Monster Trucks and Sausages















Someone gave me free tickets to the monster truck show at the county fair, entitling me to be among the privileged few to witness a huge, elevated truck smash into a motor home.
As I chewed on the tougher parts of my fat-laden giant sausage, I surveyed the enthusiastic monster truck audience, watched them cheer for the wheelie-popping trucks, and mused on just how fragile our participatory democracy truly is.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photograph by FlagWorld.com
~ From My Incarnation.com
© All Rights Reserved

# 44:

Even the finest words fall away
in early morning birdsong.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 42:

The truth does not depend on public opinion.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 29:

The meek may indeed inherit the Earth, but they will not explore it.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




The Truth



The truth has always been here, long before it was written about, long before theology, long before philosophy.

The wisest among us are interpreters, but the truth is eternal and cannot be changed by the interpretations of human beings.





~ Text & photograph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 69:

Be imperfect and acknowledge your imperfection. In this way you will become honest and no longer need to present a false image of yourself to the world.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 217:

Normal is an idea in wet cement.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 237:

A sin is a sin.
Comparing one sin against another does not change the fact that a sin is a sin.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 83:

We are not in this world. We are of this world.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Wake Up!



















At some point, you must set aside what you want to happen
and realize what is actually happening.




~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 52:

Philosophy, the graveyard of life.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 47:

A kind heart may refuse to judge,
but a wise mind will measure.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 241:

I don’t say grace before my meals.
I believe in the separation of church and plate.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 24:

Improve the world. Sit quietly. Do nothing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




This Flower



I give you this flower,
Individual,
Containing all flowers,
Containing all my love,
Which cannot be contained.




~ Poem and Photo by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 108:

It’s not what we take,
but what we make that interests me.

# 13:

The universe is not the product of an intelligent being, the universe is an intelligent being.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 41:

When we say what something is like,
we replace the actual with the imagined.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




There's Always A Price




























You dream of flying, but if your wish were granted, the freedom of flight would be paid for with the solemnity of survival.




~ Russ Allison Loar
~ "Freedom" painting by Dorothea Hyde
© All Rights Reserved

# 63:

The secret of wisdom
is to question
what you think you know.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 8:

In poetry,
the writing is the thing that comes last.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 25:

You must give up where you are
before you can get somewhere else.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 19:

If you are not living the life you imagined, imagine the life you are living.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 1:

Those who believe in God, abandon God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 228:

Someday, people will look back at us and laugh at our appearances. But most of all, they will be amazed at what we believed.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 243:

The game’s no longer fun,
after the game is won.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Fathers and Sons





















They are their father's sons.
I criticize them for being like me.
I know too well where that can lead.






~ Text & photograph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Kids Need Discipline!



















"The school board Tuesday night unanimously approved
the death penalty for dress code violations."





~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by Paul and Lora Guajardos
© All Rights Reserved




Love Is The Filter














When I was young and didn't need glasses to read, I saw every speck of dirt and dust.

Now that I'm older, there is a filter in my eyes that makes everything look so much cleaner.

The filter I have found for my inquisitive, restless soul is love.






~ Text & artwork by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Happiness Has Wings





Happiness has wings
Of dust
And light,
So fragile,
Just a thought
Can tear them from the sky.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Cy Brinson
© All Rights Reserved




Life On The Moon?
























M y grandfather, Herman Allison, born August 4, 1885, in Morgan's Mill, Texas, once told me that when he was a schoolboy, a topic for debate was:

"Is the moon inhabited?"





~ Text & artwork by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Ants





























Ants,
These busy, busy ants,
Called upon this hot summer day
To march from there to here to somewhere else,
Called upon by Mother Earth to live,
To be busy,
So busy this hot summer day.

They do not ask why.



~ poem and photo by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




My Afternoon With Alex



The charming and erudite host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, is surprisingly sardonic off camera. The studio audience—about 100 split between members of the general public on the left side of the theater, friends and family of the contestants on the right—had plenty of opportunity to ask him questions during down times between segments, sampling his slightly cynical sense of humor.

I asked if he'd ever been a game show contestant; if he would ever be a contestant on Jeopardy! before he retires; and how did he think he'd do as a Jeopardy! contestant.

He said he'd been a contestant on a few game shows, but would not be a contestant on Jeopardy! because then someone else would have to host the show, and "he might be better than I am." How would he do as a Jeopardy! contestant? Trebek said he would probably do well against his "peers." Then, looking directly at me, he said, "I see by your white hair that you might be one of my peers. I would crush you!"

