C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday Drive: The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended

August always seems to me like the Sunday evening of the year, the fleeting pause before the world and its work start up again, for good or ill. So for today this seems a fitting choice: a beloved British hymn, the music of which may possibly have been written by Sir Arthur Sullivan:

The Book of Common Prayer

The Song of Mary    Magnificat
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
    in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
    and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
    to Abraham and his children for ever.

V.    Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R.    And grant us your salvation.
V.    Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
R.    Let your people sing with joy.
V.    Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R.    For only in you can we live in safety.
V.    Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R.    And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V.    Let your way be known upon earth;
R.    Your saving health among all nations.
V.    Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R.    Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V.    Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R.    And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.

A Collect for Peace
Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right
judgments, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that
peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be
fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered
from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness;
through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

A Collect for Aid against Perils
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy
defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love
of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Collect for Protection
O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the
strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We
thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and
humbly ask for your protection through the coming night.
Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who
died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your
presence: Send forth upon us the spirit of love, that in
companionship with one another your abounding grace may
increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As always, take what you like and leave the rest. Whatever you do, keep hope alive.

A text for today: My strength is made perfect in weakness. A profound paradox.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

How Colors Got Their Names

A fascinating look at the anthropology of color terms.  Before you watch the video, what do you suppose the first three color names were?

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fret Not: Another Time Out

Almost heaven:  the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Okay, as I did in late June, I now have to take another break from infuriating, disgusting, outrageous, maddening, horrifying current events before I get a mental overload.  When I was younger, I used to chew on my anger as a dog gnaws a bone, whether directed at private or public persons; but such is not the course of wisdom.  Anger eats you up inside, and has no effect on the other party:  a bad habit that I am finally trying to break after sixty years of learning the hard way.

So if I don't post about current events for a while, I hope my truckbuddies will understand that it's not that I don't know what's going on, or have stopped caring; but I have to take care of myself first, or I will be no good to anyone.  I'm sure my truckbuddies can see the present situation in this country as well as I can:  it's entirely obvious, the contrast between Good and Evil, True and False, Democracy and Dictatorship - or should I say, Dicktatorship.  You don't really need me to tell you that.  But I have to step back awhile and catch my breath.

In the meantime, I recommend Psalm 37 for anyone who needs a mental break, a bit of fresh air, a calming thought just now.  As an Episcopalian, not a Bible-thumper, I say take it all merely as poetry, if you please.  I offer prayers and psalms and such on this blog not to proselytize, but simply as a means to inner peace, renewal of hope, and faith in the power of goodness:  the Love that moves the sun and other stars, as Dante put it.

If it works for you, fine; if not, I hope you will discover another path that does.  This is the spiritual grammar and vocabulary that I understand, that works for me.  Sometimes, anyway.

1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Another Outrageous Shooting - WHY?

Because we are night owls here, out of sync with the rest of the world, and because we don't watch TV news, your Head Trucker often does not see the big stories until a day or two after the rest of you.

Overnight, I had a chance to get caught up on the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  And I am furious.  Not all the details of what happened are yet available, it seems, but the HORRIFIC video shot by a bystander clearly shows Blake walking away from several policemen following him with drawn guns.

By the time he reaches the door of his SUV, one officer is close enough to grab his shirt.  As Blake continues to open the door and tries to get into the vehicle, the officer starts shooting him in the back - seven or more shots can be heard.

Why shoot a man in the back who apparently was not armed and not threatening the officers?  Walking away from police who were yelling at him to stop was a totally stupid thing to do, granted.  But from what I can see on the video, there is NO EXCUSE for what the cop did.  He could have stopped him several other ways besides shooting him.

And it seems Blake's three young children were in the SUV at the time, watching all this.  HORRIBLE.

Blake is in hospital fighting for his life.  And rioters are tearing up the city of Kenosha.

Has no one told the police in Kenosha - and all through the rest of the USA - to fucking STOP KILLING BLACK PEOPLE?

Three months after George Floyd was slowly, agonizingly murdered on a pavement in Minneapolis, and this shit is STILL HAPPENING?



Sorry to sound so extreme, guys, but there's no reason for this shit to still be happening.  Every cop in the nation should have gotten the word by now.  WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE COPS ON THE STREET, AND WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING ABOUT IT???

