Bologna with a Ring … August 24, 2012

(1,617)

Bologna with a ring.

It is not a marriage ceremony for piglets. It is a delightful application of a delectable American treat propagated and promoted in the Great Lake States.

I am in Michigan. They know their bologna. First, they recognize that it is spelled b-o-l-o-g-n-a rather than b-a-l-o-n-e-y. Of course, one of my friends back in high school thought it was” ball-only,” so named for the part of the bull extracted to make the stuff. He was greatly relieved when I told him that bologna was just an accumulation of hooves, belly fat and ear wax, forcibly removed from Missouri male cows.

Michigan is a land of bologna. (I mean that well.) Fried, seared, “jalapeno’d,” grilled, barbecued and of course, breaded. But for me, the most flavorful incarnation is bologna in a ring. Ring bologna–stuffed into a tube and folded over into the shape of a horseshoe and then tied at the bottom to create a psychedelic “O.” Ring bologna. The original YouTube–sometimes in flavors, but best left alone: sweet, firm, a little garlic, squeezed into a casing, plump and ready for slicing. (Sounds like my junior prom date…)

It is right that ring bologna is a regional product of these Nordic Northmen. For we are Vikings. We eat slabs of meat without apology. And when necessary, we can use our large ring bologna as a weapon against our tofu-eating enemies.

Anyway, I like the taste.

I have one dilemma–how can you eat as much of the ring of the bologna as you want and still keep it around for a respectable length of time so that you aren’t viewed by spectators as a glutton? This is important. Fat people like me have to think about such things. For instance, I can’t sit in a restaurant and enjoy a piece of pie. Everyone around me is thinking, “Oh, that’s how he got so fat.” I am not alone. It is the same situation for the black man. He cannot eat watermelon in public at the Mississippi State Fair. Likewise, a Japanese person can’t cut you off in traffic or wear a camera around his neck. Chinese people can’t shop at Wal-mart without hearing a drone of complaints about the products. Those of a Middle-Eastern descent find it difficult to stop off and pick up a couple bags of fertilizer at Ace Hardware. Native Americans don’t hang around outside the cigar store, and Mexicans stay away from 7-11’s, unless they’re looking for work. It’s just the way things played out.

A fat guy with a ring of bologna needs to make it last long enough that those who are watching determine it to be a normal consumption rate for the delicacy. It’s tough.

So I bought my ring bologna on Monday at 11:00 A.M. and finished the last piece on Wednesday at 10:12 A.M. Nearly forty-eight hours. Such control. Unbelievable discipline. I am humbled and proud. I wish I could tell you it was easy. It wasn’t. I even dreamed about my ring. One of my visions was a little sexy, so I won’t get into it here.

Soon I will leave Michigan and return to the world where bologna is sliced, stuffed into a package, stacked neatly and forced to be Oscar Meyer. I weep for my trapped comrades. How they wish to be in a ring, hanging out in Michigan, waiting for some Spartan or Wolverine to purchase them for game day. Alas!

So here’s to ring bologna–the Super Bowl Ring of high fat, enormous calories, immense cholesterol luncheon food products. If it is a sin, I pray for God’s grace–or hope the Creator Himself has had a fling with the ring.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Adventure … August 7, 2012

(1,600)

I go where I’m wanted and it ends up being what they needed. After arriving, I seek out reasons to want to be there and when all is said and done, my needs are met.

Adventure. An adventure is when life, circumstances and people have thoroughly demolished my plans and what is left to me is the true essence of my faith. No one ever signs up for such a calamity. It’s why God, in His great wisdom, surprises us with them–because we would never be willing to go into training for the mission.

Nine days ago, I finished up doing a program in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was prepared to fall into my normal pattern of calling ahead and scheduling lodging for a week in the location where I would next be sharing. I discovered that all the motel possibilities in Akron, Ohio, were closed off to me because of a golf

Official seal of City of Akron

Official seal of City of Akron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

tournament and the Hall of Fame football game. So even though I was heading to Akron, I couldn’t go to Akron. That could be enough right there to send you into a tizzy for a while. But experience has taught me to hold off on my festering fussiness long enough to see if there might be an alternative to the chaos.So I decided to stop off in Lexington, Kentucky, for a couple of days, to do some of my business and inch my way up to Akron, Ohio, hoping that by Saturday, a motel might become available. At first the process was filled with inspiration. The first blessing of the adventure, (which, as I pointed out to you, is an interruption of our brilliance in planning) was that I didn’t have to drive as far to get to Lexington as I would have to arrive in Akron. That’s nice. When I was much younger, I used to brag about how far I drove to get from one place to another. Now, as I get older, I like to brag about how little I’ve moved.Lexington was fun. We found some great lodging, got some swims in, did our work, and then headed off for another stop on our way to Akron, Ohio, in Columbus. I was all ready to go north of Columbus to be in striking distance of Akron, when I-71 clogged up with traffic because of the Ohio State Fair, and rather than sitting in my hot van and stubbornly pursuing a now-defunct plan, I turned around at the next exit and drove back five miles, to Grove City, and sought out lodging.

