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farewell to the raven…..for now


This blog will be on hiatus for a while. The truth of the matter is that there are just too many demands on my time from the people in my life who need me.  By the same token, when I do have a few precious moments of free time, there are simply other ways in which I wish to spend them.  Something has to give.

And so, farewell for now.  I have enjoyed the blogging experience, all in all.  I’ve made some friends along the way, and I have had the pleasure and privilege of learning that some other people think I write well.  On my last poem, Annie commented, “When you find that place where your poetry lives, no one does it better. Perfect from beginning to end…”.

There is no better feeling than reading words like that, especially when they come from one whom I hold in high esteem, as a writer and a blogger.

As for the unanswered comments, all I can say is that I did indeed read and appreciate each comment.  I realize now I should have answered each one as it showed up, rather than allowing them to accumulate with the idea that I would answer them all at once.  Somehow, they just got away from me and I never caught up.  But I want everyone to know that all those comments meant a great deal to me.

And so, farewell.  For now.  Somehow I just don’t believe that this is it.  I’m thinking of this as an extended hiatus.  I do believe I will be back, although I cannot say when.  In the meantime, thanks to all for the support, encouragement, and love you have shown me over the past few years.



Carving up the Raven

Ok, I’ll get right to the point on this one:

I have to have surgery next Thursday.  Between now and then I do not have a day off from work.  So things are going to be a bit slow around here.

“How will we know the difference?”  Just thought I’d save you the trouble of typing that, because I know you were thinking it.

Anyway, this actually gives me a chance to take a step back and think about what I want to do with this blog, if anything.  It has become both a labor of love, but also a bit of a pain in the ass.  I’m just spread too thin in other areas, and it always seems as if the blog gets the short shrift.  Believe it or not, this is a source of considerable guilt.

In the meantime, I am cognizant that I have several unanswered comments, and those I do intend to get to before I go into the hospital.

So I’m taking a little break until after I go under the knife.  Hopefully after a little time I’ll have a better idea of what I want to do here.

And when I’m under, I’ll try to stay away from the white light.



Life is short…..screw everyone!


If there was any doubt in my mind that our society is in a state of steep moral decline, those doubts were erased when I found out about this odious little company.

Now look, I’m not a Pollyanna.  People have been cheating on their spouses since the days of Neanderthal man.  What bothers me here is that now, in the 21st century, the very term “immoral behavior” has become quaint and irrelevant.  Now, it’s Big Business.  Now, it’s all good.  Forget about this little thing called morality, forget about your wedding vows, forget about your spouse’s or your children’s feelings.  There is no more shame in our society, no real notion of right and wrong.  If it feels good to me, then it must be okay.

The very idea that sometimes you just have to say “no” to yourself because what you’re about to do is wrong seems to have become as outdated the top hat and corset.

Once you buy into the mentality espoused by these people, then really, anything is possible.  Life is short, right?  So, for example:

Life is short…..embezzle from your employer!
Life is short…..plagiarize!
Life is short…..steal from your kids’ college fund!
Life is short…..steal gas from your neighbors’ cars!
Life is short…..cheat on your math test!
Life is short……tell her you love her if it gets you laid!
Life is short…..lie through your teeth if it gets you what you want!
Life is short…..desert the military!
Life is short…..stiff the waitress!
Life is short…..lie on that job application!
Life is short…..don’t pay that child support!
Life is short…..use your child support to buy cocaine!
Life is short…..don’t waste time spending it with your children
Life is short…..well, I think you’re getting the idea.

Life is short.  That is the justification for doing whatever the hell you want, to whomever you want.  Nothing else matters, nothing else is important or even relevant except your own personal gratification.

I seem to remember when I was a child I was taught something known as The Ten Commandments.  “Oh, there you go, Smith, bringing religion into it again!” I hear you say.  No, not really.  Allowing for the religious bent of the Bible that obviously colors the first four, aren’t the other six really just a social compact?  Let’s see, what do they really say?

Respect your parents.
Don’t kill people.
Don’t cheat on your spouse.
Don’t take things that don’t belong to you.
Don’t accuse anyone of something they didn’t do.
Don’t covet someone else’s spouse or property.

Gee, I dunno.  These kinda work for me.  It seems to me that they’re pretty hard to argue with, irrespective of your religious beliefs or lack thereof.  You don’t need to believe in God to accept the fact that some actions are just plain wrong and immoral.

I once had a boss who told me he valued integrity even more than honesty.  A callow youth in those days, I asked him what the difference was.  He said to me, “Integrity means doing the right thing when no one is watching you.”  And yet we live in a society in which concepts like respect and honor are seemingly less and less relevant.

To what extent does our society still value things like honesty and integrity?  I’m really starting to wonder.



Taking a break

I’m taking a vacation, both in the literal sense and in the blogging sense.  I need to recharge my batteries on both accounts.  I don’t expect to be away long.



A poem about pipe smoking

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is far more well known as a composer than a poet.  But in fact he wrote some poetry, including this little ditty about pipe smoking.

Edifying Thoughts of a Tobacco Smoker

Whene’re I take my pipe and stuff it
And smoke to pass the time away,
My thoughts as I sit there and puff it,
Dwell on a picture sad and grey:
It teaches me that very like
Am I myself unto my pipe.
Like me, this pipe so fragrant burning
Is made of naught but earth and clay;
To earth I too shall be returning.
It falls and, ere I’d think to say,
It breaks in two before my eyes;
In store for me a like fate lies.
No stain the pipe’s hue yet doth darken;
It remains white. Thus do I know
That when to death’s call I must harken
My body too, all pale will grow
To black beneath the sod ’twill turn.
Or when the pipe is fairly glowing,
Behold then, instantaniously,
The smoke off into thin air going,
Till naught but ash is left to see.
Man’s frame likewise away will burn
And unto dust his body turn.
How oft it happens when one’s smoking:
The stopper’s missing from the shelf,
And one goes with one’s finger poking
Into the bowl and burns oneself.
If in the pipe such pain doth dwell,
How hot must be the pains of Hell.
Thus o’er my pipe, in contemplation
Of such things, I can constantly
Indulge in fruitful meditation
And so, puffing contentedly,
On land, on sea, at home, abroad,
I smoke my pipe and worship God.

Johann Sebastian Bach

(photo courtesy of Marcin’s Pipes and Tobacco blog)


not a whole lotta bloggin’ goin’ on

For once I have a legitimate excuse.  I’m working late every night this week, and by the time I get home, I’m just too darn tired to do much blogging.  Things are a little crazy these days around the old cigar store.

Without going into details, all I can say is thank God for Murphy.

Be back soon.



I’m not going anywhere

It was all going so well, too. But all of a sudden, my little ship of life sailed into some stormy waters. I won’t bore you with the details. You have your problems; you don’t need to hear about mine.

As usual, the blog got the short end of the stick. Blogslackery is my stock in trade, but this hasn’t been blockslackery, this has been total blog neglect. I get that. I have treated the people who have supported me in a very shabby fashion indeed. Those who take the time to leave comments deserve to have those comments acknowledged, and I have not done that. I have been a bad blogger.

I am (as many of you have probably figured out) manic depressive. I offer this as an explanation, not an excuse. The events going on in my life have been such that I have found it difficult to muster the energy to even get out of bed and live my life, let alone write creatively.

A well intentioned fellow blogger suggested that perhaps a hiatus might be in order. In fact, that’s how this post started. It was going to be my farewell (for now) post. “Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I write these lines…..”

And then a thought hit me, out of the blue as it were…


Yes, there are things in my life now that suck. A lot. Yes, I feel like shit and there are days I don’t even want to get out of bed. There are days when I have to force myself to remember that I will not find the answer to my problems at the bottom of a bottle of Bushmill’s.

I will not be silenced by my own demons. I have things to say, and a unique way of saying them. I will write what I want, I will express my opinions, I will be heard.

Depression, you can KISS MY ASS!!

And to those who cared enough to give me some tough love (and you know who you are), I have two things to say:

1) You’re all a pain in the ass.

2) I thank you. With all my heart.

Sorry, kids, you’re stuck with me.


taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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