Friday, August 31, 2012


Occasionally, while I am going about the day to day business of being Josh Tate ideas will just come to me. Imagine me walking the aisles of a Walmart or pumping gas, my mind wandering to and fro, when suddenly the germ of a thought that I find satisfying or helpful comes to me. Most often I do not have pen and paper handy so I just stop in my tracks wherever I am and type these random thought fragments into the notepad function on my phone. Usually they are written in kind of a shorthand fashion, and when I eventually revisit them, sometimes months later, I can't reconstruct the fullness of the moment and context that compelled me to document them in the first place.

I was going back through the notepad function on my phone today and I thought I would type these little doo-dads out before deleting them. At one time I thought they had enough worth that I took the time to record them.

1. Drive thru snow at night like when enterprise used warp drive star trek and stars stream past. "Engage!"

2. Boy's Room- "BUCKS." Girl's Room- "DOES."

3. Being rich almost as bad as being beautiful. Luckily neither. Poor rich and beautiful people!

4. Ruby Falls and Ruby Pools. Emerald fields.

5. Kids will get married someday. Future spouses probably alive right now. Wish could see future spouses and be part of shaping them. Can shape the spouses of my kids' future spouses.

6. Eyes to see and wedding feast.

7. Christians should only go to one gas station, supermarket, hardware store, etc... so to concentrate and maximize personal influence.

8. Ugly for sake of beauty.

9. Ordering your private world.

10. Psalm 104 Taste Life and dependance/ faith psalm 111 also useful.

11. Eight miles past the place where asphalt gave way to dirt. Way, way out.

12. I have potatos but no money. Better learn to bake potatos.

13. Airport is beautiful word. A port for an aircraft. Evocative perfect. Glad that was name that caught on to describe that. It's artful not utilarian.

14. Need love interest for T. Ping like Pam and Jim. First need chronicle Ping's love misadventures. Online dating profile? Dates. Stalker?

15. Giraffes are like Dr. Seuss animal. Spots? Super Long neck? Two little fuzzy horns on top?

16. Need self-cooling beverage container. Just pull cord, shake, unscrew cap and cools automatically. Chemical reaction? Has to be.

17. Don't trust with administrative details. Just vision, ideas and selling pitch.


As she drove past she glimpsed the light in the windows of the house,
As well as the people within, and the cars outside parked merrily
Wherever they could find a place to nose in out of the traveled way-
Between trees, halfway up a berm, and tires off on the grass.
It would have been food and drink to her to turn in and be welcomed,
But she drove on. Why did she do that? She didn't understand it herself.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Two nights ago I dreamed of crows circling high above a snow-covered field. Each one had a red berry in its beak, and as I watched, they let the berries drop haphazardly, littering the field below like drops of blood on a white sheet.

Friday, August 24, 2012


This year I will be watching the big game alone and in silence. That's because my very own Washington, Redskins, Led by Robert Griffin III,  will be representing the NFC against the AFC's New York, Jets. That's my prediction. Which teams do you think will make it to the big dance?

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Check out my other blog, (see sidebar) or click HERE, to get updates on the daily minutae of Joshua Bowden Tate's life. If you have been stalking me this is your lucky day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


1. There's something about eating apples that makes me feel postively simian. When I tear off chunks of apple and mash them between my molars it makes me feel like an ape. Strangely I don't feel this way when I eat bananas or any other fruit. Just apples.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SUMMERTIME- DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince


It had been snowing off and on all afternoon, heavy at times, but as the sun went down it had tapered off to a flurry.

Except for a dark oval directly over the engine block a dusting of snow covered the hood of Robby Robtoy's pickup truck. The truck had been parked for fifteen minutes alongside of the Gas-N-Go on rt. 7 in St. Albans, but presently, it rumbled to life. The headlights came on. Its windshield wipers worked feverishly for a few seconds clearing a thin film of snow from the windshield. Then the truck pulled out of the parking lot and drove south toward the city. The man who had been working behind the counter came to the door and watched the truck pull away with a brooding expression on his face.

Robtoy turned off the radio and drove in silence as the truck made its way unhurriedly down the street.

After a while he turned left off of rt. 7 onto Brainerd Street. The street was steep and greasy with new snow. The tires spun at first, but then found traction and continued on without difficulty. About halfway up Brainerd the driver killed the headlights and turned left onto a small side street. Unlike the grand old victorian homes on Brainerd this street was lined with newer homes, small, one-story, pre-fab residences. The truck sputtered to a stop across the street from a nondescript house belonging to Candace Rushlow. Halloween decorations, from months before and possibly even from last year, still adorned the front of the house and yard.

