Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I have been quietly stalking Tom Visel's beard for the better part of a year now. Like a wildlife photographer I would lay out in the bush speaking in a hoarse whisper as lesser facial hair would file past, but Tom Visel is a wily and camera-shy specimen. Everytime I had my camera at the ready he was nowhere to be found, but then I would happen upon him sans camera in town or at the post office. It was like he was toying with me. That Tom Visel is such a tease! Today, my efforts were finally rewarded with rare photographic evidence of this fine hoary specimen- Beardus Idyllwildus. Gotcha!

MY NEXT SPEAKING OPPORTUNITY- AUGUST 12th at IBC (Services at 9:00 and 10:45 in the morning)

It will be our LIFE group Sunday to kick off sign ups for our LIFE group home Bible studies in the fall, and as the dude charged with oversight of those ministries I will be bringing the heat with an appropriately themed message.

Monday, July 23, 2012

We sat under a maple tree at the end of the season catching leaves as they fell- yellow maple leaves with brown spots on them like they were beginning to rust.

She was a summer resident at one of the lakeside cabins and I was the local boy. With my boat I had gone from cabin to cabin selling bait and taking grocery lists- I charged fifty cents for a container of crawlers, a dollar for minnows, and ten percent of the bill to fetch groceries.

She was bored and I was in love. We both had our reasons for seeking each other out.

She talked about finding an arrowhead near the shore, and how it made the hair stand up on the back of her neck to think that the last person to touch it had been a real indian maybe hundreds of years ago.

I told her how my Grandmother was surprisingly strong when she grabbed me. Old people strength I called it.  And I told her how the owner of the little store down the lake let me take rotten produce out back and smash it with a golf club sometimes.

She laughed.

Then I said that I would miss her.

She laughed.

Bless Yore Beautiful Hide - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

This song is from the movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," which famously champions the use of Stockholm syndrome to win over a potential mate. The movie's underlying themes can be best described as "playfully mysoginstic" and  are a real hit with today's modern woman. If you've never seen "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers " you simply must track it down at the earliest opportunity.


I am a great fan of television, and I am open about that. People these days hide their televesion consumption like it was something to be ashamed of. Well, I am having none of it. I love TV, especially reality TV, and if I were in charge these are two reality shows that would be on.

So for your consideration, I'll put these out on the stoop and see if the cat licks 'em up. I'll run 'em up the pole and see if the wind takes 'em. Let me know what you think.

Reality Show Idea #1- "Election Year"

This show would launch to coincide with the next  major election year in 2016 with the final episode airing on the night of the election. A slate of candidates, selected by the casting department to display a broad spectrum of political philosophy, personality, racial background and such, would descend on a small rural town, perhaps somewhere in the Midwest, and would run for the town's highest office- Mayor. (It has to be Mayor! If the highest office is something other than mayor then by golly we'll change it because when you're the guy in charge of TV you can do anything you want! It has to be Mayor.) The good townspeople of Podunk, USA would agree to cooperate with the show and elect their next mayor from the candidates we selected in return for building them a new school or something. That would be the touchy-feely good part of the show. Occasionally we would bring them updates on progress at the school, and it would end up being one of the top facilities in their crappy little state.

The funny thing would be watching the various candidates trying to yuck it up with the locals and familiarize themselves with the peculiar personalities and political issues in that town. Of course, some of the candidates would inevitably be chosen by casting because of the interest it would generate to see them juxtaposed with the rather backward populace of Podunk, USA. I'll leave that to your imagination and the casting department. It's an unsavory side of the biz, but we would have to have some odd-couple candidates to make the show interesting and humorous.

Ultimately, the candidate who connects best with the townspeople and who most clearly articulates an understanding of local issues will most likely win. On election night, as the entire nation is riveted on the national presidential election, we would hold a special episode to recap the season and declare the winner. Of course, the next day most of the news would be about the presidential election, but all the major news outlets would have a brief segment on how the show brought in more viewers than the election night coverage and how that illustrates the increasingly fuzzy line between politics and showmanship and our society's further decline. Inevitably, comparisons would be drawn between the candidates and the contestants on the show. (Of course, casting intended that all along.) The winner of the race would win a cash sum as well as the paying gig of Mayor of Podunk.

Reality Show Idea #2- "THE CROSSING"

I envision "THE CROSSING" as kind of a marriage between National Geographic's Locked Up Abroad and Bear Grylls' Man vs. Wild. In the show contestants would attempt some of the world's most difficult and dangerous border crossings in exchange for huge cash pay offs. Of course, the show's producers would have greased the wheels and arranged the friendly cooperation of the  Government on the other side of the border to ensure that nothing life altering such as a lengthy jail sentence, would befall the contestants.

