Year in Review

red ryder2015 has been an eventful year. This spring I saw my personal finances make the turn from disastrous to “I can now afford to live paycheck to paycheck”! I was finally able to afford to put for new tires on the truck. I had four different tires, and I use that term rather loosely – they were tires in that they were round and had once had a tread. Each tire was a different size.

I friend gave us a 14-foot 1953 Field and Stream trailer on the condition that we remove it from her property. To say this is a fixer-upper is putting it mildly. Packrats had decimated the interior. I gutted most of the interior and removed the wiring. My project for 2016 is to begin restoration.

We finally made the investment in the building materials for a much-needed shed. Mike and I put it together one weekend, in between many beers. The completed shed provided the needed storage space, and I cleared out the studio of extraneous junk. This removed my last excuse for not spending more time in the studio, and come 2016 I hope to become productive once again.

turquoise ring by Henry T Morris

Liz fought her own personal battle this summer.  She will talk about it when she is ready. Needless to say, we both were rather preoccupied this summer as our daily routines were disrupted, and virtually every aspect of our lives were affected.

In October my divorce was finalized; that was a long time coming, and one chapter in my life is officially closed. Christmas was quiet, and New Year’s Eve is expected to be a lite affair. Liz really surprised me with a truly unexpected gift – a turquoise and sterling silver ring by local Navajo silversmith Henry Morris. Henry passed earlier this year and already his work is no longer affordable, at least not to those of us with modest means.

She also picked up a vintage Red Ryder. We usually don’t spend a lot at Christmas, opting for smaller and more meaningful gifts.

I expect that 2016 will see two of us spending more time in the studio, and hopefully more time hiking the desert and mountains.

Desert Detritus Clocks

Desert Detritus Wall ClockIt has been a while since I created a new desert Detritus clock.  I need a good hike to collect more material.

But, I have several still available.  What better gift this holiday season than a hand-crafted original clock? These clocks are hand made, crafted from scavenged items from the Superstition wilderness and environs. Old rusted metal, weathered cholla roots and accurate quartz movements.

Your price is $150 until the end of 2015 only!  I will include shipping in the USA for free! Contact me for more information.

Twelve Days

xmas tree 2015 2Twelve days left. The count down begins, and I have yet to do my Christmas shopping!  Well, I did buy one gift.

For the few that know our personal fun this past Summer, you will understand the importance of this weekend.  For those that haven’t a clue, one day I may share the sordid details.  But I knew we were over the hump last week when Liz penned in “Kahlua” on the shopping list.  She wanted to start the weekly grocery shopping early, and we bought cream cheese and lox.  Yes, she can once again eat raw fish.

We had bagels with lox and cream cheese for brunch, and then headed out to buy our tree. Once home from that excursion, she mixed up a shaker of White Russians. And I knew that she was really in the clear when she suggested we head out to the local drinking establishment for Hot Wings.

carl and lizI needed no further inducement, and the tree was decked in record time! We headed first to Captain’s, not my first choice for wings, but we assumed that there would be seating at the bar.  We were incorrect! There was no parking available, and that is a bad omen. We didn’t even attempt to go in – the ‘birds had all flocked and filled the joint. Now I know how Joseph and Mary must have felt.

We then considered our options.  The Dog Run is huge, and certainly would have room at the bar. But their wings are not on the top of my list – they are not bad, but I was craving excellent wings. So we chanced a drive out to Filly’s Roadhouse. Filly’s has the best wings, hands down. Their wings are deep fried in a pressurized cooker – they are cooked all the way through with crispy skin and tender juicy meat.

There was plenty of room in the parking lot, the horses were all hitched out back. Yes, most of the customers ride in  on horseback! Cowboy hats and boots with spurs are the norm. The room was packed, but there was seating at the bar. We had a good view of the band playing old school country music.  Liz had her first beer since July.

The wings were excellent as expected, and Liz asked if I was going to eat the last one on the plate. Usually she insists that I take the last one, but she did not argue when I offered it to her.  Yes, she is back in true form. We have reason to be thankful this holiday season!

Ordained

ordainedThe Reverend Carl Johnson?  Not a chance in hell – I always despised the term “reverend” used as a title for a person. Reverend means one to be revered – and there is only one to be revered according to the Hebrew and Christian holy texts – that is god.  The word “reverend” is found only once in the King James version of the bible: “He sent redemption unto His people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9)

There is not a person in history that I would deem worthy of being revered. Even Mother Theresa considered herself a servant, and refused the banquet when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, insisting that the monetary award be given to the poor.

Hell, I am not even a pastor or a teacher: “But all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the chief place at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called of men, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even the Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Mt. 23:5-12).

I would not even feign to teach, for what can I teach other than that what I know, and what I thought I knew yesterday is not what I know today, and what I know I only learned through filtered eyeglasses.

I am not even religious in the least, rarely speaking about my own spiritual beliefs other than to call out the hypocrisy of others that bandy about titles and engage in a system of damning others that do not follow a particular moral code. So if you are looking for a title, call me brother, or asshole, whichever is more befitting at the time.

Yes, this is real.  I am a bona-fide minister. I joined the ranks of Conan O’Brien, Sir Ian McKellen, Bryan Cranston, Richard Branson, and yes, even Johnny Carson. Not to mention over 20 million others in the church that has surpassed Catholicism in ordinations. I don’t know if that is true, but it sounds good, and now that it is on the internet, it will gain some veracity.

So, those that know me must ask, what would possess me to become ordained? Was it a lark?  Partly.  Was there a true supernatural religious experience? Nah, I gave up on supernatural experiences a long time ago.   My most profound religious experiences occur when I am in the mountains or the desert, experiencing nature.

However, I have friends that have difficulty finding a minister to perform marriage ceremonies due to their sexual preferences. A civil union before a county clerk or some elected politician just does not cut it for some people. Now I am decidedly of the opinion that there is little difference between the Last Rites and Marriage – but far be it from me to judge. People must be allowed to make their own mistakes, and if I can profit on the side, why not? There is also the benefit of special parking privileges at the hospital and local jail.

But I suppose the biggest benefit is my ability to respond to the person that makes a particularly  ignorant or unintelligent comment, I can counter with an intelligent answer, and flout my credentials as an ordained minister, such as they might be.