Despite the relatively early hour, 9:00 pm, the lights were off in the house. "She probably has work in the morning," Robby mused to himself. Candace worked the early morning shift at the Fonda paper plate factory. In the driveway a red Ford Ranger pickup truck was pulled in tight behind Candace's White Nissan Altima. Snow covered both vehicles and there were no tire tracks coming or going in the virgin snow. They had been there for a while. Robby recognized the truck as belonging to Dillon Longway the owner of "The Spot" bar at the corner of Kingman and Federal Street.

After taking in the scene for a few minutes Robby's truck rumbled back to life and pulled away from the curb. As the truck turned left at the next intersection, back toward rt. 7, the truck's headlights came back on. From her bedroom window Candace watched the truck drive away. She had a look of concern, maybe even fear, on her face.

Dillon Longway watched her from the bed, "What's wrong, babe?"

Friday, August 17, 2012


A little over two years ago, I posted about the surprising diversity of tents I encountered while camping at Hurkey Creek campground. Among the hundreds of tents that I found at that location, no two of them were the same. I marveled at the diversity of design and I enjoyed imagining the person whose job it is to reimagine and improve upon tent design.

I can just picture the tent people sitting in an office somewhere, pens between their teeth, chairs tipped back, feet up, coffee cooling on their desks, deep in thought. Sudddenly, one of them, a bookish looking twenty-something male with skinny jeans and a beard says, "What about an i-pod dock built right in to the tent?"

"Wired into the mesh pocket?" probes a crunchy looking female intern from the Univeristy of Minnesota at St Paul.

"Yeah," responds the aforementioned male, "with speakers overhead near the top of the dome."

An older gentleman, in slacks and a collared shirt writes the idea down on a dry erase board under a sign reading "REIMAGINING TENTS."

Not to be outdone, a second female, in her mid-thirties, sporting a Navy blue fleece and with black hair pulled back into a pony tail, sets down her nalgene bottle and says, "What about a clear tent?"

"No privacy!" guffaws the fellow with the i-pod dock idea.

"There are no wrong suggestions when we're brainstorming," reminds the older gentleman as he moves toward the white board to write down "clear tent."

"You know... so you could sleep under the stars even if it's raining," continued the thirty-something female.

"If it's raining then you can't see stars anyway," says the twenty-something male who seems oblivious to how abrasive and obnoxious he is coming off.

"I like the idea but it sounds hot, like a greenhouse," adds the aforementioned intern.

"Okay, remember the rules. Please don't criticize each other's ideas while we're brainstorming. It interrupts the flow," reminds the older gentleman patiently.

"I got it!" shouts a rather fat, twenty-something female with curly red hair and glasses. "Let's go old school! Let's create a tipi for the twenty-first century."

The older gentleman smiles and writes "Tipi" on the white board.

The assembled think tank nods their appreciation for a good idea, and the redhead begins drawing her idea in a sketch book which she keeps handy for that purpose.

*** *** *** *** ***

Earlier this week Sarah and I took what remains of our summer staff camping up at Marion Mountain, and while there I encountered a beautiful tent at a neighboring campsite. It evoked the classic tipi design with a spacious interior and married perfectly the wisdom of the ancients and modern materials. The tent's owners were kindly enough to allow me access so I could photograph it.

Our next tent will be a tipi. You can find an advertisment for this tent at Sportsman's Guide by following this link HERE.
...and here are some photos from our camping trip.

Our next tent will be a tipi.


BFZ devotees already know that one of my hobbies is to come up with ideas for television commercials, but if you're new to these here parts (Howdy! and Welcome! by the way.) you may check out former examples of my marketing efforts HERE and HERE.

Today, I am bringing a pitch concept to the Milk Council. I think we'll all agree that although the "GOT MILK?" craze had its day the nation is tiring of this ad concept, and it is time to move in a fresh direction.

I propose that the Milk people piggy-back on the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials. The ad would be entitled "The Most Boring Man in the World."

First, the narrator, following exactly the format of the Dos Equis commercials, would offer up some amusing examples of how boring this man is;
"He once talked himself to sleep,"
"He keeps his socks and underwear in separate drawers."
"In his free time he likes to read and take walks."
"He collects teddy bears."*

"He is the most boring man in the world."

(Then the camera would pan to a rather ordinary looking fellow behind his desk at work. In front of him is a tall glass of cold milk.)

"I don't always drink things other than water, but when I do I drink milk."

* Of course, if you hired professional writers they could come up with some funnier material. I just submitted these to give the general idea.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Sometimes when I post on my blog I feel this irrational sense of relief. It's almost like I'm thinking, "There! That'll keep 'em off my back for a while!," and that even though nobody is clamoring for me to post more. Much to my shame I have to confess that I live in kind of a Josh-centric world. I don't like that about myself, but it's true.