"Okay gentlemen, we're beginning this episode in northwestern India near the infamous Kashmir region. The first contestant to deliver this package of flour wrapped in duct tape to this address in Karachi, Pakistan wins!"

Oh, I would so be there!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Dear SNL Writers-

I have an idea for a Saturday Night Live Sketch. I know you probably get a lot of these kind of letters, and I realize they must be kind of annoying, but still I felt compelled to write you with my idea. Thank you for your patience. You know those artists you find on boardwalks and county fairs who do portraits of people? I think it would be funny if you had a sketch in which a retired police composite sketch artist decide to make some extra money doing quick portraits of people. Of course every portrait, no matter how innocent the subject, would come out looking like a dead-eyed loner who is responsible for heinous acts against society.

After several hilarious encounters with the sketch artist turned sidewalk portrait entrepreneur the skit would come to an end when a man, who looks like evil personified and bears a striking resemblance to a nearby composite sketch of an unidentified serial killer, sits for a portrait but the reulting portrait makes him look like Wally Cleaver. After he pays and takes his portrait a second man is pressured to sit for a portrait by his giddy girlfriend. The resulting portrait (which in no way resembles the man) is eerily similar to that of the unidentified serial killer, and the surrounding crowd beats the man and hands him over to police. The police are not sure they have the right man, but once they are shown his portrait they stuff him and cuff him. Of course, the comic gold is the dialogue which you would have to supply, but I think it is a good overall framework for a successfull skit.

Respectfully Submitted,

Josh Tate

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


And I would take them,
Steal away with them,
And hide them
Beneath the floor boards
Or in a safe deposit box
Or maybe in the walls
Where I could enjoy
The knowledge of them
In hidden luxury
Or perhaps,
Finding them worthless,
I would ditch them
In the weeds
Along the road
And walk away

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"Just give me two hours with that s---head. I'd f--- him up!"
Young white male in his mid-twenties, wearing knee-length denim shorts, Dr. Pepper T-shirt, and a white, trucker-style baseball cap with a single word, "POWER," emblazoned across the front in black lettering. He was speaking into his cellular phone device as he walked in front of Idyllwild's Chevron Station. I observed him walk past Mountain Top Liquor before crossing the street and turning into Village Market, speaking into his phone all the while. I found it kind of amusing that he felt he would need two hours to "f--- up"the unknown third party he was referring to. "He needs to go back to bravado school," I thought to myself. I imagined his Mother questioning his ability to change a tire and him shooting back, "You just give me a week alone with that car and I'll show you!" Then I wondered to myself if he would physically possess enhough stamina to "f--- up" someone for the full two hours. That sounds like it would require stamina on par with Super Man. I think I would tap out after a couple of minutes. In fact, I was told at the police academy that if you don't win a fight in the first two minutes then you probably lost.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


For the most part the police officers in the city where I worked were great students of the people of that place. And like all students greatness came through studying. Patrolling the city for hours a day, week in and week out, over the course of years, and in every season had given them a profound inner sense of the place. This was all at once touching in its familiarity and awesome in its precision. It was almost like if you had gathered the entire department around some new technology that allowed their collective observations to be be joined into one whole they would have represented something close to omniscience as far the affairs of the city were concerned.

I remember one day at shift change someone cracked a joke about a woman who we had often observed walking around the city. As a result of some unknown medical condition she walked as though she had a pebble in her shoe. We all called her "Pebblefoot." Despite the fact that none of us had ever talked with her personally, we all had some piece of intelligence on her, and this despite the fact that she had never been mentioned in our database as victim, offender, complainant, witness, person of interest, or otherwise. She did not even have a motor-vehicle record. One officer knew her given name, another knew where she lived, I volunteered where she worked. How I knew where she worked I couldn't recall. Someone else somehow knew that her brother was a mechanic in the next town, which was mildly ironic because Pebblefoot possessed neither car nor driver's license to take advantage of his services, and another offered that her dog had recently died. From there the conversation moved to various personal experiences with pets dying, and then on to the necessity of killing animals in the line of duty. As the conversation followed its rabbit trails I sat pondering our collective awareness of this obscure woman- "Pebblefoot."


"If we wait until everything is in apple-pie order before inviting others over, we’d probably never practice hospitality. We wanted to dash right away any expectation that our home would be picture perfect. We’d rather model something else—hospitality amid the clutter of living—perhaps giving people freedom to use their own homes as places of ministry."

Mike Halcomb

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I hate parades, and yes, Mom, I know that hate is a strong word. I'll even compound my sin by doubling down and writing it all in caps- HATE, HATE, HATE!!! I really don't understand their appeal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012