Monday, January 31, 2011


 After downing a mug of Earl Grey Tea, sweetened by one spoonful of white, refined sugar, I set out on my nocturnal adventure.
 My new companion on these excursions into the night is my techno-hoodie, which I received as a Christmas gift from my Mother-In-Law for Christmas. The draw strings have earphones on the end and my MP3 player, which I also received as a Christmas gift two Christmases ago from my Brother Job, plugs into the pocket. No dangling chords. I think it's brilliant. (Heart and Soul by T'Pau)
 The Idyllwild Water District is still looking festive. I admire their tenacity, and I like to think that this is not the product of procrastination but rather a desire to hold onto that special Christmas vibe like they're the last in a chorus of Idyllwild establishments to hang onto the note of a song after the others have fallen silent.

I can just imagine thewater district employees dialoguing about the Christmas paintings in their window;

"Hey, when are we gonna scrape off these window paintings anyway? It's almost February."

"I'll clean the window when the tanning place takes down their lights,  and NOT A DAY SOONER!"

Tenacious, like bull. I like. (It Had To Be You, Tony Bennett)

 While walking in front of Idyllwild Realty I caught the faint hint of marijuana on the wind. The smell is strangely nostalgic for me. It is a holdover from my days in law enforcement. I used to love to go out on foot patrol downtown on Friday nights in St Albans. The criminal element in that town were habituated to the police working strictly out of their cars, and early on in my brief career as a police officer I recognized this and committed a portion of every shift to walking the downtown like the flat-foots of old. I made a lot of excellent arrests that way, and quickly gained a reputation for being "that-one-cop-who-gets-out-and-walks-around." There is no greater rush then walking up on a group of unsuspecting kids toking up and watch their stoner hearts flop down into their stomach as they take in the uniform and badge. "Whatcha got there?" *GULP* The smell of marijuana still excites me. I think it must be something akin to when an old hound picks up the scent of a bear. My senses are heightened and I am filled with an almost ungovernable desire to ferret out the offender. (I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart)
 The signs near the entrance to the parking lot downtown caught my attention. I noticed some graffiti, which had failed to catch my eyes on earlier walks.
 Simple and to the point.
 I love Jeezus. (When Will I See You Again by 3 degrees)
 I found a couple of shopping carts abandoned on the far side of the parking lot from their home at Fairway Market, and being a law and order sort of guy I collected them and set them rattling along home.
 Me and my noisy collection of carts stopped briefly at the Post Office to get my mail and send a letter off to a friend, which heretofore had been securely contained within the left pocket of my techno-hoodie. You will notice that the pay phones have been removed. Another casualty of technology's relentless advance. Onward and upward! I fully expect that one day I will tell my grandkids tales of the old days- telephone poles, post offices, and stuff. They won't care. (Semi-Charmed Kinda Life, by Third Eye Blind)

 I was dissapointed at the lack of anything personal or interesting in my mail box. I can't remember the last time I recieved an out-of-the-blue, handwritten letter from somebody. Surprise me readers. PO BOX 618, Idyllwild, CA 92549.

 I always have to check and make sure that the letter really did fall down off the little tray. It's a tad neurotic, but I can't just walk away and trust that it all went to plan. I have to check!
 Returning the carts. (Birdhouse In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants)
 I found yet another abandoned cup. It was full of some sort of intoxicant. I reasoned that it may have originated from Bone Daddy'z, which is the nearest bar.

 Smelled bitter. (Modern Romance by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

 I left the cup outside Bone Daddy'z wishing it a long career. "May only the lips of the prettiest girls ever caress your rim." Based on my limited observations of Bone Daddy'z clientelle the cup was doomed to be slobbered upon by middle aged men with crusty looking mustaches, and dough-faced twenty-somethings, but I didn't tell the cup that. Sorry cup. I wanted to, but I couldn't take you home. I'm a law and order kind of guy.

On the walk home a fine mist settled over Idyllwild. It was lovely walking weather. Idyllwild sits in a little fold on the side of the mountain, which opens to the west, a little pocket of a valley. I wondered if all the mist in the valley could be collected into one container how much water it would amount to. A swimming pool? A sink? Could it all fit into that cup I had returned to Bone Daddy'z? Huh? Then I thought how cool it would be to have a little book containing all kinds of facts about Idyllwild boiled down and synthesized. How much is the accumulated wealth of the town's pupulation? What is our combined weight? What percentage of Idyllwild's residents had sex today? (This question inspired me to deface a nearby stop sign with my ball point pen. "SEX," I wrote. Not really! I'm a law and order guy. Remember?) I enjoyed thinking of all the different things I would calculate and put in my book about Idyllwild, boiled down and sugared off. The amount of all the spare change in town? How many gallons of Coke vs. Pepsi? How many Bibles? etc... (The Whole of the Moon by The Waterboys.)
 As I have mentioned in previous posts, I like to read the sides of the U-haul trucks on my way in and out on my walks, and decide which destination I would most like to visit. This night presented me with a tough choice. I instantly eliminated Ontario. Blech! But the choice between Louisiana and Rhode Island proved surprisingly difficult.
 I have always felt a certain heart-connection to Rhode Island as it is the birthplace of my dear Mother. I have been to Rhode Island, but really I have just kind of passed through. In fact, of the six New England states Rhode Island is the one I have experienced the least. part of me would like to be more familiar with Rhode Island, but ultimately I decided on Louisiana because I have never been there. Who knows how many days they have to walk the earth? I better experience as much as I can, and I have already seen plenty of the northeast. Plus it's winter and choosing the more southerly locale seemed a highly defendible choice to me. (skipped a bunch of songs and wrapped up my walk listening to Two Princes by The Spin Doctors).

Good night.


It has been roughly five years since I last posted my essay, Earth's Short Future (orignially authored in 1999). Back then, in the heady days of 2006, I was hopeful that the act of combining my persuasive  argument with the reach of the internet would spawn a revolution. It has not, but before I give up on the dream altogether I thought I would give it one more try. So I will be posting it in installments. Every Monday I will take on my critics and address the various arguments which have been raised against my proposal. This monday, today rather, I will post the opening salvo- the first few paragraphs of the essay wherein I lay out my plan to dwarf future generations (thus the "short" in Earth's Short Future. It's clever, right?) in a bid to postpone concerns of an overpopulation crisis.

by Josh Tate

It is believed that from the day that Noah stepped off the ark, until the birth of Christ, the earth’s population had risen to 300 million. In the eighteen centuries directly following the time of Christ the population continued to gradually rise until 1804, when the world’s population, for the first time, topped one billion. Since that time improvements in medical technology, coupled with a higher standard of living and more sanitary lifestyles, have brought about a great surge in population growth. By 1927 the world’s population had grown to two billion, and today the world’s population has exceeded six billion. It took a mere twelve years to make the jump from five to six billion, and today 78 million people are added to the world’s population annually. That is like adding a new France, Sweden and Greece every year, or a Philadelphia every week. Of all the people that have ever walked the face of the earth, one-tenth of them are alive today. The lusty inhabitants of our fair planet show no sign of letting up either. Some scientists optimistically estimate that the world’s population will stabilize just shy of ten billion sometime around the year 2080. Still others pessimistically hint that even with decreased fertility rates it may be too late by then. So what are we to do?

It is the purpose of this essay to propose a possible solution to what many perceive as an imminent overpopulation crisis. I will outline a clear and precise plan of action, which, if followed, will postpone any worries of overpopulation for generations to come. I propose nothing less than that we dwarf an entire generation and continue to dwarf successive generations through manipulation of the human growth hormone.

Dwarfing mankind to half its present size would have many benefits. In effect, by cutting the size of the average homo-sapiens in half, we would make the world twice as large. According to the Little People of America (LPA) the average amount of food consumed by proportionate dwarfs is far less than that consumed by average sized individuals. This means that food consumption would be reduced dramatically. Likewise, everything from clothing to soda cans would also be reduced in size. All items reduced in size would require fewer materials to be used in their construction and thus, would be more efficient. Cars are a prime example of this truth. Not only would smaller cars require fewer materials in their construction, but they would also be more fuel-efficient. Two-lane highways could expand to four, and traffic congestion would be virtually eliminated. It is surprising how many problems concerning the scarcity of resources are directly linked to the size of man and the instruments we use.

Despite the many benefits of dwarfing, of which I have only named a few, there are no shortage of critics for this plan of action. However, for the most part, their criticisms are either trivial in comparison to the crisis at hand, or faulty in their reasoning. I will now address some of the criticisms which have been put forth regarding the effects and implementation of planned dwarfism.

to be continued...

Sunday, January 30, 2011


This thing I am trying to articulate, to shape through words into meaningful expression, I am concerned it may come off to some of you as the stuff of a chemical imbalance. I have long suspected that not everything in my mind is screwed down as tight as it should be, but this experience has been too constant, too sustained, and far too positive. If this is the stuff of imbalance, a simple departure from normal brain function, than I never want to return again. But I don't think that's what I'm experiencing. In fact, I only draw the comparison to describe how dramatic the departure has been. Am I a deluded mad man? No, but I do hear a voice, perhaps not audibly, but all the same the message is being received. God has been talking to me. Recently I have wanted to fill, overflow, and wander off into the woods where I can give full, uninhibited voice to the ideas in my head and the feelings they stir in my heart. For about the past month I have entered into every day and every interaction like I am rounding the corner for the first time. There's a day coming.