A middle-aged man in the mostly middle-aged audience asked, "How do you pronounce all those foreign words?" He answered with overemphasized, drawn out speech: "W-i-t-h M-y M-o-u-t-h."

I also talked to crisp-toned announcer Johnny Gilbert, asking how many tapings per day the winners do. He said they tape five shows a day. For Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings to win seventy-four consecutive games, he had to win five games in a row, then get up the next morning and go win another five games. Whew indeed! The show tapes Tuesdays and Wednesdays, three weeks a month, nine months a year.

Gilbert introduced two of the three Clue Crew members who were at the taping—Sarah and Jimmy. When the pair stood up and waved to the audience, I saw that Jimmy was wearing a maroon hoodie with "HARVARD" emblazoned on the front in big letters. Yeah, OK. You're smart.

A Few Candid Moments

A fortyish woman asked Trebek what his favorite karaoke song was. He replied, "My favorite karaoke song?" then turned his head to the side and pretended to spit on the floor, saying: "I hate karaoke."

Another audience member asked him what he thought about rap music. As he began to criticize it, he seemed to pause and take a quick scan of the audience, then said he disliked most of it because of the bad language and negative references, adding that he thought it was a bad influence on youth. "Not all of it is bad, but most of it," he said, apparently not wishing to condemn the entire black youth culture.

Surprise! Trebek Doesn't Know Everything

When one of the contestants incorrectly answered "era" instead of "eon" in response to a science question requiring a three-letter word with two vowels, Trebek told the young man that "era" was not a scientific term. One of the fact checkers disagreed.

(Era can be generic, such as the era of horse and buggy, or scientific, such as the Paleozoic era.)

Trebek seemed to think "era" had only a generic meaning. But after the fact checker disagreed, he walked over to the front of the stage where a semicircle of fact checkers are located in a pit behind computer screens and telephones, and picked up one of their dictionaries. He seemed genuinely interested in making sure he had the correct information, although the staff photographer who took candid photos during the taping of the show moved quickly into position to take a few shots of Trebek studiously peering into the dictionary. He lingered just long enough to ensure a good publicity shot.

Trebek Is 73

When asked what books he's read, Trebek said he reads a lot of nonfiction, "political stuff," and also likes novelist "John . . ." and then couldn't think of the author's last name until an audience member called out: "Grisham." Then he mentioned finishing a book during a recent trip, but could not remember what it was. "It'll come to me," he said. It didn't.

So even the sharp-witted Trebek, adjudicator of all knowledge, cannot escape the symptoms of an aging mind. Or perhaps it was just overload, considering all the data that had passed through his brain by the last taping of the day. It was the fifth and last show during a day in which he'd already articulated 264 questions with but a very few misspeaks. Is this reassuring to those of us who worry about occasional memory loss? I don't know, but I'm gonna keep playing.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Popeye

















Dear Sirs,

I am Popeye, the sailor man. Although it pains me deeply to admit it, I do, in fact, live in a garbage can. Despite my impoverished habitat due to temporary setbacks too numerous to mention at this time, let me assure you that I will, nevertheless, be strong to the finish, because I “eats” me spinach, because, all in all, when push comes to shove, at the core of my being, I am still Popeye, the sailor man.

Regards,

P.S. Man






~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Illustration from Wikimedia.org
© All Rights Reserved




Teapot Song




I'm a little teapot
Short and stout,
Kick me in the rear
And step on my snout.

I'm a little teapot
Fat and wide,
Take me to the slaughterhouse
And cut off my hide!





~ Poem & artwork by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Poets




















Poets must give one another unadulterated praise
because nobody else gives a damn.






~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Painting by Holly Roberts
© All Rights Reserved




Lost In The Desert

















I was in Egypt when I was 15, but it took many years for me to realize where I'd been and what I'd really seen.




~ by Russ Allison Loar (far left, on camel)
© All Rights Reserved




Blackmail



To You Whom It May Concern,

I am in possession of certain facts and sensitive material that have no relevance to you in any way.

Unless you deliver $1 million in unmarked coins to my home within 48 hours, I will be forced to release this irrelevant material to the newspapers, which, in all likelihood, will not publish it.

This is your next-to-last warning!