I don't condone or excuse all the rioting and violence at all.  But obviously, it's not going to stop as long as the cops keep MURDERING people at will, with no punishment and no control.  Of course the country is going to fall apart if it doesn't STOP RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

And if the cops are a law unto themselves, then NOBODY IS SAFE.  They can kill anybody they please, anytime, anywhere.  You or me or Grandma or Uncle John.  Anyone.

Black lives matter.  Justice matters.  Simple human decency matters.  I don't know what else to say.

I know I don't want to hear pretty words of sympathy and sorrow from any goddamn politicians high or low, left or right.  I want somebody to take real action, take control of the cops, and STOP THE MADNESS NOW!   STOP KILLING BLACK PEOPLE!!  JUST STOP STOP STOP IT!!!

God bless Jacob Blake and his family.  God help us all.

P. S. , 8/26/20 -- I just saw an opinion piece by a journalist in Wisconsin saying, "I don't believe any police academy trains them to murder someone like that." Oh, but they do.  That's the problem.

See my June 11 post, "Killer Cops - The Why and the How," for a couple of eye-opening video reports on this very subject.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Evil Is Real

Your Head Trucker presents this new video from the Lincoln Project for your consideration.  It is a political ad by a group of Republicans who seek Trump's defeat, and technically falls under the broad category of propaganda - however, propaganda may be true or false, and the video does seem to square with recent investigative journalism such as this article in Vanity Fair and this piece by NBC News.

So read, think, and make up your own mind about what kind of baby-faced demon would, in effect, condemn American citizens to suffering and death for the sake of political advantage.

While we are on the subject of evil, what would you think of a high federal official who deliberately sabotaged the United States Mail in order to throw an election? While the name of the crime might be debatable, TRAITOR springs to mind as a fitting name for the culprit.

Nixon: I am not a crook.

Trump:  I am not a racist.

Louis Dejoy: I am not sabotaging the election.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday Drive: O God, Our Help in Ages Past

The much-loved hymn by Isaac Watts, the lyrics of which he composed in 1708:

From the Book of Common Prayer:

For Joy in God's Creation
O heavenly Father, you have filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For our Country
Almighty God, you have given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Take what you like and leave the rest. We all need something to uplift and steady us through the perturbations of this unsteady modern world.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Democratic Convention Highlights, Day 4

Joe John Wayne Biden Accepts the Nomination:

Well, bless my soul. That's the best damn speech I ever heard in my life. What a MAN. Just what we needed to see. BALLS!

You nailed it, Joe. Proud of you. I'm behind you all the way. So is every decent man and woman in this country.

Now come on, boys - let's saddle up and go take our country back!


~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

Transcript excerpt::
You know, American history tells us that it’s been in our darkest moments that we’ve made our greatest progress, that we’ve found the light.

In this dark moment, I believe we’re poised to make great progress again, that we can find the light once more. You know, many people have heard me say this, but I’ve always believed you can define America in one word: possibilities. The defining feature of America, everything is possible.

That in America, everyone, and I mean everyone, should be given an opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them. We can never lose that.

In times as challenging as these, I believe there’s only one way forward: as a united America. United in our pursuit of a more perfect union. United in our dreams of a better future for us and for our children. United in our determination to make the coming years bright.

Are you ready? I believe we are. This is a great nation. We’re a good and decent people. For Lord’s sake, this is the United States of America. There’s never been anything we’ve been unable to accomplish when we’ve done it together.

The Irish poet Seamus Heaney once wrote,
History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme with passion and purpose. Let us begin. You and I together. One nation. Under God. United in our love for America. United in our love for each other.

For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. And light is more powerful than dark. This is our moment. This is our mission. May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here, tonight, as love and hope and light join in the battle for the soul of the nation.

And this is a battle we will win and we will do it together. I promise you.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

For the record, a few more notable videos from last night's convention, selected by your Head Trucker.  And for the benefit of my overseas truckbuddies, let me point out that these particular speakers reflect, as does the Democratic Party in general, a broad spectrum of backgrounds and viewpoints, united in working for a more perfect union of these United States, with liberty and justice for all, not merely the favored few.

Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico:

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey:

Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin:

Former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg of Indiana:

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a wounded veteran, calls Trump the "Coward-in-Chief":

And Governor Gavin Newsom phones it in from an evacuation center in wildfire-stricken California:

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Democratic Convention Highlights, Day 3

Speeches from the third day of the virtual convention, selected by your Head Trucker.