*Actually, my belly extends further than the tip of my nose, but that is less poetic sounding, and also not something I like to draw attention to.


I know!!! It's racist, RIGHT? One day, when Bobberball and dishwasher loading are finally admitted as olympic sports, the athletes of the BFZ will get their comeuppance. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I have been living in the midst of a pine forest for a little more than 8 years now, and during that time I have made my peace with sap. The pines here continually ooze sap. Sometimes it actually falls from the pines like a super fine mist settling on windshields and...really...juts about everything. I have sat in it, rubbed up against it, gotten it in my hair, clothes, beard and all over my hands so that they were as black as if I had been wrestling with Uncle Remus's Tar Baby.

The squirrels, however, somehow miraculously never seem to have any problem with sap. They are always fluffy. I live in the midst of pines, but they actually live in the pines. They scamper along their branches, up and down, round and round all day long. They make their nests out of green pine needles. They actually sleep in sap-covered needles. They mostly seem to eat the nuts out of the green pine cones. Those things are basically glazed in thick, gooey sap. I don't get it. You would think that squirrel fur would constantly be matted down and spotty with sap, but their tails are always fluffy and their fur always seems clear of sap. If some scientist could uncover the squirrel's secret for remaining sap free I think it could reveal some very marketable information. Fortunes could be made!

If only the squirrels could talk.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Several days ago I was watching a panel discussion on television which was attempting to tackle some of the most controversial issues facing our society today. As is typical of televised panel discussions, both sides quickly degenerated into an attempt to shout down opposing viewpoints. If you squinted your eyes you could almost imagine them as enraged chimps hurling feces, beating the ground and shaking branches. It was about as comfortable to watch as an eyeball extraction. Only a macabre fascination with their red-faced huffery and puffery kept me from changing the channel. In the wake of the furor surrounding Chick Fil-A's support of a traditional definition of marriage the discussion predictably turned toward gay marriage. One of the panelists, a young lady whose credentials were printed on the bottom of the screen as a DNC strategist, made the observation that the arc of history is marching unstoppably toward the legalization of gay marriage and the normalization of homosexual relationships. She confidently presented it as an inevitability, and predicted a coming day when popular attitudes would adjust to reflect greater acceptance of homosexual relationships and gay marriage. She drew some tiresome comparisons between the current debate and the civil rights movement of the 60's, and concluded that although homosexuals still had hills to climb things were generally trending in the direction of increased acceptance. Clearly, in her view, opponents of the movement were on the wrong side of history and would one day change their minds or die, leaving a more enlightened generation at the nation's helm. At the risk of coming off as a fatalist, I actually agreed with her that this is most likely the trajectory of things, but I can only imagine we hold differing emotions about such an outcome.

That is not the point of this post, however.

The thought I've been chewing on for the past couple of days is this, and I'm a little surprised that I've never thought of it before; Liberals fully expect our society to someday evolve beyond  conservatism. They believe that conservative thought will one day cease to play a significant role in shaping our society. Conservatives, on the other hand, hold no such expectation for a post-liberal America. In short, conservatives don't think liberals are going anywhere. The implications are enormous for the dialogue(a polite sort of word which does not accurately capture the spirit of the discourse I've witnessed on televised panel discussions) between the two camps. 
The dynamic, which largely goes unspoken, is that liberal thought is ascendant, unstoppable as the tide, and conservatism is back on its heels in a permanent posture of defense. Conservatives may still win a few significant national elections, possibly even the upcoming presidential election, but that would not negate the general thrust of my position. The only chance that conservatism has of surviving is to be redefined to such an extent that it is merely a more conservative form of liberalism.

Liberals have no reason to be tolerant of conservatives or respectful of their perspective. After all, in their minds conservatives are already irrelevant- an ideological speed bump.

Although it would be fair to describe me as "conservative" with regards to my political preferences, my primary identity is that of a Christian. As such, I believe in a larger metanarrative, which transcends the waxings and wanings of the American socio-political scene, and which finds its eventual culmination in the judgment at the end of time. The church was made for such a time as this. God has brought His people and the country in which they live to this intersection so that who He is can be put on full display through the church.

I am supremely confident in the ultimate victory of Christ. "Every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Phil. 2:11)

During these days of huffery and puffery, panel discussions and rancorous debate I am finding it increasingly helpful to untether from my identity as a conservative American and settle more firmly into my role as an ambassador for Christ.

Speak the truth with love.

Be eager to do what is good.