Ima Moron
54321 Blastoff Avenue,
Zoloft, CA 98765-4321


P.S. Do not give my address to the police.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Twenty Dollars
















I wanted to ask her to marry me, but I needed twenty dollars, bad. So I asked her for the twenty, figuring I’d see how that went, then maybe I’d ask her to marry me, later, after I’d paid her back.
“You don’t have twenty dollars?” she opined inquisitively.
“Well, not on me,” I rejoined affirmatively.
I began to think this exchange did not bode well for my chances of matrimony. At least not with her, the exotic gothic office receptionist with an Iron Cross tattooed on her left shoulder.
I needed the Andy Jackson because I had to eat some barbecued ribs for lunch, and the twenty would cover it. Normally, I bring my lunch to the office in a brown paper bag, and, actually, I had brought my lunch. But every once in a while the hunger for meat on a bone overwhelms my senses.
Were this an earlier age and were I your run-of-the-mill Cro-Magnon, then I would have taken my Magnon minions on a hunt and laid low a big beefy bison or perhaps a wily warthog or two. It’s a guy thing.
“What do you need twenty dollars for?” she Spanish inquisitioned.
“Meat.”
“Ha! Right!” she obtused, laughing mockingly as she pretended to answer the phone suddenly.
“Well, if you can’t spare the twenty, how about marrying me?” I said to her mentally.
Perhaps it was all for the best. Perhaps she would not make the ideal mate. Perhaps I was moving a little too fast, considering this was her first day on the job. But it’s like my great-great grandfather used to tell my great-grandfather, who passed this ancient wisdom on to my grandfather, who, in turn, passed it on to me, over and over again: “Take your aim and stake your claim.”
Then I remembered the killer asteroid. In a movie I’d watched the night before, this killer asteroid came careening into Earth and made a terrible mess, dooming nearly everyone except those who were unusually photogenic.
There is no killer asteroid, I appreciated spontaneously. Not yet. No killer asteroid. No end of the world. Just day after day of waking up and slicing hair off my face with sharpened steel and scraping away dead skin cells with a lathered loofah. Yes, everything is OK, even when it’s boring.
I looked down upon my small self and laughed. My petty concerns. Ha! Ha! Ha! How petty. How very petty. This momentary illumination subsided and I refocused on the immediate task at hand: trying to satisfy my most animalistic, procreational desires, i.e., meat and sex.
Near the end of the working day I returned to the desk of the new receptionist and asked her if she’d like to go out to dinner.
“You’re kidding,” she ridiculed.
“Not at all. I think I love you,” I extravaganzized. “At least I am interested enough in you to eat food in your company.”
“I thought you needed twenty dollars,” she rationalized perplexingly. “I thought you were broke.”
“I just remembered,” I announced in an orgasmic burst of self-realization. “I have a credit card.”
Later, after dinner, we went to her apartment and made love for two hours while she insulted me. It was great.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Holding On




















What can we hold onto?
When everything changes,
When everything passes,
When the years recreate who we are,
Sometimes lifting us,
Sometimes tearing us apart.

O love,
The clich├ęd word so easily pronounced,
The greeting card verse
Spoken without feeling,
O love,
If kept alive and breathing . . .

There is so much to love in this world.
Even when you are old and confined
You can love a memory.
Even when memories fall away
You can love an idea.
Even when cognition falters,
When fear invades,
When the dark idea of godless death threatens,
Believe!

Hold onto love,
However untranslatable it may seem.
Love will persist.
You will be saved.






~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by Sharon Pruitt ~ Pink Sherbet Photography
© All Rights Reserved




Heh, Heh, Heh




















L aura was breathing harder now, her head resting against George’s shoulder as they sat in his pickup truck at the drive-in movie. It was a long movie and she had been up since the crack of dawn. She was asleep.

"Looks like you managed to cut off our only escape route,” Princess Leia tongue-lashed the handsomely handsome Han Solo.

“Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, your highness!” Han rhetoricated mockingly.

“Aaagh!” Laura screamed, awakening to the sound of laser fire pontooning from the small metal speaker box hooked on the passenger side window.

“Laura, what’s wrong?”

“Oh George, I just had the most frightening dream of my life. I dreamed you were president and I was First Lady and a band of bearded evildoers blew up New York City!”

“Heh, heh, heh,” George spontaneously chuckled, draining his fourth Budweiser. “Heh, heh, heh. That’ll be the day.”




~ Story & photo morph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved