evening to the assisted living unit to spoon feed an old man whose stroke prevents him for lifting his hands. And she is committed to driving her daughter five days a week for the next month for radiation therapy.

Barbara’s example of hand’s-on Christian service as well as her spiritual insights interests me.

Not enough to undertake such service myself, you understand, but it interests me.


For the past few weeks I’ve heard a sound from inside the walls of our home. It sounds like a helicopter was landing in our hall and got trapped between the walls, engine roaring, rotors striking metal, louder and louder each day.

Then it stopped.

So did all heat in our home.

Yes, a fan-thingy inside our central heat and air unit gave up the ghost so we have been without heat for a while. No great hardship here in Florida; Ginny and I just cuddled under a blanket to watch tv in the evenings.

We had to wait for a payday to roll around before I could even think about calling repairman.

But payday approaches so I asked my neighbor, Rex, for the phone number of the guy who worked on our heater/air conditioner a couple of years ago.

Turns out the A/C guy is in jail.

Rex came over himself to look at our helicopter in the wall. He removed panels, unbolted machinery, disconnected electric lines, and removed the massive, heavy blower fan mechanism.

The thing resembles a huge wheel that a hamster might run on, but inside the wheel sits a large electric engine instead of a furry animal. Rex found that vibration had sheared off two of the mounting brackets holding this engine.

He disconnected the brackets to use as templates, ran up to his shop with them, and welded parts to manufacture new brackets. (Have I mentioned that Rex is a skilled craftsman?). In 30 minutes, he returned with the new brackets and reversed the whole process of bolting, reconnecting, rewiring, testing and reinstalling our furnace.

We again have heat!

Silent heat

Rex thinks nothing of accomplishing what appear to me as mechanical wonders.

I admire his skill at such things; leaves me in awe.

But there’s something else I admire about him more.

His hands-on care for his family. When his mother grew so old she needed nursing care, Rex visited her daily in the nursing home to bathe her. And he brought her home to his house practically every weekend.

When his wife’s sister became incapacitated and could not care for her children, Rex adopted her three-year-old son and raises the boy as his own.

When his wife’s mother grew old enough that it was unwise for her to live alone, guess who took her into their home?

Rex and his wife not only do all that for their own people but they watch out for Ginny and me and do us all sorts of service and kindnesses. And they do such things without making me feel like a useless object of charity.

And I’ve seen them do the same sort of thing for other folks in our neighborhood. But you’d never guess that they do such things unless you watch closely because they make no show or display of their kindnesses.

See why I admire Rex and his wife so much?


Yesterday’s news brought word of the tragic death here in Florida of Anna Nicole Smith, a young woman who was famous for being famous.

Google News this morning offered 2,079 articles about her life. I read several and I’m impressed by the Washington Post article by Philip Kennicott.

Back in my blog for Feb. 25, 2006, I posted a photo of her without knowing who she was; the photo had run by mistake with a newspaper article about the discovery of a fossil mammal. Alert blog readers quickly told me who the lady in the photo was. I don’t think I’d ever heard of her before.

Oh, my comment on the fossil article’s illustration: “Yep. That’s A Mammal Alright!”

In 1992, Playboy magazine featured a photo of her on the cover. In 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J Howard Marshall II, whose wealth was estimated to be 550 million dollars.

In every article I’ve read on the matter, Mr. Marshall appears to have been very happy with the marriage.

Marshall died in 1995 and people related to a former marriage of his disputed the widow’s right to inherit his estate. Some claimants claimed that the old man could not have an erection so the marriage was never consummated (I wonder how they know that?). The photos I’ve seen of her, makes me think the old man may have been highly motivated. She also said their marriage was consummated.

But, who knows? Perhaps the union was like that of King David and Abishag (First Kings 1:1-4) Who knows and whose business is it?

After Marshall’s death, a legal battle ensued although his will specifically named her as beneficiary. A federal court award his widow $474 million in a settlement which was later overturned as many attorneys and claimants scrambled for her money.

Last September she gave birth to a daughter. Her 20-year-old son from a former marriage died in her hospital room while visiting her and the new baby.

Several guys claim to have taken advantage of Anna Nicole Smith so that they can claim to be the baby’s father – and, of course, claim her cash.

The legal maneuvering looks to last for many years.

During her life she was the butt of jokes about golddiggers and dumb blonds and bimbos. Predators of all sorts appear to have victimized the lady. Tragedy dogged her.

Poor child. At least now she’s Home and can expect from the Lord Jesus the same mercy as is available to any of the rest of us.

Her death saddens me.

I think the world has lost more than it realizes.

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 @ 12:37 PM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Off To See The Wizard

Removing his finger, the oncologist (whom I will call Dr. Oz after the wizard) said, “It’s terrible to be growing old, isn’t it”?

“Not at all,” I said. “I’m having a wonderful time now, and every day takes me a step closer to Home”.

As he gave my prostate cancer a thorough exam, Dr. Oz explained a number of possible treatment options and we eliminated three of them for various reasons.

I am not a handsome man but I’d really make one hell of an ugly woman.

This is an exciting time of life with all sorts of possibilities ahead, though I do get weary of all the doctors’ visits. Each of four specialists treats only one small part of my anatomy and sends me to another specialist to treat another part. Looks to me like the only medical professional who deals with the entire human body is the mortician.

Dr. Oz referred me to yet another specialist who will look at other “suspicious areas” on my body. I need to make another appointment for more medical ping-pong with me as the ball.

One thing makes me leery. A sign in one doctor’s office read, “If you are hear for lab work…”

No that is not one of my typos; the sign said, If you are hear

Maybe I’m a stickler for detail, but these are the same folks who want to cut on my one and only. I’d feel better if someone in that office read their own stuff.

Be that as it may, I feel fine.

I’m in no pain. (Except, of course for my arthritis pain which is chronic, constant, continual and incurable, but I just endure that. Have for years.)

I’m dealing with my own resistance to change.

And amid all the medical options and possibilities available, I try to keep one criteria in mind, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do”?

None of the other stuff really matters….

Or, as Superman said to his oncologist, “You want to stuff kryptonite up my WHAT!”

Last night as Beauty and I talked over all this stuff, she said, “Love, no matter what comes of all this, we’ll face it and handle it together”.

See why I love her so much?

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: 2 comments

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Today’s Tests, History and Riddles:

Know why they nail down the lid on a coffin?

To keep the doctors from administering any more tests!

Today I’m off to the lab for blood work, then to see the oncologist who will undoubtedly order more tests!

Yes they may prolong my life but who wants to live longer if you have to spend the whole extended time in a doctor’s waiting room?

Oh well, that’s my cross to bear for today. I shouldn’t bitch about it; there are people in that waiting room carrying much heaver ones then I do.

Tuesday my daughter Eve treated me to a fun lunch at the Silver Star Chinese Restaurant.

Since my Super Bowl commercial flopped, Eve helped me research (actually she did the whole thing) a more reasonable marketing plan

Eve is librarian at a local branch library where she’s instituted a Riddle Of The Day program for patrons as they check out at the circulation desk. So she and I exchanged happy riddles over Foo Young:

Q: What do you call a cow with no legs?

A: Ground beef.

Q: How do you introduce a hamburger?

A: Meet Patty.

Q: Where do you find a dog with no legs?

A: Right where you left him.

Q: How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest?

A: They Take The Psycho Path

Q: How Do You Get Holy Water?

A: You Boil The Hell Out Of It.?

Q:? What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't Come Back?

A: A Stick

Q:? What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?

A: Frostbite

And finally, for the amusement of those readers who anxiously await publication of my 16th Century Puritan diaries:

Q:? Why Did The Pants Of The Pilgrim Fathers Always Fall Down?

A: Because They Wore Their Belt Buckles On Their Hats.

Thank you for your applause. You’re welcome. If I never make it as a writer, I’ll launch my new career as a stand-up comedian.

In the evening I enjoyed a phone conversation with historian Kevin Hooper, author of The Early History Of Clay County: A Wilderness That Could Be Tamed published by History Press. He gave me invaluable advise and suggestions about writing and publishing history books.

Later, Beauty and I watched an absorbing video on the life and times of Queen Elizabeth I. That whets my appetite to get back to work on those Puritan diaries.

One word in those diaries I have to watch for all the time is the word then.