Janet had located a coupon for a motel at that particular exit, and due to the kindness of an innkeeper, we were allowed to have the same coupon rate for two nights–a real surprise.

Here’s a clue: it is impossible to enjoy surprises if you’re not willing to be surprised. If everything in your life must be planned out, approved by your sense of normalcy and radiating with the effects of previous experiences, you probably will end up in repetition and bored with your own existence.

I am not a great advocate for surprises, but I have been surprised enough that I am no longer afraid of them. We spent a couple of days at this motel, which was perfectly situated, and accessible to all sorts of businesses and opportunities.

When we were ready to leave on Saturday, it occurred to us that Ohio State Fair traffic was still going to be just as severe, so we selected to circle around the town on the west end–on the outer loop. The outer loop on the east side of town was much longer, so we felt very intelligent in choosing the westward, shorter path. Another cool thing about the adventure was that our motel was only two miles from this outer loop. But as we drove towards the outer loop, there was a flashing sign telling us that the west bound section was closed–curses, foiled again–so we ended up going on the east bound circle, which was longer and might have caused us to become grumpy if it were not for the fact that I just refused to lose my cool over nine extra miles.

It’s not because I’m special or hyper-spiritual. It’s just that sometimes the only way God can bless us is by eliminating our stupid choices, of which we have grown to be  fond.

We zoomed right around that east side loop and headed off to Akron, Ohio, with no idea on where we were going to stay. Worse, when we got on the outskirts of Akron, we did not actually eyeball any lodging whatsoever. All the calls we had made to Akron in the previous week had informed us that the accommodations were all full. Finally, someone directed us to Kent, Ohio, home of Kent State University. There we found a motel where they charged us twice their normal rate because of the special events in town, but we bit our lip, paid the price, settled in, and prepared for our weekend.

While I was sitting in the van waiting for Jan to check in, I got to thinking about Kent State. I was a senior in high school on May 4th in 1970, when four students were gunned down by the National Guard during an anti-war protest. What crossed my mind was whether four students being killed at a university would even make the news today. I suppose it would be included in the cycle, but back in 1970, it was a national tragedy on the caliber of 9/11. Amazingly, when I got into my room and turned on my television, the first thing that came on the screen was a report that after forty-two years, the case on the Kent State shooting of the four students had finally been closed. It was chilling and weird that I had been thinking about it while sitting in the same town, and was watching the report in real-time.

Coincidence? No–it’s an adventure. And to experience an adventure, you have to be willing to have your plans demolished and live on your faith.

The next day was a fabulous one at the church–great people. We had decided to drive on towards our next destination in Lansing, Michigan and cover some miles before settling in for Sunday night. To do so we had to traverse on some back roads in northern Ohio.

After about forty minutes on the road, we realized we were both hungry. I asked Jan what she wanted to eat and she said, “Some Chinese food would be nice.” Well, finding Chinese food in northern rural Ohio on a Sunday afternoon would be similar to finding a red barn, a field of corn and an American-flag mailbox in Peking.

But we pulled off on a side road and there was a little town a mile away, so we decided to go into the village and find out if there were any egg rolls available. It was a wide space in the road. It had a town square filled with fresh fruits and vegetables being sold by local farmers, but stuck in the corner on a side street was a little restaurant called The Great Wall.

Chinese.

We rolled up in front of it and there were two lovely people from the mainland, sitting there, just waiting for us to place our order. The food was delicious, the day was beautiful, the back roads were filled with story lines and gorgeous scenery, and we arrived exhausted, in Fremont, Ohio, to settle in for the night. The motel we selected was located behind a Denny’s restaurant so we didn’t even have to get in our van to acquire dinner.

It was an adventure–seven-and-a-half days of the unknown, where our faith was exercised and our hearts grew.

It was not where we wanted to be, but we found a way to enjoy it and in the process, our needs were met.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

If I Were a Democrat… May 11, 2012

(1,511) 

(1511)

Politics may be the quickest way to remove purity and passion from any aspiration. Once we require a majority to proceed, we oust intelligence and creativity out the door.

My opinion.

Yet– in the spirit of MSNBC and Fox News, to present all things “fair and balanced,” since I have given time to ruminate on what I would do if I were a Republican, I will now tell you what I would do as a Democrat. (Once again, as in the case of the Republicans, I am not a member of the donkey cult…)

1. If I were a Democrat, since I do have a social agenda, it would be a good idea to stop apologizing for it.  Many of the successful projects of the twentieth century were achieved by people who had a social agenda, discovering an injustice and exposing it, much to the chagrin of those who preferred the status quo. If government does not have a social conscience that produces some sort of agenda, we will constantly be burdened with a sense of inequity which has to be explained away by erroneous research. For instance, I grew up believing that black people were good in sports, Asians were the crack aces at math, American Indians knew the best way to climb rocks and Hispanics, generally speaking, should always be hired for your gardening. It seemed innocent at the time. Of course, we now know that all of that is racist. Without a social agenda, we are delinquent in arriving at good conclusions.

2. Governing should be an issue of equality or legality. When you remove preference, emotion, bigotry, religiosity and politics from governing a nation like the United States, you are left with two criteria:  (A) Is it legal? If the answer to that is yes, then  (B) it should be equally distributed amongst the populous. Otherwise we end up with inequity and prejudice. If it is deemed to be illegal, then inequality is acceptable because the particular activity has been judged by the general public  to be detrimental to the community. Do you see? In other words, if you believe that abortion is not only immoral, but should be illegal, then work to pass a law in that direction instead of trying to make it more difficult for CERTAIN groups to have this opportunity over others. That’s un-American. If it is your contention that homosexuality is both immoral and of great danger to our society, then pass a law to return sodomy to the books, making it illegal. Therefore, inequality is acceptable because the action is against the law. Case in point: we determined that cigarettes cause cancer and second-hand smoke is dangerous. So laws were passed. We levy upon smokers an atmosphere of inequality by forbidding them to smoke in public places and charging heavy taxes onto their habit. It is righteous, because of the illegalities and unnaturalness of the activity. But on the other hand, if I were a Democrat, I would point out that if you are NOT willing to make abortion and homosexuality illegal, then according to our Constitution, equality for all American citizens must be the same. If it’s illegal, it can be unequal. But if it’s legal, then equality needs to be given to everyone.

3. If I were a Democrat, I would make sure that the country understands that we need to have a world view. Isolationism is what gets us into wars. I would ask the following questions: is there a chance that by understanding more about Islam we could address terrorism more effectively? Would having some empathy for the European banking crisis help us prevent some of the same problems in our own country? Would it be beneficial for us to understand the mind-set of the Chinese people? The way we handle countries like Iran, Pakistan, China and even Russia reminds me of a man who thinks he can pet his neighbor’s pit bull because they live on the same street. The pit bull will bite you, because you do not have any familiarity with it. If I were a Democrat, I would make it clear that this is a world we live in and not just a country.

4. If I were a Democrat, I would extol the virtues of ALL energy. I think we should go ahead and use coal–as cleanly as possible–and oil, as long as we are also aware that we are going to run out of these things. It reminds me of how I handle my sugar-free popsicles. I use them as snacks, late at night. So the first couple of days after I purchase them, I lavish myself with blessing by eating many. But by the end of the week, looking in my box and realizing they are depleting, I slow up my consumption, yet without forbidding benefit completely. The same is true with coal and oil. And we should find a way to use nuclear energy–and what would be the harm of harnessing the wind? It is ridiculous to think that this country is going to go “green.” If I were a Democrat, I would just suggest light brown–a combination of green and the nearly black of coal and oil.

5. If I were a Democrat, I would talk about spirituality instead of religion. There is perhaps no other subject in the world that has as little resolution than discussing theology, God and the practice of worship. Yet–spirituality is an intricate part of every human being. It unleashes both mercy and really, the willingness to pursue new ideas. As you may know, this year I have summed up spirituality into one sentence: NoOne is better than anyone else. If I were a Democrat, I would make that my thesis for faith.

So there you go. That’s what I would do if I were a Democrat. Rather than trying to make my position sound as Republican as possible, I would take the essence of government and the practice of making laws and insert as much humanity as feasible in order to achieve equality.

That’s it. They call Democrats donkeys because supposedly the animal is quite stubborn and has a big kick. But if the Democrats really want to be stubborn about something, they should start with staying faithful to their own pursuits. And if they want to place a “big kick” into society, they should extol the virtue of Lincoln’s expression–a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.

Two days in a row I have given you what I would do–if I were a Republican and if I were a Democrat. But since I am actually apolitical, let me tell you tomorrow how I choose to approach the issues of our time.

  

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: