Freedom of Religion


We have a First Amendment.

It’s cute how it gets interpreted by different organizations.

You know, with the “War on Christianity” and all that has gone into that.  Turns out the “War on Christianity” and the “War on Christmas” are the only wars conservatives are against.

They love real, people killing war.

They love the War on Drugs and the incarcerations that came with it.

They love almost any war I can think of except for the one that doesn’t really exist.  And it never has.

Liberals are not trying to take away the right of Christians to practice their religion.  And political correctness has not gone so far that it has infringed on a person’s rights to practice their religion.

That argument is a distraction from what is really going on.

Let’s get the text.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Side note:  Government cannot prohibit the press as part of free speech.  Corporations are now people.  They can limit speech as money is their form of communication.  Money always wins.  Especially when money is what people believe in most.

Corporate news tells you what they want to hear.  Thank you Citizen’s United.

So what Ted Cruz and Bill O’Reilly and all the other insanely greedy people when it comes to speech and religion don’t seem to understand is that just because you have money and you believe in something, does not mean you get a larger say in how your religion is represented.

Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion.

Donald Trump keeps telling us that we can’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore.  Not true.  You can say it as an individual of the world.  Governments should not be forcing people who don’t believe or care about religion to have this discussion.

I also do not believe that corporations should have Christmas parties.  Call it what you like, but you are excluding a decent portion of the population from feeling as if they can celebrate.

And I realize that is a big portion of what church is to many people.  It’s an exclusive club in which they know the real meaning of life and they know what’s best for the population.

But you don’t.

It’s called faith for a reason.

Otherwise it would be called proof.

The “War on Christianity” is about as real as the god they believe in.  Most people do not have a problem with anybody practicing what they believe on their time as long as it doesn’t harm anybody.

But harming somebody is against the law anyway.  Already.

There’s a good portion of atheists who believe indoctrinating young children with religion is harmful.  I happen to agree.

If you tell a young child that binding their feet is a good thing, they will do it.  This has been proven.  It has happened.

I have dinner waiting, so I will bottom line this thing.

Nobody is coming after your religion.  Exercise it all you want.

What people are doing is trying to be free from having to have your religion dictate the rules of society.

Exactly what the First Amendment is trying to avoid.  At least the way it was written and at least the way Thomas Jefferson wrote about it.

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

A wall.

Your religion and your god should never be something I have to hear about or deal with.  I’m not interested.  And as a United States citizen, I will refrain from all references.

That means the Pledge of Allegiance which was adjusted during the Cold War (WAR!!!).

That means God Bless America which started playing during the Seventh Inning Stretch because of 9/11.  And the fear of WAR!!!

That means all of it.

This isn’t a “War on Christianity” this is defending my rights as a human being of this nation.

Turns out I have the same rights as all of you that go to church and rely on faith as a guiding light in spite of cancer and genocide and starving children and AIDS.

Faith is the F word.  Period.

So get over yourselves and practice as the Bill of Rights intended.

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Who’s Buying?


I discussed lyrics yesterday and how some songs can really resonate with me lyrically.  For other (most) songs I can be completely dismissive of the lyrics.

I’m driving home today and the song Peace Sells comes on.  Pseudo randomly chosen from the library of songs which live on my phone.  I don’t have many Megadeth  songs on my phone.

My senior thesis was on pseudo random number generation.

Peace Sells was released 30 years ago.  September 19, 1986.  I’m old.

The bass line was used as the intro to Headbanger’s Ball.  What?  You don’t remember that show?  I’m very old.

The lyrics to the song Peace Sells are not great.  In fact, I’m guessing, Mustaine looks back on writing that song with a little disappointment.  He had a golden opportunity.

He missed it.

But the message.  The ending.  What we get out of it is solid.

Can you put a price on peace?

Peace sells, but who’s buying?

Compare the messages of the major corporate parties and what they are trying to accomplish.

Napoleon said, “a leader is a dealer in hope.”

So a politician can take it from one of two angles.  A politician can either peddle optimism and hope and try to inspire the people or a politician can peddle fear.

Both result in hope if you spin it right.

Both offer hope in a glass half full/empty sort of way.

2016 is a whole lot of fear.

2016 is a whole lot of selling war.

2016 is what is wrong with everything.

Neither of the corporate candidates are pitching a great idea or vision.  Both are basically saying vote for me or the other person wins.

Both are advertising starting more war.

Both are telling us how bad things are.

Peace sells, but who’s buying?

I’m thinking of the candidates who actually put a pitch for peace out there.  Sanders, O’Malley, Stein, and even Rand Paul.

The response has been disappointing.  We all dream of peace, but nobody is willing to take steps forward.

Several times this week, Donald J. Trump has tweeted about our inner cities imploding.  He then tells the world in under 140 characters that he is the only one who can fix it.

How?

Use your words.  Learn some words.

If there’s a new way, I’ll be the first in line
But it better work this time

Mustaine never said what he would do if it didn’t work.  He just said it better work.

And then he got old.

And then he found a god.

And now his shit sucks.

True story.

So here is where I pivot to another song from around the same time.  This time by Corrosion of Conformity.  Pepper Keenan’s first song that he wrote and performed with the band was called Vote with a Bullet.  And this song really pissed off Vice President Dan Potatoe Quayle.

He felt it was offensive.  Boy, Quayle wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s twitter climate.

I mean, using metaphors in songs.

And, yes, voting with a bullet is a metaphor.  I don’t want Trump to tweet out that ISIS and all their Muslim followers vote with a bullet all the time and he’s the only one who can fix it.

That’s not voting.

Guns don’t vote.

Voting is voting.

And voting with a bullet is trying to rid the country of poor office holders.

Tim Canova is running for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’ seat.  It honestly feels as if voting for Canova is voting with a bullet.  She doesn’t deserve her job.

I think more people should take action votes.  Vote out people who have made horrible decisions or who don’t do their job.

Did Obama have the right to nominate a Supreme Court Justice?  Yes.  Vote with a bullet.  Vote out all those fuckers who made it so he could not do the job he was elected to do.

Did any Canadian born Cuban senators truly have the right to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood?  Nope.  Vote with a bullet.  The Cat in the Hat would vote with a bullet.  Believe me.

Do those who are Super Delegates have the right to vote against their states and cancel out the time and votes of thousands who spent time to vote?  No.  Vote with a bullet against all those who basically screwed you out of your time and hard work.

I’m voting with a bullet this year.

Patty Murray- I’m voting against you.  You voted against your constituents.  You are just another corporate candidate who I don’t need legislating for me.  You are the antithesis of representative democracy.

Bottom line is this.  Peace sells records.  It makes money for iTunes and it made money for Columbia Records.  How many songs promoting peace can you name?

If Peace Train is the only one that comes to mind, you’re not digging.

Only country singers sing about the glories of war, and I’m not being a smart ass.  Iraq I Roll comes to mind.

We have a long history of singing for peace.  We have a long history of wishing we could buy the world a Coke too.

But peace doesn’t sell on the Senate floor.  It doesn’t buy donors.  It doesn’t get the Halliburton or Exxon or Koch Brothers to support your campaign.

Hillary Clinton campaigns on a platform of war.

Donald J. Trump campaigns on a platform (if he has one) of war.

These people know who are cutting them checks and who is supporting them.

It’s much easier to peddle fear and war than to tell the country their Second Amendment rights will become less necessary because we are going to push toward a path of peace.

Cock your guns ladies and gentlemen, you’ll need them when ISIS comes after your children.

Peace, like the Pet Rock, has limited appeal.  It won’t last long even if people start to buy in.  Really, it seems as if America is infatuated with having a bloated military.  So bloated it’s as if it eats at McDonald’s every single day.

Can I super size your military for you?

And don’t you dare not stand for the singing of the national anthem.

Personally, I hate “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch.  It’s wrong on too many levels, but people are too afraid to stop.

Let me sum this up.

If peace doesn’t sell because people aren’t interested then I’m going to vote with a bullet.

A message needs to be sent.

Music and Mood


I’m currently listening to Made Out of Babies.

I’m listening to Sugar.  It’s off the album Trophy.

Don’t search it.  I will give you everything you need.

I absolutely love the energy of this song.

I haven’t ever paid much attention to the lyrics.

I think, once upon a time, lyrics meant much more to me than they do now.  Good lyrics mean something to me for sure, but those are rare.  I’m about the energy.

When the new Trophy Scars came out (and sadly it sounds like their last album- I’m a huge fan) I loved the feel of the songs.  My oldest argued that the lyrics were dumb and made the album hard to listen to.

Chicago Typewriter is definitely about being haunted by ghosts, I was told.  I hadn’t really thought about it.

And then I was told, I feel like he keeps writing about the same girl he broke up with  years ago, and this may have been a true statement.

But the music.  The music and feel of the songs.  There’s an energy.

Music is as close as I’ve ever come to a religion.

That and the dog that is sleeping on my lap as I write this.  He smells really bad right now.

But music isn’t really a religion.

It’s about emotion.  It’s about feelings.  It’s about tapping into something and releasing everything which is bothering you.

Those who are truly into religion all are different.  Some just want to belong.  Some want to believe in something and interpret every word they read.

Some simply want to feel.

My wife loves the poetry and words.  She wants the singer to speak to her.

I just want to feel.  And it can’t be simple.  It can’t be dance music.

I love layers.

So I use Sugar by Made Out of Babies as an example.  I love this song.

Hi, I live on the corner
I crawl on my belly
I eat flies with honey
My teeth are all jagged
My sweater is itchy

I jump up and down
to get your attention
I’ve had too much sugar

No, i don’t do it right
I can’t seem to get it
I’m shaking with laughter

I follow you around
to see you home safely
And, I’ve had to much sugar
And, I see you home safely
I’ve had too much sugar

Oh, I’ve got scabs on my knees
I pick and I eat them
I dream about laughter

I have had too much sugar
I wait on your staircase to see you home safely
My, my skin is too cheap
I walk with a limp
I’m brimming with stories
and followed by strays
My toenails are sharp
My skin is too pale

I have had too much sugar
I wait on your staircase to see you home safely
I sing you to sleep
My thoughts are all bloody
Come get me, I can’t

I follow you around
to see you home safely
And, I’ve had too much sugar,
but, i’ll see you home safely

I follow you around
I crawl on my belly
I see you home safely

I follow you around
I’ve had too much sugar

I follow you around
Follow you around
I follow you around
Follow you around
I follow you around
I follow you around

What silly lyrics.  Honestly.

I’ve only ever heard some of them.  But this is a great song.

And I’m sad that Made Out of Babies is done.

The band got a new female singer and released an album as Bad Powers.  It was okay.

Julie Christmas released a solo album and went away for a few years.  She’s on my short list of great female singers.  Most don’t understand that statement.

So I was excited when I heard she sang on the new Cult of Luna album.

Short list of really good albums from this year.  So far.

To push my point across even more, Cult of Luna is more post-rock than anything.  The lyrics are the least important aspect.  The vocals are another instrument (when they even appear on post-rock).

So I leave you with a non-official video of Sugar.

I leave you with what passes for religion in my head.

I worship nothing.

I inject the sounds.

 

My Dog Robbie Weighs in on Kaepernick


Colin Kaepernick decided he wasn’t going to stand during the National Anthem last night before his team played a football game.

I don’t like Kaepernick because he plays for the wrong team and it looks like an amateur took a Sharpie to his body.

But.

He said…

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.  To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

And I’m not going to argue with him.  I am personally opposed to the Anthem and to the Pledge.  They are very nationalist and socialist ideas.  I was opposed to my daughters taking part in the Pledge of Allegiance because somebody decided to not only treat country as if it was infallible, but throw in language about their god as if it really existed.

The 50s ruined everything.

But I’m not really supposed to comment on this issue.

My dog is half black.  When he has to go in his kennel, I tell him it’s his black half that gets him in there.  I think I’m hilarious.

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Racism exists.

Period.

So Robbie says that he’s a barking Michael Jackson song.

He’s black.  He’s white.

Robbie says he should be treated like any other dog on this earth.  Regardless of the fact he is part Jack Russell and people seem to have prejudice against his heritage.

Robbie says that this shouldn’t be a nation that relies on nationalism.  It should be a nation which relies on doing what’s right.  He told me that if people did what’s right instead of deflecting by pointing at the flag, then things would simply be right.

Robbie says Kaepernick has a right to take a stand.  The First Amendment guarantees it.

Robbie says that the Seahawks will crush the 49ers and Kaepernick this year.

My dog got off topic.

But Kaepernick does have the right.  And part of the problem we have in this nation is that people only grant those rights when they are convenient.

So Trump saying that Muslims should be banned from the country is okay.

Clinton taking money from major corporations as a way of dictating her policy is a right of free speech and is fine.  The Supreme Court said so in Citizen’s United.

An athlete protesting blind nationalism is okay as well.

My dog said so.

If Twitter Were 60


I’ve always been glad that my kids haven’t overshared on social media.  I may have also pointed out how ridiculous it is when others do.

Some people really do.

I made a Facebook page for the cat years ago.  All of my daughters’ friends added her.

She would make comments like “I love tuna, mol” (meowing out loud) and on and on.  It was good fun.  But some of my daughters’ friends really overshared.  I knew way too much about which boyfriend they were with today and what they were doing after school.  Too much.

And then there’s Donald Trump, who I picture (not pleasantly) sitting in his bed with striped pajamas on using his phone to make inflammatory comments on Twitter before he puts a blindfold on and goes to sleep.

His maids go in and wash his sheets every morning so he doesn’t have to see the orange residue left by his horrible tan.

I’m guessing they’ve always had to do that.

Even when he was a teenager.

That’s what this post is about.  I’m imagining an oversharing Donald Trump as a teenager.

What if Twitter was 60 years old?

I didn’t know Lucille Ball was a redhead when I was a kid because she was only on black and white.  I guess I never thought about it.

Trump would still be orange.  His twitter profile picture would be black and white.

I imagine his teenage posts would be something like this.

I had to poop.  Bigly.  Much better now.

And.

Zitty Billy better watch it next time we play pickle ball.  I will destroy him.  Just watch.

Or.

Many people have told me Little Stevie stuff his pants.  I don’t know if it’s true, but sad if it is.

These are fun to imagine.

Loser Mrs. Schwartz treats me unfairly and gives me a C.  #gradingonacurve.  Bad!

And then.

.@GeorgeWBush My dad can beat up your dad.  Watch it!

.@JebBush My dad can beat up your dad too.  And you are low energy.  Sad!

And then there would be the relationship tweets.

So Deborah Finkle thinks she can break up with me and start dating Dumb Johnny just because he plays football.  Already have a more attractive gf.  Loser.

New gf Gorgeous Jennifer is so much better than your gfs.

Gorgeous Jennifer has the best of everything.  And she’s not like other girls.  Believe me.

Gorgeous Jennifer is so amazing. I’m very lucky and you all are very unlucky.

Just caught Jennifer talking to another boy.  Not good!

Sorry Stacy is starting rumors that I have cheated on Jennifer with every cheerleader.  Totally a lie that she cannot prove!

Sorry Stacy starts rumors that she can’t prove because she wants me and Gorgeous Jennifer to break up!

People are starting to say Sorry Stacy has a huge crush on me.

Bitty Titty Tara asked me to go to Sadie Hawkins dance.  C cup or higher ladies.  #gradingonacurve

Just heard Paul and Becky just broke up.  So sad.  I am free tomorrow night @Becky912.

Strange Little @Becky912 says she would never date me.  95% of girls in school would!  #missingout

Most of the girls in school have said I’m very good @Becky912.  Probably too good for you.

Just found out that @Becky912 has no money.  Sad!

Just found out people who have no money like @Becky912 get money from government to go to our school.  Broke Becky is scamming govt.

People are saying that I’m the best catch in school and that Broke Becky wouldn’t date me because she didn’t want me to find out she is very very poor.

@Becky912 also known as Broke Becky just begged me to date her.  Begged.  Not going to happen.

I think everybody knows that @Becky912 had her chance and missed out.

Jealous Jennifer just broke up with me.  If she can’t handle my popularity THEN I DON’T WANT HER!!!!

Jealous Jennifer is such a loser to break up with me.  Fact is she wasn’t good enough.