I’ve walked away
On many nights,
Quiet as a cloud,
Across the field,
And into the woods,
Beneath the moon
With shoes still wet
From the water’s edge,
And with words rising in my throat
Like the contents of a shaken bottle,
Ready to burst from my frame
If they could find no other escape
Than the feeble door of my lips.

In the liberty of solitude
I have often said things
I would not have said
Where ears could catch them.

Oh, the words I have loosed
And the things I have confessed
In the woods at night
With only God for an audience.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


"Yoga instructor and life coach."
Thirty-something white female in response to the question "What are you up to these days?" (Post Office, Idyllwild, CA)

"Oooooh! We would love to get together with you guys! (pause) Tuesday night? Okay, yeah, sure, that sounds great! (pause) I'll tell him. Can't wait! We'll see you then! (pause followed by laughter) I said I'd tell him!!!"
One side of a phone conversation between a thrity-something white female and an unknown second party. (Fairway Market, Idyllwild, CA)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


February 20th at Idyllwild Bible Church ((9:00 and 10:45 am). The text I have been assigned is Mark 12:35-40.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


They are completed with all of the necessary schedules and forms attached in the proper order, and placed inside an envelope with the proper address and the necessary amount of postage on its face. I will laugh like a rich man tomorrow as I slide it into the mail box.


Jack's future wife, whoever and wherever you are, I want you to know that I have begun training your future husband on how to share a bed.
Jack is the only child of ours who still finds his way into our bed on a nightly basis. That kid is all elbows and knees. Usually I am just too tired to take him back so I let him settle in next to me. It's a bad idea, I know, but laziness/sleepiness dulls my good judgment and at two in the morning I'm inclined to compromise with the little tyrant. If I do show some backbone and take him back he will most likely cry and throw a fit, which could wake up the baby, and I definitely don't have the energy or patience for that, but if I allow him to continue climbing into our bed I will also end up losing sleep. I hope Jack's future wife appreciates this.

Monday, January 24, 2011


It amazes me that on just about any given commercial break, and on any given channel you will encounter one or more of these insurance spokesmen. I find the different approaches to sell insurance very interesting. Right at the outset, and in the interests of full-disclosure, I have to disclose that we go with FLO. Our 2002 Astro Van is insured by Progressive and I don't have any complaints. I kind of like Flo, and progressive is about the same as every other insurance company I have ever dealt with. I send them money. They send me a little card, and I forget all about them until I accidentally rear-end a crappy late-model sedan on the way to jury duty in Riverside. 
This guy is solid, is he not? Every time he tells me that I would be "in good hands with Allstate," I think seriously about changing from progressive. I want to be in good hands!!! He's so sincere and honest about it. He clearly cares about me and my family. I suspect that he may be employing some Jedi mind tricks during these commercials. If he told me, in that honest, straightforward way of his, that these are not the droids I was looking for. I am confident that I would simply parrot back to my fellow strom troopers, "These are not the droids we are looking for."

Alright, the votes aren't totally in on this guy yet. He's got kind of a Kenneth from 30 Rock thing going, but I think the blue phone is genius. I like the commerical where he explains about the vanishing deductible to the girl on the park bench with the huge boulder hanging above her head, and also the one where he impetuously renames the company "NationPam."  The very fact that I remember these commercials would indicate that he is effective as a spokesperson. Yeah, I guess the votes are in. I like him. I'm not sure what the deal is with the phone though, but, as I said it, I like it. Plus, his enthusiasm is infectious. I'm definitely a fan of the Nationwide guy. "NationJosh is on your s...sosh?"
Why doesn't this guy have his own TV show? He's hilarious. Hands down the best insurance commercials on TV right now. I can't get enough of this guy. If the funniest commercial ended up insuring the most drivers we would all be insured by Allstate right now.
Remember the cave man? I have to confess I'm glad that's over. Geico has a way of overstaying its welcome. For example, the gecco.
America needs a break, Geico. We need a break. Not since that awful, grating duck from AFLAC has an insurance company so tried a nation's patience. It's time to retire the gecco.

Alright, let me unload about this guy. he's on TV constantly and I don't like him. He's creepy. Just creepy. He seems like the sort who would hit on your girlfriend right in front of you. Maybe even you wife! He is the worst of the insurance spokesmen. Worse even than the Geico gecco. With this guy as the face of the company, State Farm seems less like a good neighbor and more like a beady-eyed fella on the sex offender registry. He seems a little fake too, doesn't he? Like he's putting on airs, and his faux, coffee-house-chic demeanor comes off to me as kind of pretentious and a little too slick. Be real with me like that Jedi from the Allstate commercials. I don't care if State Farm insures more drivers than Geico and Progressive combined. I am not picking up what they are laying down. I'll stick with Flo. State Farm loses this duel in my opinion.