You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2007.

This one is actually a song – date unknown – the melody came first. You know how literature experts say that when a poem is written as a song, and you are just reading it (unable to hear the music) you should cut the penman some slack? Well, . . . .


Have you ever seen,
truth that can be seen?
Have you ever heard,
truth told in just a word?
Have you ever thought,
put you mind to it,
fearing that if not,
You are an idiot?
And if you can find,
words that you call true,
take a look inside.
What do they make you do?

Where do you come from?
What made you do that?
Which place is your home?
Who is your Mom and Dad?
Are you aft or fore?
What makes you listen?
Can you yet ignore?
Will you resist it?
Whispers in your ear,
words that you once knew,
Voices that you hear,
What do they make you do?

Hey, my friend,
where is your mind?
What are you thinking?
Look again and wonder why,
Options are shrinking.
Wonder when,
and wonder why,
Your dreams are sinking in.
What were you thinking then.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From Obadiah

We have heard a report from the LORD *** The pride of your heart has deceived you *** Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD  *** Do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune  *** Do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin  *** Do not boast in the day of distress. *** Do not loot his wealth in the day of his calamity. *** The Day of the LORD Is Near upon all the nations. *** As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. *** In Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy. *** The house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. *** The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame. *** The exiles of this host of the people of Israel shall possess the land.  *** Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion. *** The kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

So what negative thing happened to my Psyche as a result of seeing the angry overly-physical mom yelling at the out of control unruly kids at the grocery store? I unwisely, rediculously, illogically experienced feelings of pride in my own parenting.

Now this pride was wrong-minded for two reasons, the first one having to do with a subject that I have touched on in my Judging article, to wit: I had no way of knowing what kind of circumstances that family had been in. There may be very good reasons why those kids were out of control and the mom had lost it – and, you know – there but for the grace of God go I.

But let’s say we could neglect that pride discouraging idea and assume that, no, there was no good reason for the Mom to have lost control of herself and her kids like that. Okay. There’s still a good reason why any pride I felt having seen that situation was foolish. Here it is:

Jamsco, should it give you any kind of gladness that you are a better parent than the worst parent you have ever personally witnessed?

And the answer comes back – No.

No, Jamsco, actually you should hold your parenting up to a somewhat higher standard. You should try to do better than just better than the worst.

So Supermarket Pride is pride where there should be none. Where you are comparing yourself to something everyone agrees is quite bad.

I think this is a fairly common problem in our culture (perhaps all of humanity) and it would be helpful to have this pointed out to us. But our culture does the opposite – it markets for those who want to experience supermarket pride.

So those who watch Jerry Springer (or used to – is it still on? And by the way, no, I’ve never watched it) watch it because they want to feel better than those losers who humiliate themselves on it. “At least I’m not that bad!  Right, Honey?”

This is why half of the reality shows are popular. This is why we have so much glee when a famous person does something foolish publicly, or when a contestant can’t talk about student geography deficiencies coherently.

I used to think that Target did this intentionally with the Bratz dolls. Certainly no one would be so foolish as to buy something like that for a daughter. Target must be putting them on sale as a public service to help its shoppers feel like good parents because they don’t buy them. But actually this isn’t true; evidently there are some who actually buy them for their pre-teen girls.

Wait! Stop! You’re doing it right now! Yes, you – Puppet Reader! You feeling prideful because you don’t watch Jerry Springer or care about Britney Spears. Cut it out! Set the bar higher.

Watch out for and avoid Supermarket Pride. It will only bring you down.

. . . made by people which enabled them to find the Responsible Puppet:

* Return of the Jedi sermon

* Curiously Inconsistent Pirates * Puppets sermons for Labor day

* Steal gas from dispenser (I am not proud that this one found my blog)

* Bible: Saying what nobody dares to say

* I want to see the old PetsMart commercial

* How to build fishing electroshock equipment

* If I could climb a ladder up to heaven

* Likeness between Friday everythung chang
* Likeness between Friday everything chang
(Yes, both found its way here)

* You ask me why I chose the glass of wine

* Recycled material robots for kids

* Meat Bazookas Hams

* Salty looking spots appearing on my bric
(Hmmmm. . . . I hope that word is ‘Bricks’)

It’s September 25th, which means that there are only three months until Christmas, and I haven’t seen any store advertisements or heard any carols yet. Who says they start that stuff too soon!

Our Pastor was supposed to be at church yesterday, doing a child dedication, installing our new children’s pastor, giving the sermon. But he wasn’t.

He was grieving with his family. They had learned the day before that his new granddaughter had died the day before she was due to be born. It was a complete surprise.