Since ball and chain Jealous Jennifer is out of the picture, who wants to date The Donald?  Remember, C cup or higher #gradingonacurve

So much popularity for me since I broke up with Jealous Jennifer.  She’s such a loser I feel bad.

I wish I could date all the wonderful women who have shown interest.  I love you all.

Still available for Sadie Hawkins dance.  Who will be the lucky girl?  Make Dances Great Again.

Just found out Jealous Jennifer has a date for Sadie Hawkins dance.  I am boycotting Sadie Hawkins!

Jealous Jennifer can date whoever she wants.  I don’t care.

I will not be attending stupid dance if Jealous Jennifer is there.  Holding my own dance in barn.

My dad has given me $500 to hold my own dance.  Everybody knows the barn is the best barn in town.

Remember, I am the only one who is self funding my dance.  Funding for school dance from the rich donors to the elite prep school.

So unfair why people are saying Jealous Jennifer is going to dance with another guy.  My hands are very very big.

I just wanted to say that Jealous Jennifer never had a problem with my hands while we were together.  In fact, she kept asking to see them!

My hands are the greatest, strongest hands of any boy in the the school.  And I have the most stamina too.

I noticed today at school that people kept looking at my hands when they passed me.  I’m sure Jealous Jennifer is missing them.

Nobody looks at Little Stevie’s hands like they do mine!

Remember, my dance will be so much better with better music and better lights than the stupid school dance.

I will make dances great again with so much better food.  Believe me.

Just found out there is great buzz for my dance.  Wow.  Thank you.

All the popular kids are going to my dance and not the one Jealous Jennifer is attending.

Just confirmed the woman with the largest breasts in school!  Amazing!

All the cheerleaders are going to my dance and my dance only.

DO NOT MISS MY DANCE.  IT WILL BE GREAT!!!!

Don’t believe the unfair yearbook photos this year.  They won’t show how empty the gym was!  My dance was bigger.

My dance was amazing last night.  So many girls commented on my hands.  Amazing!

So sad so many people were too stubborn and missed out on a great time.

Little Stevie, called that because he stuffs his pants, is spreading rumors nobody went to my dance.  Sad!

Little Stevie can meet me behind the locker room at noon.  My large hands will crush him.

Found out Jealous Jennifer took Little Stevie to Sadie Hawkins dance.  Pathetic.

Little Stevie better watch his back.

People are saying Jealous Jennifer has a horrible time last night with Little Stevie.

So sad Jealous Jennifer couldn’t control her emotions and went to the dance with a loser.

Complete loser Little Stevie went to the dance with Jealous Jennifer last night and people are saying they never danced once!

People also saying Little Stevie and Jealous Jennifer never held hands!!!  Sad!!!!

Okay, I had to stop.  The Donald missed the noon fight behind the locker room because he had to watch orange paint dry and Jennifer and Stevie were prom king and queen and Becky went on to a successful career as a doctor.

And don’t worry about the Bush family.  A little cocaine couldn’t stop them.

Sometimes… A Little Creativity Points are Needed


You, the random reader of this, may have never played The Sims back when it was fresh and new and original.

There was an aspect of working with your sim that you needed to keep it balanced to a certain extent.  All work and only earning money made your sim miserable, but it craved the money and success so it needed to work.

That balance could come by means of painting or playing a musical instrument or cooking or something else.

There was also exercise and social interaction and education and far too many things to try to keep up with at times.

I guess I was at that point this weekend.  My creativity points come by means of writing generally.  But I’m sick of the topics of the world.  So much divisiveness.  Something needs to change.

Sometimes I cook.

Today I pulled out my camera.

I’ve taken my camera and pointed at my daughter for her senior pictures this past year.  I thought they turned out pretty good.

I pointed it at Northern California last year and made some prints.

I pointed it at various baseball games last summer and created a calendar.

My best topic right now is my dog.  So I pulled out the camera took him to the river and dog park.  They are right next to each other and is an average Monday for me.  I let him splash around and get muddy and then let him dry off while chasing a ball at the park.

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He gets tired and that allows me a better night’s sleep.

I am writing this boring excrement as he sleeps on my lap.

Now I certainly don’t try to be one of those people who talk only about their dog.  But this guy is still pretty cute and also very demanding.  He takes up much of our time.

I enjoy sitting down and editing the photos.  My last prints were pretty good.  May not be what most people would want on their walls, but I think creativity points belong to the user.

Not you.

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As we walked from the river to the park, there was a group of children who were on the swings and kicking footballs and running around playing tag.  The thing about a puppy is that one can stop children from doing what they are doing.  Cold.

This sopping wet dog received the attention and affection of 20 children all at once and didn’t know what to do.  One kid said, he’s crazy.

Welcome to the club, dog.

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So here I am.  Creativity points attained.  I have to go five days without receiving any new ones now.  Way it works.

Remember, these aren’t for you.  They are for me.

And I get to put whatever I want here.

Every.  Single.  Time.

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Focus on the Good Things


Today is Sunday.  I get Sunday and Monday off.  Just about every week.

The other five days of the week my alarm starts making noise at 3:09 AM.  That’s what time I chose.  It was 3:22 when I first started, but now I’m going in earlier.

Even though I’m the boss, my job is physically demanding.  I get tired by the time Saturday comes.

I’m not looking for any sympathy, that’s just the way it is.

I keep up on the world when I can during the week.  But find I don’t care as much when I’m tired or when I’ve had a tough day.

My wake up time makes it very difficult to watch much more than the first inning or so of the local Major League Baseball games.  I do enjoy baseball.

I wake up in the morning and check the scores.  If my wife is still awake, and sometimes she is or the alarm wakes her, she tells me about the previous night’s game.

We watch any (and there are not many) prime time shows we are interested in a day or more later.  Not a big deal to me, and I often don’t care anyway so I convince my wife to watch them on her time.

I used to watch The Daily Show, but it’s not that interesting right now.

Sunday is catch up day.  My dog chills with me almost the entire two days I have off.  He knows.  We sit down and watch the news and watch anything only I might be interested in.  I catch up on any social media trends and see what’s going on in the world.

I generally try to write something.

I don’t care about the Olympics.  Haven’t for years.

The fact is that it took me a year to get a job.  I’m not sure why.  I’ve thought about analyzing what it is that caused people to pass me over, but I’m not sure there’s anything a middle aged man can change.

But when I was not working, I was caught up on everything every day.  I watched all the political coverage and took in the news and on and on.

But now I’m tired.

And I’m not just tired because of the job, I’m tired because of the climate we are living in.

I stumbled upon this story on the world leader in news, The Onion, called, I Can’t Do This Anymore Think 320 Million Americans Quietly Going About Their Day.

My original thinking was they couldn’t care about two disingenuous politicians running for more control over America.  I was intrigued.

The piece was not funny at all.  Somebody was seriously just having a tough day.  We all do.  I had a few of those last week.  The article was about how mundane life can be.  It ended like this.

At press time, reports indicated every single person in the country had gritted their teeth and forced their mouth into a resigned smile before moving on with their day.

Because that’s what humans do.

And that’s what life is.

Life is suffering.  We were taught this from Siddhartha.

I continue to flip through the channels.  Jill Stein was on ABC.  Clinton sent Mook on just about every show.  Trump sent his campaign manager of the month around to talk about how Trump is different.  Again.

I was just waiting for a baseball game to come on.

As my dog slept on my lap.  He’s letting me know he likes when I’m home and I appreciate this.

I read all the tweets on how bad the other candidate is.

I read about the horrible devastation in Louisiana.

I read about the bombing at a wedding in Turkey.

I see this article about an LGBT rights activist in Iran who was raped and torched to death.  She was 23.

I read about how Clinton says she will stop taking corporate and foreign money if we merely elect her president.

And Trump says, what the hell have you got to lose?

This whole thing about Lochte.

What’s next?

So I sit here and tap this out because I’m so ready to tap out.  It’s exhausting.

And I don’t mean from life.

I write this and feed my dog chips.  He loves them.  He should.  They are good.

For the love of potato chips

I sit on a chair which has no cover anymore.  At least not much of one.  This guy tore the it off.  Piece by piece.

That’s it, we are going to the park.  I’m pushing some music deep into my sound holes.

I get another day off tomorrow.

By Tuesday, I’m going to be good.