Sometimes that word means the same as it does today, as in the sentence: “I went to Wal-Mart, then to have all my teeth pulled”.

Other times the word then means than, as in the sentence, “I have more than ten books”.

Stumbling over then used as than or then confused me until I realized that in everyday Elizabethan English, the diarists often spelled things just as they pronounced them. And if I say the sentence I’m editing out loud, the meaning in context becomes clear because as I listen to what I actually say, I find that I pronounce the word the same way the diarists did!

Unless in print, or spoken by someone who enunciates clearly, practically everyone here in the South today says, “I have more then ten books”.

Yes, we Crackers pronounce many words just as the Elizabethan Puritans did.

That fascinates me.

I’m having such fun with this project.

Maybe I can call in sick to the oncologist so I can stay home and 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 @ 5:43 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Yesterday, the neurologist, Dr. Trout (whom I’ll name that after the famous Kilgore Trout, hero of so many Kurt Vonnegut novels) tested me to no end.

On one hand, his tests eliminated the possibility of Parkinson’s being my problem.

That’s good to know.

On the other hand, Dr. Trout’s tests proved conclusively that I need more three more sessions of testings.

I find this prospect grueling because of my aphenphosmphobia. Please look in my blog archives for December 11th to 14th, 2006, to read about how much I love being touched!

Don’t worry, I have no intention of turning this journal into a catalogue of my aches and pains unless such things directly relate to my real life but I will just mention medical stuff whenever it’s pertinent.

Like, I get to go to an oncologist tomorrow for still more tests.

I have no doubt that every single person who reads this blog (there were overe 9,000 readers in January) is undergoing some kind of trial, testing, aggravation or problem right now, today.

As the Patriarch Job observed, “Man that is born of woman is few of days and full of troubles”.

Medical tests are not the only kind that beset us.

Being tested is the common lot of man.

But, I hate being tested!

By teachers, by physicians or by God Almighty, I hate being tested. For instance, I cringe at even the thought of being touched.

No wonder my blood pressure always reads high; this stranger comes at me, grabs my arm and locks me into a cuff, then latches onto my wrist while she tightens that cuff.

Can’t fool me.

I’ve read about those women who handcuff men before they bring out the riding crop, clothespins, and black leather outfits.

Of course my blood pressure shoots up!

But enough of such nonsense! My brain knows perfectly well that that nurse means me no harm; it’s my own feelings that are out of whack. So I steel myself to undergo whatever tests are necessary. I just told Dr. Trout about my aversion to being touched and cooperated fully as he handled my arms and legs.

And when he applied a tuning fork to my feet, I hardly shuddered at all.

But on the other hand (yes, I know that’s three hands) getting these medical tests got me to thinking about how the Scripture often mentions testing as being part of life.

Which brings up the question of why God, who is omniscient, tests people?

Doesn’t He, who knows all, know how the test will turn out?

Why does He test us, send us trials and tribulations?

The Apostle James said, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience”.

Note: in the Elizabethan English of the King James Bible the word temptation is often used in the sense of test or trial or trouble

In Peter’s first letter, speaking of salvation, he said, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.

Why would these apostles think of testing as resulting in joy?

If God does not need proof of our tinsel strength, then why does He stretch us to the breaking point? Test us till we don’t think we can stand it another second?

I think an answer may be found in another ancient book. In Deuteronomy, one of the books Moses wrote, he said:

Thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart …, He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, … that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live

The test is not for God.

The test is for us.

The tests we go through does not show God naything He did not already know. The test shows us what we are made of. What we can endure. How much God loves and supports us. It proves to us the endless measure of His grace.

I see the situation as being like a swim coach who tests his players to their utter limit then at the end slaps them on the back and says, “There! I knew you could do it! Good job! Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”

No wonder the apostles, who saw things a bit clearer than I do, viewed testing as a portent of approaching joy.

So, we are to endure the vicissitudes of fate and testing with patience because, although we cringe and want to avoid this day’s test, our tests portend great things ahead.

As St. Paul said, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice … that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God”.

Good. Acceptable. Perfect.

But in spite of all that good stuff, this morning I sit here at my computer apprehensive, working myself into an unreasonable tizzy about being touched, wondering what delights that oncologist has in store for me tomorrow.