I recommend that you read about it (especially the last paragraph) and I ask you to pray for them, especially Abraham and Molly, her parents.

A High School Poem, which was turned in as part of a Advanced Creative Writing project of the same title, and which was deemed ‘Excellent’ by the English teacher who, after looking at how he graded other poems that I turned in, was perhaps too generous. 

Point of View

Dumplings in a blue broth disperse,
Clear mirror with white chips,
 That have been scraped away
Ice begins to emerge
Cracked up – pieces of a puzzle
Solid uniform ghost against the still perfect blueness
Builds up into mountains
Covered with white sheets of cool.
The clouds come back,
And the peaks are gone.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I learned from Calvin (Part 4 – Circa 1987) 

Wither and die, bloodsucking freaks of nature!! *** Aren’t these long summer days great? No responsibilities at all! We have the whole day to ourselves. *** I take it there’s no qualifying exam to be a Dad.  *** I always have to help dad establish the proper context. *** The end of summer is always hard on me. Trying to cram all the goofing off I’ve been meaning to do. *** New dad wanted. Frequent traveler preferred. Liberal views on discipline a must, ask for Calvin during normal work hours. *** They can make me do it, but they can’t make me do it with dignity.  *** Once I’m rich, I can hire somebody to take all my dumb tests! *** Geez, do you think traveling years into the future is like driving down the street?! We’ve got to contend with vortexes and light speeds! Anything could go wrong! Of course we need to wear goggles! *** It takes an uncommon mind to think of these things *** This sounds suspiciously like one of Dad’s plots to build my character. *** My life needs a rewind/erase button. … and a volume control. *** A lot can happen when you are gone all morning! *** Girls are like slugs – they probably serve some purpose, but it’s hard to imagine what. *** Sometimes it’s good to hush up a while and let autumn stick in a few words. *** Any day you have to take a bath and go to bed early isn’t a day off in my book. *** Processed lunch meat is pretty scary. What are those little specks anyway? Lizard parts? *** We’d probably be dead now if it wasn’t for Twinkies.

The Adventures of Ogden: Man of the Suburb
September – Cafeteria Conversations

(The first of a new monthly series written by Jamsco and brought to you by the Responsible Puppet)

Ogden was in the corporate cafeteria at his workplace, reading “The Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. He was just finishing his slice of pizza (a regular Thursday ritual for him), when two older ladies sat at the table just behind him. They were in the middle of a conversation.

    “So my daughter Susan just rented that Robin Hood, Men in Tights, that Mel Gibson movie and she said didn’t like it. She said it was too silly and the attempts at humor were not funny.”
    “What?” thought Ogden. She was not speaking quietly and he didn’t have to eavesdrop to hear. “She must mean Mel Brooks.” He tried to ignore them and get back into his book.
    The other lady was puzzled “I thought that movie was more of an adventure and a romance. I don’t remember it as trying to be funny.”
    “Oh, I think you’re thinking of the other Robin Hood movie. The one with Kevin Co – , oh what was his name. Kevin Connery. That’s it.”
    “Kevin Costner,” whispered Ogden to himself, “Costner”
    “Kevin Connery? Isn’t that the guy who was James Bond?”
    “Yeah, I think so.”
    “But I didn’t think the Robin Hood guy had a very good British accent.”
    “That is strange. You’d think they’d pick a guy with a good accent for James Bond.”
    Ogden wasn’t aware that he we crumpling up the pages of his book as he listened.

    “Well, the last movie that I saw with Kevin Connery was that Indiana Jones movie. I think it was ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Evil Temple.’ or something like that. With Harrison Ford.”
    “Now Harrison would have a good British accent”
    “He would?” asked the other lady.
    “He would?” thought Ogden. He started to pick up his lunch.
    “Yeah. Well, wasn’t he one of the Beatles? You know, the peaceful one, or whatever?”
    “Oh, that’s right. He was the one who knew that other singer, who got them into drugs. Bob D-, What was his name?”
    “Bob Dylan!” whispered Ogden.
   “Bob Denver.” The lady said. “That’s it.”
   “No, Bob Dylan!” said Ogden somewhat out loud and with somewhat of an upset tone in his voice.
   “Excuse me?” asked the two ladies cheerfully, turning around to look at him.

   Ogden forced himself to smile as he turned around and he said, with as much pleasantness as he could muster, “It was Bob Dylan. Bob Denver played Gilligan.”
    “Oh,” said one of the ladies.
    “Oh.” said the other. “Well, thanks, obviously we didn’t know that. In fact, I didn’t even know that the Beatles were ever even on Gilligan’s Island.”
    Ogden bit his lip for a second. He stood up with his tray and said patiently and calmly, “No, the Beatles didn’t know Bob Denver, they knew Bob Dylan. And I think the Beatle you’re thinking about was George Harrison, not Harrison Ford.”
    “Oh, yes.” said the second lady.
    “Thanks for clearing that up for us,” said the other.
    “You’re welcome” said Ogden, anxious to leave, “Bye now.”