Former President Obama:  "Our Democracy Is at Stake"
Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala's ability to lead this country out of these dark times and build it back better. But here's the thing: no single American can fix this country alone. Not even a president. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better. It requires an active and informed citizenry. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability – to embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure.

Because that's what at stake right now. Our democracy.

Look, I understand why a lot of Americans are down on government. The way the rules have been set up and abused in Congress make it easier for special interests to stop progress than to make progress. Believe me, I know. I understand why a white factory worker who's seen his wages cut or his job shipped overseas might feel like the government no longer looks out for him, and why a Black mother might feel like it never looked out for her at all. I understand why a new immigrant might look around this country and wonder whether there's still a place for him here; why a young person might look at politics right now, the circus of it all, the meanness and the lies and crazy conspiracy theories and think, what's the point?

Well, here's the point: this president and those in power – those who benefit from keeping things the way they are – they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can't win you over with their policies. So they're hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote does not matter. That's how they win. That's how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That's how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That's how a democracy withers, until it's no democracy at all.

And we can't let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you're going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too. Do what Americans have done for over two centuries when faced with even tougher times than this – all those quiet heroes who found the courage to keep marching, keep pushing in the face of hardship and injustice.

A poignant speech by former Representative Gabby Giffords:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

And Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for Vice-President:

What I Say: To be perfectly honest, some of tonight's speeches - including several others not posted here - gave me the feeling I was listening in on the chatter at girls' night out: lots of cutesy smiles and talk about babies and mothers and ooey-gooey feelings, and who loves you best. Well now, sisters, that's fine, that's fine - I suppose you all feel your time has come, here at the centennial of Women's Suffrage, and why not celebrate being girls in power together?  Whee!

But it's a damn hard, cruel world out there, and you're not being elected to toss posies and wave from the back of a convertible. You are all entrusted with the fearsome responsibility of saving this Republic from destruction in the midst of the most terrible crisis since the Second World War - or the Civil War - maybe even since our country was founded. As Obama said, our democracy is at stake, threatened by malicious, cunning forces within and without.  Cutesy, gooey, kissy-kissy feelings just won't cut it.

I'm not saying any of you ladies aren't strong - I'm just saying, you'd better be prepared for a helluva big fight against some mighty mean and ugly desperadoes - and fight to win, by wit and grit. We are counting on you, Kamala, and all the rest of you - and so are unborn generations who will grow up in liberty or slavery, depending on how you meet the challenges of today.

So go get 'em, girls. But leave the powder puffs at home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Democratic Convention Highlights, Day 2

For the record, a few notable speeches and presentations from the second night of the virtual convention, selected by your Head Trucker.

Former Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders:

Democratic former President Bill Clinton:

Republican former Secretary of State Colin Powell:

Republican Cindy McCain, widow of the late Senator John McCain:

Gay Democratic former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg:

The Republican former Governor of Ohio, John Kasich:

And to wrap it all up, a scathing "Memo to Trump" from the Reverend Al Sharpton, who as usual tells it just like it is:

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

MIchelle Obama: Vote Like Our LIves Depend on It

The former First Lady gave an impassioned keynote speech yesterday on the first night of the (virtual() Democratic National Convention, and while it might have sounded a bit less scripted before a live audience, her message was right on target. Excerpt:
So what do we do now? What's our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, "When others are going so low, does going high still really work?" My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that's drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.

But let's be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we've got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.

And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.

So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.

Now, I understand that my message won't be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I'm feeling. You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.

So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don't make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.

What I Say:  All my truckbuddies, take heed.  There is no reason to fear that Trump will start a dictatorship if he wins this election.  The dictatorship has already begun.  It's here.  It's real.  This is happening.

Trump says, If I lose, it means the election is rigged.  Or to put that another way:  No election is valid unless I win.  If that is not the declaration of a dictatorship over these United States, what the hell is?  You waiting for a nice, polite little ceremony in the Rose Garden or something?

It's no longer a question of if or when: he has the Constitution in one hand, and a lighted match in the other. What are you going to do about it?

