#BookOfQuestions | the "perfect" evening?

What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

I would be alone at my home.

Okay, the dog can be here.

No phone would ring; no texts would come in; no emails would arrive.

I would be able to eat what I wanted without having to later pay for the gluten content. I don’t know whether I would choose a really good pizza or Taco Bell bean burritos. Can I have two “perfect” evenings? Regardless of the main course, I would have a bowl of ice cream later.

I would be able to pursue the vices I have given up. I’d be able to drink. I’d be able to smoke.

That would be pretty much the perfect evening.

The Turkey Bowl

Victory hangs in the balance… every year.

Victory hangs in the balance… every year.

When we were young there were numerous times when we received a "Good job!" an "Atta boy!" a "Way to Go!" Kids are often heroes.

However, those opportunities for glory grow fewer and fewer. The chances to excel come all too rare. As adults, we have a job where we are expected to make the grade and when we surpass it, it may (or may not) be noticed by the highers.

But then there is Thanksgiving.

If the wife/mother/woman-of-the-house cooks the turkey, go ahead and stop reading this (probably sexist) drivel now.

Very few times during our family year do so many count on the successful completion of a task. The turkey must be good! Not overdone, not undercooked. Crispy skin. Don't burn it. Beautiful. White meat moist. Not dry. Get the dark meat right. Even the meat near the bone needs to be done. And then if it's perfect, carve it right. Do not mangle it!

The turkey is Dad's -- the old guy's -- chance to score the winning touchdown. Yes, the Dallas Cowboys may be 4th and goal on the Detroit Lions' goal line, but that is secondary to Dad pushing that 18 pound Butterball into the end zone.

The skin gleams like an Oscar for the Best Provider for His Family. It's the gold medal around Dad's neck, the top spot on the cooking dais. Like some ancient Olympian in the oven arts, master of the game fowl, a Dad who can produce a great turkey receives the adoration of all at the table and he knows that means the whole world. At least as long as dinner (and a few mentions while we're doing the dishes) you are the pinnacle of Dad-dom. On the other hand, a mediocre turkey means another year slaving away at the thankless task of being the oldest producer of testosterone in the room. A year of second guessing what could have been… what could have roasted.

What can happen in a second?

A very young Michael Crawford sang "It Only Takes a Moment".

He was wrong. I've been in and out of love to varying intensities several times in my life and it's never happened in a moment -- neither the falling in nor falling out of love -- but the whole romantic idea is cool. Hearing this beautiful song in the musical Hello Dolly… well… it's a feel-good moment.

Perhaps that's what only takes a second: achieving a feel-good moment; sometimes even approaching an emotional orgasm.

A Big Bang got everything started. And we've been all about big bang moments ever since.

There are a few happy things that come to mind. In one second I can be delighted in seeing a baby smile. A cuddle from my dog can fill me with warmth in a second.

As a seriously introverted person, I’m leery of things that happen quickly. And unfortunately, my experience is that moments aren't always good. In fact, they aren't even usually good.

At my house…

In one second my wife can hurt my feelings.

In one second I can launch a verbal attack back at her.

In one second she can get really mad at me.

In one second I can become self righteous.

In one second I can become indignant.

I can be critical in one second.

In one second I can become impatient.

In one second she can dig her emotional defensive position and so can I.

It takes a lot longer than one second for us to get over these hurts.

Just the fact that the negatives seem to flow to this list easier than the positives tells me something about moments and probably tells you something about me

Sadness and hurt happen faster than joy. They also last longer.

On writing and blogging...

I say that I am writer who doesn't write. I feel the urge. I even feel the talent. But beyond the occasional well-worded letter to the editor or a just-right level of snarkiness/wit/intellect in a Facebook post, few things ever make it down on "paper."

I have a renewed commitment to write. It may be therapeutic in a sweaty, physical workout, no-pain-no-gain sort of way. I need it to be therapeutic.

I'm presented with several challenges:

  1. Taking the time to do it. It feels like a trip to the dentist office sometimes. It's a necessary evil but hardly relished and looked forward to.
  2. The nagging preoccupation to write well. It doesn't matter if a reader would say "Damn, the next Hemingway!" It matters if my thoughts and feelings get dealt with BY ME.
  3. Getting in touch with my thoughts and feelings and then being honest with myself and the page about them. This is not something that is easy for me to do.
  4. Finally, publishing them here. I know many things I write will not be pretty and may reveal things about myself and what I think about those around me. These are thoughts I am inclined to keep hidden.

Why not just keep a private journal?

I'm already adept at keeping my feelings hidden. I am the master of doing what I'm told to do or doing what I am expected to do. I've done it all my life. And now I pay for that.

It is only by getting to know the real me and not hiding that person that the therapy will be successful.

WWJD What would Jesus do in North Carolina? Born of a virgin so no Y chromosome yet still self identifies as a male. Where would Jesus pee?

Toilet doors

I realize that I probably shouldn't just post my "headline" without sticking my neck out with editorial comment. Listen, if you believe in Jesus, make what he called the most important commandment YOUR most important commandment.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
— Matthew 22:36-40 NIV Bible

Book Of Questions | You are given the power to kill people...

You are given the power to kill people simply by thinking of their deaths and twice repeating the word “good-bye.” People would die a natural death and no one would suspect you. Are there any situations in which you would use this power?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

Probably, but everyone I know personally is safe.

At least for the time being.

Book Of Questions | Which sex do you think has it easier...

Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wished you were of the opposite sex?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

The times they are achangin'.

Here comes a big generalization since American society is hardly consistent or homogeneous but we are less patriarchal than at any time in western civilization's recorded history. Women are entrepreneurs, CEOs, scientists, politicians, techies, creatives, warriors, mothers, partners, and wives.

Yes the times are achangin'.


  • Men still outnumber women in power roles.
  • The wage gap is embarrassing.
  • Some men -- mostly old white men -- still try somewhat successfully to exercise control over women's bodies and reproductive rights.
  • Women are far more likely to be victims of sexual harassment or attack in the workforce and on our college campuses.
  • Single parent homes are more likely to be run by a woman.
  • And don't even get me started on what it must be like to be a woman in some other cultures.

It's easier to be a man. And I've never wanted to trade places.

On Ben Carson, Muslim ShariaLaw and Christian Biblical Law

I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.
— Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson (9/20/15)

I get it. He's worried that a Muslim would place their religious beliefs and loyalties above the US Constitution. That's the same reason I worry about having a Christian in charge of this nation. Later, when asked to clarify, Dr. Carson said that he guessed it would be okay as long as the Muslim candidate renounced Sharia law. I had thought Carson was stupid, but he's on to something. It would be okay as long as the Christian renounced Biblical law.

Please please please intelligent moderate and conservative Republicans: Start throwing your voices, support, and money behind your other candidates who are less about hate, ego, and pandering to extremists and more about rational political debate and philosophy. I may not agree with your politics, but if your more rational candidates don't get more support soon, they are not going to be able to continue their campaigns and you're going to have a Bozo (or Bozette) representing you in the next election. That's a danger we just can't risk.