    As he left, Ogden noted Phil, a fellow departmental person, just now entering the cafeteria with his bag lunch.

    The two women watched as Ogden walked around the corner. When he was out of sight, they grinned at each other and then laughed. One of them looked at her watch. “That was pretty good. Less than 3 minutes. Should we try for two and a half?”
    “You bet!” whispered the other, seeing Phil sit down behind them. And then she said loudly “But if John Denver was on Gilligan’s Island, Why didn’t he sing more?”
    “What?” thought Phil.

I have been thinking about a concept that is a bit hard to define. If it caught on as an identifiable concept, I think it would help our culture. There ought to be a identifying word or phrase for this idea, and it should be catchy. But my creativity is failing me, so I am going with a phrase that only makes sense in light of the fascinating anecdote I am about to tell you. Here goes:

Years ago, when the Jamfam only had three kids in it, and they were fairly young, we were all shopping at the local large grocery store. We were at the cash register (we must have just got there), watching as our food and bagging it as it was being sent down the conveyor. when we heard a commotion coming out of the bathroom, not twenty feet for us – a mom was having difficulty controlling her kids. She was yelling at them. They were upset, loud, unruly, belligerent and disrespectful. They were not doing what she was telling them to do, and she was letting them and everyone within earshot know that this was the case.

At one point (this is the main detail that I remember), one of the kids (6? 8?) was complaining loudly and annoyingly that he didn’t want to be in the grocery cart. So she angrily picked him up and put him down on the floor. Too hard, as it turned out. He fell and began wailing at the injustice of what his Mom had done, remaining seated there on the floor. She yelled at him to get up and they began moving..

So up until this point I was assuming that they were just stopping in the bathroom on the way out, and the meltdown was a result of an over long grocery shopping trip. No. They were just starting.

So off she headed, right past us, dragging yelling kids, down one of the food aisles. We heard them for several more minutes after they were out of sight.

The plus side of being right in front of this event’s stage was that it kept our kids from being bored. Perhaps I should have told them not to stare with open mouth.

The downside is what happened to our psyche as a result of seeing this. But this post is already too long, so I will explain this downside (and why it inspired me to develop another JamsCoin) next week.

Here’s the continuation.

Generally speaking, it is unwise to think badly about a group based on the the extreme edges of that group. Or said differently, judge not an organization based on the wackos who are a part of it, lest your organization be judged by your wackos.

Make no mistake – the JamFam kids have toys. Thanks (and we are thankful) to the many gifts from Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, our kids have never lacked Legos, dolls, Bionicles, cars, planes, tinker toys (just to name a few) to play with.


So it is with a certain amount of bemusement that we often find our kids playing with (and making big projects out of) household items that have original usages that are not kid oriented. And I know that my kids are not in any way unique in this respect. It makes one wonder if toys are a necessity.


Anyway, in case you are interested, here are –


16 Non Toy Items that our kids have used as toys:



Twisty Ties


Paper Plates and Cups

Paper clips

Big cardboard boxes

Leftover Material from Sewing projects


Cardboard flat pieces

My Recycled office paper (for reasons other than drawing)



Tin Cans





What notable household items do your kids play with?

A Post High School, Pre College Poem (indicating a selfish foolishness):


Lightning strikes the earth with a smile,
And missing me by nearly a mile,
It leaves a smoky hazy mist,
That everyone in town can see.

It brings about its death and pain,
And leaves me in this boring rain,
Indignantly I shake my fist,
Why didn’t it hit nearer me?

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from Calvin in “Calvin and Hobbes” c. 1987

My brain is trying to kill me.  *** Dinosaurs eat anywhere they want.  *** For the next 60 seconds I will conduct a test of my emergency broadcast equipment. Aaaaaaaaghhhhhhhh! Had this been a real emergency, the scream you just heard would have been followed by lots more just like it. This concludes my … oh someday when the house caves in, she’ll thank me. Mark my words.  *** You don’t get to be Mom if you can’t fix everything just right.  *** Boy, I love weekends! What better way to spend one’s freedom than eathing chocolate cereal and watching cartoons! *** why is it you always rip your pants on the day everyone has to demonstrate a math problem at the chalkboard? *** Do the words “complete pandemonium” strike terror in your heart? ***  During emergency landing, replace dinner tray and bring seat to upright position. Extinguish all smoking materials. Including spacecraft, if possible. *** The living dead don’t need to solve word problems. *** The zombie searches for food. Horribly, the undead feed upon the living! … although, in a pinch, a pbj will do, if you eat it messily enough.  *** Real zombies never get the giggles by looking at each other. *** Reading goes faster if you don’t sweat comprehension. Where’s the Frisbee? *** I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian. *** The museum is in ruins! On to symphony hall!!  *** I obey the letter of the law, if not the spirit. *** Before beginning any home plumbing repair, make sure you possess the proper tools for the job. Check the following list of handy explitives and see that you know how to use them. *** This is a job for … aackk! Waaughhh!! For? … someone else. *** Boy, I love summer vacation. I can feel my brain beginning to atrophy already. *** But Mom, frogs are our friends!  *** The irony of this is just sickening. *** You know, Dad, it won’t be long before I’m all grown up. One day you’ll wake up and wonder how all the years slipped by. You’ll look back and say, “Where has the time gone? Calvin’s so big. It’s hard to remember when he was small enough that I could give him horsey rides.” … but those days will be lost forever. *** What a perfect day! If something doesn’t happen here soon, I’m gonna wack out.  *** The dreaded scum beings fire! Spaceman Spiff is hit! It never fails. I just washed and waxed this thing.


I added a new link in the ‘Connections’ section today. My Uncle Joe is a painter (It’s good to have an artist in the family, I always say) and is a Horse Trainer (he is the uncle who we visited up on the north shore) .

He has a web page which shows some of his art. Go check it out.

And here’s a quote from the front page: Almost anything you carefully look at in nature will give you a sense of awe”


Did I miss any?

Hey Jogger Guy – I know it’s warm, but no one wants to see you running without a shirt. Unless, you are (insert famous good looking guy of your choice here,) and even then it’s only two or three percent. The other 97 percent still wants to see you mostly clothed. Grab a tee shirt on the way out.

. . . Jamsco and Wife were wedded.

We chose September because the church we were to be wedded in had no air conditioning and we wanted a greater chance of coolness. But it was 90 degrees anyway. Oh well. 

But an Excellent Day, nevertheless. We wanted a celebration and we got one.

In commemoration of the event, will you indulge me and let me say this one nice thing about my wife? I am pleased with how many impressive, smart, and put-together women want to meet for coffee with my wife, just to talk and get her input. It speaks well of her, I think. 

And of course – a word of wisdom to guys with Stay At Home Wives: Never hesitate to agree to take care of the kids so that your wife can go out and talk with friends. I encourage you to encourage them to do so.

Another Dream Describing College Poem


A class,
And we were all forced to move,
And when we got back,
A girl, whom I had noticed before,
Was missing.
She had had an innocent face (no surprise there),
And she was not seen for the rest of the day.

So I must decide to search and find her
And save her,
I looked and saw a girl on ledge,
It must be her, and I rushed to help,
But at my entrance there were two others,
And she was not her.
I must have looked quite foolish.

And a walk into another world, still searching,
A world of a panther identity,
And spiders and reptiles,
Of poisonous venom,
And, for lack of vision,
Death and nothing found.

So real world search again and consider:
The teacher was not with us the whole time we were away,
Conspicuous, it might have been him,
A case of blackmail.

A new search, but, stop.
She merely had to leave for sport, no problem.
No search needed.
Oh . . . . good. . . .

So, I guess . . . neither am I.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From “The Children Of Hurin” – JRR Tolkien

 (In in case you’re hesitant – there are no spoilers here) 

 Give with a free hand, but give only your own. *** A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to find it. *** Up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low. *** The lives of men are short and in them there are many ill chances, even in time of peace. *** If things do go ill, I will not say to you: Do not be afraid! For you fear what should be feared and that only, and fear does not dismay you. *** Steel serves only those that can wield it. *** An honest hand and a true heart may hew amiss; and the harm may be harder to bear than the work of a foe. *** False hopes are more dangerous than fears. *** The hours seemed pleasant. But all such things are short-lived; and the joy in the making is their only true end. *** A man does not take back his gifts. *** Whenever I say I will do this or that, it looks very different when the time comes.  *** Outlaws know no law but their needs *** Petty victories will prove profitless at the last *** Victory is victory, no matter how small, nor its worth only from what follows from it. *** A man must speak as he sees, nor hide the truth that he believes for any private cause. *** Not all that speak the fair tongue are fair at heart. *** Fear not the worst until you must. *** Love may abide and suffer unwedded. *** A man may love war and yet dread many things. *** Where all lies on chance, to chance we must trust. *** On their deathbed men will speak true.

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September 2007