I'll tell you what, boys: your Head Trucker is old and infirm, and can barely make a circuit around the grocery aisles anymore, much less stand all day and night in a voting line, but with God's help, he is going to do all he can to make sure his vote counts on November 3rd.

I hope you will, too. Or else you might never get to vote again. Don't think it can't happen here. It already has.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunday Drive: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

From Morning Prayer, Rite One, The Book of Common Prayer:
A Collect for the Renewal of Life
O God, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the
night and turnest the shadow of death into the morning:
Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep
thy law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that,
having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we
may, when night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Peace
O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in
knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service
is perfect freedom: Defend us, thy humble servants, in all
assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy
defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through
the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Grace
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God,
who hast brought us safely to the beginning of this new day:
Defend us with thy mighty power; and grant that we fall into
no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but being ordered
by thy governance, may do always what is righteous in thy sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Guidance
O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our
being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy
Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life
we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever
walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, who didst stretch out thine arms of love
on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come
within the reach of thy saving embrace: So clothe us in thy
Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring
those who do not know thee to the knowledge and love of
thee; for the honor of thy Name. Amen.

Regardless or faith or non-faith, we all need something to steady and strengthen the inner man.  If any of these prayers help you, I'm glad.  Take what you like and leave the rest; take it all merely as poetry, if you please, and feel free to change the pronouns around as you wish.

If you prefer modern verb forms, see Morning Prayer, Rite Two.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

What I'm Watching: A Cold Night in Hell

Back by popular demand:  It seems friend Damian, the hot studly very informative bartender in Thursday's post of educational videos, is also an actor.  (Isn't everyone in LA?)  Here are three short plays he's done with a theater group out there, and apparently each one was written, produced, and performed in a single day.  The first one, especially, is sure to make you laugh out loud.  I did.  (But crank up the sound.)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

How to Cool Off

Damian shows you how - with a comfortable screw on the beach in the seabreeze at sunrise.

Let me know if it works for you.

We're melting away down here in Texas - here's the temp just before sunrise yesterday morning, and the week's forecast:

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Your Questions Answered

Your Head Trucker answers questions from readers.

Dear Russ,

You seem like a smart man, I thought maybe you can help me with a big problem I’m having.  I’m 32 and never had a longterm relationship before but a few months ago I met this really HOT guy at a party and well, we fell for each other in a big way and are ready to move in together.  Trouble is, there’s an allergy problem. I have a 12-year-old schnauzer who sleeps on my bed at night.  Every time my boyfriend comes to my place, he starts sneezing uncontrollably and it ruins the evening for us.  Otherwise, we seem to be a perfect match. But what can I do?  I don’t want to give away my dog, but I don’t want to lose this chance at a great LTR either.

Perplexed in Pensacola

Dear Perplexed:  That’s easy.  Take the dog to a vet and get him treated for that allergy.  Or fix up a separate bedroom you can “match up” in without Fido spoiling the mood.  Good luck!

Dear Good Friend Manley:

Your excellence writings has come to attention off we the Commisars of the Poeple’s Revolutionary Front of Kukudada.  We thank you also have welfare of common pioples at heart being because you drive simple truck not big fat limazin like greedy capitalist pigs runing you govertment and rapping all pimples of the world for filthy gold and oil to.  We like enlist your aide promote peace freedom also true equality for all poepels of world so we ask you print are manifesto on your widerange blog 168 pages plus full referenses of all great freedom loving riters like yourself from vast ages of world and elsewhere.  You will do this without asking miserable fee for publication yes?  And consider kind donation from your heavy Amrican pockekt to support struggle of sad starving soldier poeples fighting good cause yes?  PS, gay OK with us we no discramate against all oppress good pippels like yourselve long is you preform nice in sicret not like cursed dogs in strit.

Grateful Comrade X

Dear X:  Sorry, bud, I gave at the office, and my own revolutionary coffers are empty.  Try hitting up Bernie Sanders.  I hear he’s loaded with dough.

Dear Mr. Manley:

I am a normal man who just happened to come across your blog, which seems to be of a homosexual orientation.  In fact, I seem to be finding homosexual type blogs more and more lately, and this upsets me because I am totally normal and always have been, and I am truly happy with that.  But I keep thinking about the homosexual lifestyle and wonder if I might be turning homosexual myself.  I assume you are a practicing homosexual yourself so I just want to ask your honest opinion:  does painful, degrading sex with another man really make you happy?

