The problem with having your own website that has any sort of traffic on it is that from time to time you get e-mails like this:
I'd like to start by saying I love wesclark.com - it's awesome.
I'm interested in contributing an article to wesclark.com - I can select a topic that matches the tone and theme of your site, or if you prefer, I can write about something of your choosing. The article will be unique and interesting to read. In return, I ask that I be able to subtly include a link to my site barstools.net within the article.
If you are not interested in the article, I am also willing to offer you a one time donation for a permanent link to barstools.net in a prominent place on your website.
Hope you are having a wonderful week!
barstools.net. A subject matter that is exactly in keeping with the content on wesclark.com, developed by a Mormon. Makes perfect sense.
The other thing to avoid if you don't want junk mail is incorporating something. In my case it was a rugby club, back in 2000. To this day I get catalogs for industrial cleaners and solvents, office supplies, corporate logo pens, etc., all addressed to the guy who was the president of the club twelve years ago in care of my address. The only thing that keeps me from having USPS forward this stuff to him is the fact that I like the guy.
The city from whence I hail, Burbank, California, rightfully calls itself the media capital. Everyone is media savvy, including churches. Check it out: Westminster's no cell phones video. Is it just me, or does the laughing guy with the red shirt walking down the aisle at the end seem somewhat satanic? Hahaha! I've captured another soul at Westminster!
I watched a wonderful documentary last night (in stark contrast to the two I didn't like last time): Circo (2010), about a struggling Mexican family circus. It was one of those slices of life - but the lives were more or less unfamiliar to me. (Do you know any circus people?) It was quite engrossing. A bit sad, but engrossing.
I have never been to a circus, ever. (Does a television taping of Bozo the Clown count? I think not.) What's more, I have never wanted to see one. But nowadays I think I probably ought to catch one before I take a swing on that Great Trapeze in the Sky. Cirque de Soliel recommends itself - but that's hardly a traditional circus, is it? That's tarted up and Frenchified. I mean one with unfunny clowns and a woman in tights standing on a galloping horse.
The closest I have ever gotten to a circus was a grocery store parking lot carnival, in my case the local Ralph's on the corner of Buena Vista and Victory in Burbank. It was Spring, 1965, and I was turning nine. It was the kind of attraction run by dodgy looking guys with tattoos and adult-looking teenagers with rolled-up sleeves and cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. I rode the Ferris Wheel - I recall being interested in seeing all the air conditioning equipment atop Ralph's roof - and walked though a supremely unfrightening House of Horrors. I remember looking at the various lit devil masks and gags and thinking how I'd improve on them. The attraction that caused the most interest among we kids, however, was The Hammer.
It was a ride that looked dangerous: One was locked into a noisy, rickety steel cabin and flung around first in arcs, then upside down. The kid lore was that you couldn't ride it without vomiting profusely. Looking back on it as an adult I wondered why, if this were the case, that the thing didn't smell to high heaven and kids didn't emerge besoiled. But nine year-olds don't always think deductively. Subject to multiple dares, I finally rode the Hammer, and much like Peggy Lee in her song Is That All There Is?, musing upon disappointment with a circus, I too, wondered, is that all there is to the Hammer?
My next great realization about fear took place when I was in the Marines. We once had to arrange ourselves and our wall lockers for an excruciating inspection. It was heralded by our NCOs as being one of the great events of our enlistment, a judgment by those in power to see who was squared away and who was not. When the great day had finally come we were duly marched out on a hot day to stand on the tarmac in ordered ranks, awaiting God with newly dry cleaned uniforms, spit-shined shoes, polished brass and fearful demeanor. We were all apprehensive; you could feel the tension in the air.
An hour and a half later under the hot sun the tension had entirely disappeared, replaced by exasperated impatience and anger. Where in the hell were these guys? We were ready to bayonet our own mothers. When the inspecting party had finally arrived (a gaggle of neat-looking officers accompanied by a Sergeant Major with a mean scar on his face), we perked up a bit. At last! The inspection was far from exacting: the party just sort of moved past me without asking any difficult questions save where I was from. "Burbank, California, sir!' "Oh, local boy, huh?" And that was it. The great sifting had taken place. Afterwards we all compared notes in the barracks and called it "A Lifer Scare" ("Lifer" being our derogatory term for a career Marine). Afterwards, when threatened, we would ask ourselves, "Is this just another Lifer Scare?"
I have had many Lifer Scares since that occasion, each one having less impact and potential than the previous. Now that I am 55 I don't scare easily. Oh, sure, the fundamentals - crippling health ailments, deaths of children, financial ruin - still have considerable potential for unease, but there is a sense that having come along this long in life, somehow things will sort themselves out. And if they don't, they don't, and we cope. Life goes on until it doesn't.
This week's Lifer Scare is my piano lesson tonight, for which I am rather unprepared. It hasn't been an especially good week to practice. The unexpected warmth and the change to daylight savings time has made me kind of logy, irritable and careless.
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