I sort of wish he’d win Lotto or something and cancel all his appointments.

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 @ 9:56 AM

Your comments are welcome: 2 comments

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Super Bowl Commercial

Did you see my Super Bowl ad?


I didn’t either.

So right after the game I called the NFL commissioner and demanded an explanation.

Commercials during the game only cost $2,600,000.00 for a 30 second spot. But I was at least $60,000.00 short of being able to buy a full 30 second ad. So I bribed this guy with a six-pack. He promised to engrave a link to my bookstore front, www.bluefishbooks.info , on the hoof of one of those big horses pulling a beer cart so millions and millions of viewers would buy my books this morning..

The guy I bribed with a six-pack swears he did write www.bluefgishbooks.info on the horse’s hoof with a permanent marker.

But it seems that the big horse with my ad on it’s hoof stepped in something left behind by one of the horses harnessed in the front of the line; thus obliterating my ad.

Guess I won’t be selling millions of my books after all.

Wrong football team won too.


Wait till next year!

This morning I’m off to see the neurologist. Goody. Goody. I’m really uptight about this because I loath being touched!

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 @ 5:39 AM

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


A couple of months ago I started drinking soup directly from the bowl.

When I tried to use a spoon, I sloshed soup all down the front of me.

That’s when I first noticed my hands shaking.

It’s gotten progressively worse and my primary care physician tested me for the possible onset of Parkinson’s, then he set up an appointment for me with a neurologist tomorrow morning.

Just what I need!

Oh well, in youth or old age, our times are in God’s hands and we live in the light of His mercy both daily and eternally.

Odd. But no where in the Scripture does Jesus ever cure anyone of old age.

In fact just after He rose from the dead, Jesus told Peter, “When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”

John’s Gospel adds that Jesus said this, “Signifying by what death Peter should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow me”.

On the down side of my shakes, I hit the wrong keys on my computer much more often making many more typos than I used to.

On the upside, now I can blame all my mistakes and misspellings on the tremor in my hands instead of on being ignorant of how to spell words.

I may know something about why I quiver by next Tuesday.

Be sure to read my Saturday Blog posting from yesterday and watch for my commercial on the foot of that big horse pulling the beer wagon during Super Bowl tonight.

Millions and millions and millions of tv viewers will see my ad and buy my books by the ton. I’m going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams of avarice — Well, almost.

I’m so excited my hands are shaking!

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 @ 7:11 AM

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Tornado, Beer, Books & Super Bowl

Thursday Blogger appeared to be out altogether.

I could not read anyone else’s blog nor could they read mine so I left Wednesday’s post up for an extra day while I went out to lunch with my friend Wes.

Thursday evening weather alerts placed Jacksonville was under a severe weather watch and about 3 a.m. a tornado touched down about 70 miles south of us killing at least 19 people, snapping trees, overturning cars, and shredding over 800 homes right down to the foundations.

Friday I checked our refrigerator for beer to drink during the Super Bowl football game on Sunday.

Yes, it’s still there.

Last year, for the 2006 Super Bowl, Ginny and I bought a six pack of beer. We drank two during that game, then we drank another two on the Fourth Of July, and we still have two left for tomorrow’s game.

Yes, even thought we are rabid religious fanatics, we are not teetotalers.

Perhaps I set a poor example for others in my drinking habits. I have seen many fine people devastated, degraded and destroyed by drink.

A tornado could not have done a better job on them.

I’ve told many a fine person at the mission, “Either you control the bottle or it controls you”.

But Jesus saves us from whatever has us licked, so drinking is not the real problem.

He said:

“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man….Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?…

“That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

I’ve heard too many people use liquor or drugs as an excuse for their behavior; “I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been drunk”.


Alcohol works just like castor oil.

It doesn’t put anything into the heart, it just makes what’s already there easier to come out.

I see nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, a little wine for thy stomach’s sake; but if you’ve ever found yourself hugging a commode, that may be a hint to look up your local AA meeting in the phone book.

Many Christians here in the South feel that any taste of alcohol is anathema. They won’t touch the stuff.

And while I respect their view, I don’t subscribe to it myself.

Therefore, for those who look forward to enjoying tomorrow’s Super Bowl game without the lubrication of beer, I refer to this happy website:


These English pub signs come from the website of the Brewery History Society. It’s a place where people from all over Great Britain have gone out taking photos of quaint beer and pub signs, some of which date back to 1666. They post hundreds of such photos on the site. These move from the realm of advertising into the realm of art and I found them delightful. The site is well worth a visit.

Speaking of advertising: Look for an ad for my books during Super Bowl. Commercials during the game only cost $2,600, 000.00 for a 30 second spot.

I did not have quite enough to buy a full 30 seconds so I bribed a guy with a six-pack and he engraved a link to my bookstore front, www.bluefishbooks.info , on the hoof of one of those big horses pulling a beer cart.

Every time you see one of those horses in a commercial, look at the hooves to see if you spot my name and think about buying one of my books.

Or not.

I hope you enjoy the game.

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 @ 7:14 AM

Your comments are welcome: 1 comments

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Yesterday's Words

Myne woorcke creepeth a head veary hoverly.

Yes it does.

Wednesday I only got six pages edited and formatted.

What? You didn’t catch that first sentence?

It’s is perfectly clear 16th Century English; it says, “ My work creeps ahead very slowly”.

But it says that in the style of the English language used in the diaries of Richard Rogers and Samuel Ward, two puritans of the Elizabethan era.

Ward was one of the translators of the King James Bible.

Back on December 28, 2006, “We Are Party People” and on January 3, 2007, “Fun In My World” (see my blog archives in the sidebar) I wrote blog postings about my work on these diaries.

Working with photocopies of a 1933 transcript, I am trying to turn the diaries into readable English for today’s readers.

What fun!

So many words have changed spelling since 1587 that as I entered these diaries in Word on my computer, Clippie, that little talking paperclip man on the Help menu, pops out and says, “There are too many spelling and grammatical errors in Rogers.doc to continue displaying them. To check the spelling and grammar of this document, chose Spelling and Grammar from the TOOLS menu”.

Thus, Word refuses to underline misspellings in red.

So I have to change them myself. One at a time.

Words like: godes, inioy, whi, thei, maryed, thinck, and lookeinge.

Which mean: God’s, enjoy, why, they, married, think, and looking.

Yes, words do change.

Even today.

Why, when a young lady offered to show me her bling, I got all excited till I found out she was showing nothing but a stupid charm bracelet!

So I am updating Ward’s and Rogers’ Elizabethan language as best I can.

I hope to make these diaries readable for people today because they show each writer’s walk with Christ; therefore, they help me in my own walk.

Few books help me more than the diaries, journals (and blogs) of other Christians. And when I read my own diaries from years past, they help me live my life today a little better.

Seeing where I’ve been helps me see where I’m going.

Richard Rogers enjoyed that same experience

On September 2, 1587, Rogers read some of his own past journal entries and said:

And lookeinge backe, I acknowledge that my course hath been farre unbeseeminge one who hath so longe geven name to the gospel …. Oh what had become of me if God had put me to my plundge in many trials as he might have done? For I had been utterly unable to have stood. Would it might please the lord to geve me cause of greater reioiceinge hereafter, and that I may keepe in this harty and sensible feeleinge of care, watch fulness and vew of mine estatee that I might nether covertly desire to inioy that liberty which I could not soundly approve to my conscience in pleasure and profits. … For my mind hath been all the daye longue with the lorde.

In my blog archives (on the sidebar) for January 3, 2006, “I Owe A Debt To Dracula”, I wrote about how I’ve kept a daily journal for 25+ years and what my diary means to me in daily life.

That’s why I’m slugging through these ancient papers to make them available to modern readers. We are all in the same boat.


My mind is going!

Each morning I pack Ginny’s lunch for her to take to work. This morning I realized that I’d packed the last breakfast bun and would need more to finish out the week.

I called my daughter Jennifer and asked her to drive me to the grocery store for some breakfast buns.

While I was in Publix, I bought a few extra things since I was already there, essentials like carrots and ice cream.

Paid $25 for two sacks of groceries.

Got home and found I had forgot to buy any breakfast buns. Not a one. And that’s the only reason I’d gone to the store in the first place.

I need to get my mind out of the 16th Century and into this one.

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

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