Art and the philosophy of life

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I picked this up at the used bookstore…

There are cottages from all over the world.  I love the photographs of windows filled with flowers.  I paid $2 for this hardcover book.

Orion Nebula…from Astronomy Picture of the Day

I think…

that if our laws don’t apply to everyone EQUALLY
they aren’t laws
set in place
to protect a certain GROUP OF PEOPLE

that’s what our laws are
they are privileges
that protect
and enhance
the lives of wealthy, white males
and it trickles down from there

if you are at the bottom of the heap
you have no protection at all

Kindness really does matter…to every living thing


Picture from:  Pinterest


Lake County Fair

I’m crazy about goats.  Debbie and I went to the Lake County Fair today and as soon as we scarfed down a Funnel Cake we were off to see the goats.  Goats are personable, they like to be petted, they make cut noises and they have fabulous eyes and great teeth.  There’s nothing I don’t like about them.  Admittedly I never lived with one, but still…they are fabulous and I love to see them.



















“We all need to learn one language
and just stick with it.”



“Seriously?” I said.  “Words, you need to use words.  I don’t speak pigeon.”

“Fine,” said the pigeon.  “You humans are all alike.  Everyone is supposed to speak your language because it’s always about what you want.  Pigeons are literally everywhere and none of you can take a few minutes to learn our language?”

“Wow.  Impressive,” I said.  “You speak English beautifully.”

“A lot better than you do,” huffed the bird.

“Hey, no need to get nasty.”

“I know you were spying on us.”

“I was scrying on you, not spying,” I said.

“Same difference.”

“No it’s not,” I said.  “I was just looking around in the void and you popped up.  I didn’t specifically set out to find you and where am I anyway?”

“It doesn’t matter where you are, I want to know why you were watching us,” said the pigeon.

“You are so very pretty,” I said happily.  “Can I touch your wing?”

“What is wrong with you?” hissed the bird.  “No, you can’t touch my wing and don’t ask again.”

“What will happen if I ask again?”

“I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter if you were watching us.  You aren’t that bright.”

“Hey, that was just mean,” I said, reaching for his wing.

“Touch me and I’ll peck your hand so hard you won’t be able to use it for a week.”

“What’s that little gauge on your side all about?”

“It tells me how long I can breath your polluted air without dropping dead.”

“Important gauge then.  We can’t breath our air either but the government doesn’t really care.  They are just working to get more money and power for themselves, breathing doesn’t seem to be on their agenda,” I sighed.  “So are you going to invade the universe or just the earth?  Personally, I wouldn’t mind a few more pigeons all geared up in a cool outfits.  I love your pink feet too, everything about you is sparkly.  Your entire species is splendid.  Each one of you is so different.  I take pictures of pigeons because you are all so beautiful.  And, for your information I DO speak to pigeons..”

“In English?”

“Uh, I guess.”

“And you expect them to understand you?”


“We were checking out your planet because you are poisoning your galaxy.”

“But we’re so tiny.   I mean, we’re just a little rock on one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way.  We’re hanging out at the end of that spiral, we barely count.  You can’t even see us until you’re on top of us.”

“While it’s true that you are tiny you’re always blowing things up and sending strange bits of stuff into the solar system.  There’s so much junk floating around your rock that you can barely send more metal tubes into space.”

“I’m sorry about that, but we really want to know what’s out there.  And you have to understand that regular people don’t get to decide anything.  We gave all of our power away and now the bad guys are running the show with one thing on their minds…they want to destroy everything.”

“Your species is pathetic.”


“Just saying.”

“I’m hungry.”

“I have a variety of seeds and corn.  And, I might have a mealworm or two as well.”

“Grilled cheese?”


“Then thank you but I think I’ll wait until I get home before I eat.”

“Fine with me,” said the pigeon.  “There’s another race that want’s your planet for various reasons.”

“Ooh, ooh, let me guess,” I said excitedly.  “They want to mine the earth for minerals and use humans as slave labor and food.”


“No?” I asked, confused.

“They want to use your planet as a prison.”

“I don’t like that idea,” I said immediately.

“But using you for slave labor and food is okay?  You draw the line at prisons?” he asked, shaking his head.

“I didn’t say that.  I’m just telling you how it is in the movies.”

“They are a vicious, hard to kill, destructive and violent race,” said the pigeon.

“Wait, are you talking about us or the bad guys who want our planet?”

“I don’t know how your species survived as long as it did.   If they are all like you, well, it’s just sad, that’s all.”

“At least we know where the bathrooms are!” I said, glaring at him.

“That was uncalled for.”

“Well, you certainly aren’t being very nice.”

“I suppose you’re right.  Please accept my apology.”

“I accept and I’m sorry I said anything about, well you know.  And your not a very scary mindnapper, by the way.  I mean, I like you and I’m not afraid of you at all.”

“Yes, well, I’m tired.”

“Long hours?”

“You wouldn’t believe how hard we work to hold everything together.  So many universes, so little time,” said the pigeon unhappily.  “Things are always exploding, being invaded, being born, white dwarfs, Red giants, supernovas and the list just goes on and on.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.  “You can live with me if you like.  I have a cat named Ethel.  She’s very nice and won’t bother you at all.”

“That’s very kind of you but I have a job to do. Listen, you’re starting to wake up so just remember that the Destructors are coming your way and you need to prepare.”

“Who?” I asked, barely able to hear him.

“The DESTRUCTORS,” he said LOUDLY. “Remember.”


“I’m hungry,” I said, looking into Tags blue eyes.  “Starving, actually.”

“I think I should take you to a doctor,” he said nervously.

“Will the doctor give me grilled cheese sandwiches?”

“You keep passing out.”

“Actually, I was mindnapped by a pigeon, but it’s all good.  I know what’s going to happen.”



“I never pass out.
Sometimes I just fall asleep really fast.”


“Here, drink this,” said Tags, poking at my lips with a bendy straw.

“Am I in the hospital?” I asked, looking around.

“No, you just kind of passed out for about ten minutes.”

“I never pass out,” I said, throwing the straw on the floor and gulping down mouths full of water.

“You shouldn’t do that,” he said.

“I’m fine,” I muttered, sitting up, then making a mad grab for the arm of the couch to steady myself. “What happened?”

“You were scrying, then you were on the floor.”

“Did I say anything?  I hope all this drama isn’t going to be wasted.”

“You didn’t say a word.”

“So what do we know that we didn’t know before?”

“Nothing,” said Tags honestly.  “Do you remember anything?”

I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate.  “Uh, pigeons and a purple and black sky,” I whispered, rubbing the back of my head to ease the headache that was building by leaps and bounds.

“Pigeons?” he asked.  “Really?”

“They weren’t regular pigeons,” I said waspishly, “they were steampunk pigeons.  They had all kinds of brass and metal bits on and around them.  Like clocks and eye pieces an tiny helmets. Rivets and things. There were Mourning Doves, or something like them, as well.  They looked off the charts, when it came to cool, but they also looked as if they were outfitted for a bird war of epic proportions.  And the sky was dark purple with a weird kind of fuchsia pinkish tint at the edges, topped off with black and charcoal gray and it never stopped moving.  And there were big ships, or strange things in the air, but I don’t know…they were more like dirigibles, kind of long, round and gigantic.  They had strappy things hanging from them and bands of metal around them, but not a lot of metal because then they would be too heavy to plow through the roiling, black sky.  Does this stuff mean anything to you?”

“It might, but I’ll have to do a bit of research before I can say for sure.”

“MmKay,” I said, wearily.  “Do you happen to have a grilled cheese sandwich on you?”

“Uh, no,” he laughed.  “I don’t have one on me, but I can make one for you if you like.”

“MmKay,” I said, sinking back into the cushions.  “I’m really hungry.”

“Here you go Lily,” said Tags, poking me and placing the plate on my hip.

Ethel jumped onto the couch and sat in the crook of my legs eyeing the sandwich lovingly.     I grabbed the plate and half the sandwich fell on the floor.  I picked it up, took a bite and gave the rest to Ethel who snatched it and dragged it, cavewoman style, to her favorite place, under the kitchen table.  “This is really good,” I murmured.  “Ethel won’t like the tomato but it’s yummy.  Where did you learn to cook?”

“My dad has a lot of picnics and BBQ’s on the weekends.  He’s a vegetarian, but no one minds because everything is delicious.”

“Wait,” I said sitting back up.  “Your dad is a VEGETARIAN?”

“Yes, why?”

“Get out of here,” I said happily, sliding to the floor.  “So do you guys cook tofu dogs and veggie burgers?”

“We do, but there are a lot of salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well.”

“I’d like to meet your dad sometime.”

“I don’t think so,” said Tags, smiling.

“Why not?”

“You might stab him,”

“I would never stab a vegetarian.”

“You stabbed me and I’m a vegetarian.”

“I had no idea…I’m so sorry,” I said, tears welling up in my eyes.  “If I had known I never would have….”

“I think you should take a nap,”

“MmKay,” I said, curling up on the floor.  I felt the blanket fall over me and then the smell of coffee and Ethel licking my eyelashes, woke me up.

“Does she do that a lot?”

“Lick my eyelashes?”


“No, this is a first.  Did I get cheese on my eyes, because she’ll do almost anything for cheese.”

“You just slept for eleven hours.  Do you feel better?”

“Yes, thank you,” I said, pushing the blanket off of my legs.

“The birds you saw are recon scouts.  They’re sent ahead when different groups of aliens want to take over a planet or universe.  They are wired with gages that send back info as to air quality, population, environment and the number of herd animals available.  In case you don’t already know, humans are the herd they are interested in gathering.”

“I’m still hungry.”

“Did you hear anything I said?”

“Every word.”


“I would like another sandwich, please.”  And then it was dark and the only thing I heard were pigeons cooing.



“Anybody can save the universe
once they make up their mind to do it.”


“So about your superpowers.  Everything I ever read said that the son of the Devil is incredibly strong and knows how to use magic.”

“You’ve been reading the wrong things,” sighed Tags.  “I’m the editor of Plants and Vines magazine, it comes out once a month and concentrates on things that grow in dense shade and low light.  I’m about as magical as anyone else you know.”

“So, no special powers?”

“Not that I’m aware of but since you are The Flaming Sword of the City, you might have magical powers that have been dormant for your entire life.”


“Wow!” said Tags, removing his hands from his ears.  “You can be really loud.”

“Sometimes it’s the ONLY way to get my point across.”

“Well it works but just because you say something doesn’t mean it’s true.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re annoying?”


“I think you can assume the people who know you were just being polite.  So what’s happening to the universe and what are we supposed to do about it?”

Tags shrugged.  “I thought you might know,” he said, kissing Ethel on top of her head.  “My dad just told me to find you and do what I could to help.”

“In that case, no saving the universe and your birth certificate will remain blank.”


“I have things to do, a life to live and I have no idea what’s wrong with this, or any other universe, so eat your toast and go on your merry way.”

“You want me to leave?”

“Maybe THAT’S your superpower…stating the obvious.”

“But what about the universe?”

“We all have to die sometime,” I said, wiping crumbs off the counter.  “I’m sure it will be quick, so no  biggie.”

“You can’t just walk away and let the earth be destroyed, it’s your home,” he said, holding the cat to his heart.  “What about Ethel?”

“Ethel has nine lives, she’ll be fine.  Besides, we don’t know for sure that the universe, or the earth, will be destroyed.  Maybe they will simply be invaded by the reptilian race, the grays or big fish in rainbow colors.  Perhaps rampaging unicorns will come along and eat all the dark matter that exists so that physicists don’t have to worry about what it is any longer.  No matter what happens, I don’t have a clue how to change anything and neither do you.”

“But we’re supposed to find out,” said Tags, scratching Ethel’s neck.  “Your person is going to let you fend for yourself during the apocalypse,” he whispered into her soft fuzzy ear.

“Did you just tell my cat that I was going to desert her?”

“Well, you are.”

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?  You don’t tell a cat something like that,” I said, grabbing Ethel out of his arms.  “I love you baby girl, I would never let anything bad happen to you in spite of what the creepy guy just said.”

“Creepy guy?”

“Go away.”

“No,” said Tags, handing me the knife.  “I can’t go home without saving the universe, you might as well just kill me and get it over with.”

He looked surprised when I plunged the knife into his side.  He quietly crumpled to the floor and when he stopped moving I put Ethel down and dragged his body to the back door.  Once he was outside I did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and turned on some rock and roll.  Twenty minutes later he said, “I need a clean shirt, this one is covered in my blood.  I can’t believe you stabbed me.”

“Maybe I didn’t.  Just because you say something doesn’t mean it’s true.”

“It hurt.”

“I don’t doubt it.”

“Do you have any clothes I can wear?”

“How about a short red skirt and a white blouse? Heels or flats, your choice, but I’m telling you now that they might pinch a little,” I said, looking at his feet.

“Seriously?  How about a t-shirt and sweats?”

“Fine, take all the fun out of everything, see if I care.”

“You think THAT would be fun?”

I smiled and went to get a t-shirt out of the closet.

“Don’t stab me again.”

“Don’t ask me to kill you again.”

“I mean it.”

“I know.”

“Do you scry?”




“Water or mirror?”


“Let’s do it.”

“Uh, I don’t think so. I hardly know you and besides I killed you less than an hour ago, I doubt that you’re….”

“I’m talking about scrying, what are you talking about?” he asked, running his fingers through his pitch black hair.


“Not even close,” he said, grinning.  “Get your mirror.”

“What’s the magic word?”


“Fine, but if it’s unicorns I’m not going to hurt them.”



“Anthropologists say that we all come from the same mother,
a woman named Lucy.  I bet if Lucy could see what she started
she would apologize to all of us.”



“Have you ever stabbed anyone before?” asked Tags, his eyes on the knife.

“I live in the city, so do you want a yes or no answer, or do you just want to know how many?”

“Never mind,” he said, taking a step backwards.

“It’s easy,” I murmured.

“It is?”

“Yes,” I whispered, moving toward him.  “You just get up close, like this,” I said, running my fingers down his side,  “and then push the blade in right here, between these two ribs.”


“Surely you, the Devil’s own son, must know a lot of different ways to stab someone.”

“Not really.”

“What do you do to people?”  I asked, dragging the tip of the blade gently over his abs.

“Take them to lunch?” he said breathlessly.

“What?” I said, a little too loudly.  “You take them to lunch?  That’s it?  You’ve never stabbed anyone?”

“No, not that I can remember.”

“What kind of a son of the Devil are you?”

“The regular kind, I guess.  My father is a nice guy.”

“Excuse me?”

“He is.  People make up a lot of stories about him but he’s just like everyone else.  He’s kind and generous….”

“Then he’s not like everyone else.”

“He’s not?”

“No, he’s not.  And what about the fiery pit of Hell?”

“What’s that?”

“What do you mean, ‘what’s that?’  Isn’t there a fiery pit in Hell?”

“Not that I know of,” said Tags.  “I don’t know where you’re getting your information but Hell is a beautiful place.  My dad has taken gardening to a whole new level.  You wouldn’t believe the number of flowers that grow without a lot of sunlight.”

“What about all the dead people?”

“The dead people?”

“Yeah, aren’t they screaming to get out?”

“Out of where?” he asked.  “And we don’t have dead people.  Why would we have dead people?  What would we do with them?”

“Wait, are you saying that Hell is a lot like earth only darker?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying, although we do get quite a bit of sunlight.”

“And there aren’t any dead people?  You know, like evil and creepy bad sorts of dead people?”

“No,” he said,  taking the knife from my hand.  “Do you have dead people?”

“If you don’t count the living dead, then just the ones we put into the ground.”

“You put people into the ground?”

“Not all of them.  We burn some of them.”

“What kind of place IS this?” said Tags, his eyes wide and a little frantic.

“It’s life on earth, I guess.  It’s all about what you’re used to.”

“You’re actually used to putting people in the ground and burning the rest?”

“Pretty much.”

“My father wouldn’t like it here.  He left his place of birth a long time ago because of all the violence.  He couldn’t stand the constant fighting and competition between angels.  He wanted to live in peace, among like-minded people.  He loves music, books, cats and philosophical discussions.  We don’t have any poor or hungry.  No one is left wanting.  My father believes in equality.  He’s not the president, or the sovereign, he’s just the guy people come to for help, now and then, because he is wise and willing to make things better for everyone. We never put people in the ground or burn them.”

“What do you do with them when they die?”

“Why would they die?”


“Ah, what?”

“We have been told that Hell is hot, evil, hateful and full bad dead people who are being boiled alive, well boiled dead, I guess,  but you know what I mean.  Obviously, we have been lied to once again.  Sorry about that.  Flaming Hell filled with monsters is part of  our cultural belief but like all beliefs, someone made it up.  It’s not like anyone who has been there has come back to tell us about it, except for you, I mean.  A fiery hell is just what others want us to believe so they can say, ‘if you do what we tell you to do then you won’t go to the hell we made up.’  The idea of a fiery hell is pounded into our minds from birth, we even have pictures.  Would you like to see them?  I can pull them up on the internet.”

“No, thank you.  I’m not interested in seeing people being boiled,” he said, shivering just a little.  “You really do put people in the ground?”

“I thought we already established that.”

“Under the soil?” he said, his hands emphasizing his point.

“Are you hungry?”

“I was before our conversation,” he said, making a face.

“Oh suck it up, will you?  There are worse things that could happen.”

“Don’t tell me about them okay?  Please.”

“Do you have siblings?”

“Yes, don’t you?”


“Well,  as The Flaming Sword of the City  you probably…”

“I am not, nor have I ever been, The Flaming Sword of the City.”

“Sure you are,” he said smiling.

“Cream cheese and jelly on toast?”


“Stop with the whole Flaming thing, or I’ll pick up the knife again.”

“Can’t stop,” he said, opening the jar of strawberry preserves.

“Why not?”

“You have to save the universe and I’m here to help you.”

“Then he’ll sign your birth certificate?”

“That’s the plan,” he said, letting Ethel lick a glob of peanut butter off his finger.  “It’ll be fun, you’ll see.”

“Does your father have wings?” I asked hopefully.

“Sure, and to answer your next question, they’re white.”

“That is so cool, I said dreamily.  “Do you have any super powers?”

He didn’t answer because he was laughing too hard..

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