Wondering in Walla Walla

Dear Wondering:  No, but that’s not my scene.  Your mileage may vary, though.

~~ ~~ ~~ oo O oo ~~ ~~ ~~

FLASH: I don't mean to brag, but your Head Trucker's advice just might be listened to in high places:

Way to go, Joe!  The beer's on me next time we meet up.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sunday Drive: Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

This short, but comforting little hymn, written by Edward Hopper (not the painter) in 1871, is an old favorite of your Head Trucker's:

And here is another old favorite prayer of your Head Trucker's from Forward Day by Day that I used to recite daily:
A Morning Resolve

I will try this day to live a simple, sincere and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking;

Cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence;

Exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.

In particular I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right.

And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Take what you like and leave the rest.  We all need something to keep us sane of mind and stout of heart in this furious modern world.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

What I'm Watching: Rick Steves

Forty-four years ago today, your Head Trucker first set foot on the soil of merry old England, owing to the grace of a little unexpected windfall that came into my hands - though I really had no business gallivanting off to foreign parts when money was so hard to come by.

Owing to assorted family tragedies and financial reverses, too dreary to relate here, by the time I finished high school my mom and I were deep in poverty.  It took me ten long years of perseverance to finally get through college, meanwhile learning the value of a dollar the hard way, by working all sorts of ill-paid, bottom-drawer jobs with no future:  construction worker, apartment cleaner, warehouseman, delivery truck driver, retail clerk, night auditor, and so forth.

But to see Europe and its history, art, and culture with my own eyes - ah, now that was like a dream come true!  I decided there was no better way to use that little sum than to treat myself to a two-week tour of London and Paris - at the time it cost around $800 (about three months' minimum-wage pay then) for a hotel-and-airfare package deal via TWA.  It might have been more prudent to save that money or apply it to necessities; but I thought to myself at the time, what if I never get another chance to go? 

And in point of fact, no other chance ever did present itself, so I'm glad I went when I could:  a poor man's Grand Tour.  The memories are lovely.  It would have been even nicer if I'd had a travel companion to share the experience with, but none of my blue-collar friends could afford it, or were even interested in seeing them furrin places over yonder.  Why bother with all that boring old stuff when you could just stay home, pop another Bud, and watch the Bicentennial Minutes?

Fate being a rather capricious tour guide on the road of life, I am still struggling to make ends meet in retirement, but I'm sure that many Americans are by now familiar with the travel books and videos of Rick Steves, a lively, extroverted fellow who thinks travel is not only fun but educational as well.  Pick just about any European country you please, and you will easily find one or several Rick Steves videos on YouTube telling you just how to get there, and what to see and do.

But though Rick presents himself as a laid-back, happy-go-lucky type, he has a lot more on the ball than you might expect.  He has written a book whose title is self-explanatory:  Travel as a Political Act, which I have not read, but I believe he expresses some of the same views in this video I'm watching this week.  If you want to hear the philosophy of travel from someone who has spent a third of his life in Europe every year for the last forty years, give it a whirl; I'm about halfway through it myself, and find it very thought-provoking.

Or if you'd rather just imagine yourself soaking up some rays and cruising through the blue Mediterranean, here's a you-are-there video. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sunday Drive: Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire

The well-known hymn by Scottish-born James Montgomery, poet, hymnodist, and anti-slavery writer:

~~~~~ o o O o o ~~~~~

It occurs to me that in the midst of this troubled world full of conflict and controversy, which I am powerless to resolve, I could do worse than to offer to my truckbuddies and drive-by readers some prayers that I have found helpful over the years in keeping my head calm, my heart humble, and my spirit hopeful - well, sometimes anyway.

Regardless of faith or the lack of it, we all need inner strength of some kind - something the roaring mass media and frantic consumer culture cannot give - to steady us amid the frightful changes and chances of this mortal life:  if any of these prayers I present in the coming weeks help you, I'm glad.

These are Episcopal prayers, but you need not bother with theology at all; you can take them merely as poetry, if you please.  It's the thought that counts.  And it's always permissible to keep the parts you like and discard the rest.

I will begin this series with a prayer from Forward Day by Day, an Episcopal publication, that I prayed every morning for years; I still know it by heart.
For Today

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in my fellow men;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of Thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness, and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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