Let your words toward outsiders be seasoned with salt.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I think the hombre from the Tapatio bottles has eyes for the girl from the Juanita's Menudo cans. Look at his face, he's smitten, and who can blame him, she is "hot and spicy" after all.


Formerly, I maintained a separate blog for the purpose of documenting Tom Ping's adventures. You may visit that blog by clicking HERE. However, I have recently decided that it would make more sense to simplify things and bring Tom Ping under the banner of the BFZ. I have actually provided him with a home on the swankier side of town and given him a job as Secretary of State for the BFZ. You may call him Secretary Ping from now on. It's a big deal being named Secretary of State because, according to the BFZ's constitution, if I were to die Tom Ping would be fourth in line for the big seat right after Alexander Haig and Steve Maxon.

God Save the King!!!

Here is Secretary Ping posing with an up and coming actor named Robert Lasardo. If you are unfamiliar with Lasardo's work you may check out his demo reel (courtesy of Youtube) by clicking HERE. Mr. Lasardo looks a little intimidating, but he's actually very approachable. A real class act.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I do not hate gays. That is a fact.

I do, however, agree with Chick Fil-A's statements in support of the traditional view of marriage.

I am tired of being told that because I disagree with someone that I hate them. Facts not in evidence. Not only is it factually incorrect, it is more than that, it is bullying- a practice which the LGBT crowd claims to deplore.

Ah well! If we Christians are gonna hang our shingle in the market place of ideas we'll have to grow a thicker skin I guess. We can't waste our time wringing our hands and complaining about unfair treatment.

We must do our best to speak the truth with love. This is what it means to be salt and light.

Rick Warren says it better than I do.

"Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."

- Rick Warren

Friday, August 3, 2012


Check out this article about a Vermont man who decided to destroy the fleet of Sheriff's cruisers in Orleans County, VT with a farm tractor a month after being arrested for possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. Seems like a measured and well-reasoned response, right? Oh Mr. Pion, will you ever learn?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

William and Phyllis Munn

Our current van, which we bought used, was formerly owned, according to the dealership's records, by William and Phyllis Munn. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Munn, but I feel a certian connection with them from our shared experience with our Chrysler Town & Country mini-van. Sometimes I wish the van could talk, or reveal secret recordings like the Whitehouse's Watergate tapes. I would like to hear the account of their comings and goings. Occasionally as I'm driving I wonder what they looked like and if they argued in the car. If so, what did they argue about? Were there road trips? Did they pick up hitchhikers? Did they laugh? Did we ever pass them on the freeway unaware that we were passing our future vehicle? I wonder about them.

So I was excited when Sarah and I recently booted up the onboard GPS system and found a single address saved in its memory. 14302 Hatteras Street in Van Nuys, CA. A cursory internet search found that this two bed, single bath home, originally built in 1947, is currently listed for sale. Is this a clue about the Munns? Hmmm...

I hate not knowing the full story. Who are William and Phyllis Munn? What was their interest in the 14302 Hatteras Street address?  It kills me not knowing. If I was independently wealthy I would retain a private investigator to fill in all of life's blanks for me. I wouldn't wonder anymore. I would just call my man, and charge him with scratching my knowledge itch, but, then again, if I was independently wealthy I never would have bought a used van.


Do you know how many gallons of water flow over the lip of Niagara Falls every second?

750,000 gallons a second.


That's 1.5 million gallons every two seconds.

"one-ticklenaked, two-ticklenaked"

That's 45 million gallons a minute.
Two billion seven-hundred million gallons an hour.
Sixty-four billion eight-hundred million gallons a day.

Even so, there are believed to be 346,049,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water in the world's oceans. That means that if you drained the oceans it would take more than 14,630,855 years for Niagara Falls to fill them back up again. Wow! That's an enormous amount of water. I just blew my mind.

Every time I visit the falls I come away feeling all tingly from the sheer volume and power of the water. You can honestly feel it in the air. If I were the sort of person to form a bucket list, which I am not particularly, I would certainly include a night sleeping next to the falls on my short list of things to do before cashing in my chips. The thought of sleeping next to the falls has always held enormous appeal to me. However, as amazing as the falls are, I am even more amazed by the thought that there is enough water upstream to continually replenish this unceasing outflowing of water.


I wanted to bring you an update on my shoes. I know that some of you only continue to check in here at the BFZ to get periodic reports on the status of my footwear line up. Let me begin with a piece of sad news- this last winter I brought down a firestorm of controversy when I added a pair of shoes to the team from Camp Maranatha's Lost and Found. That was a tough decision, but in retrospect it was the right call. They served nobly during a season when the state of my footwear was at an all time low, and I did not have the necessary funding to obtain new shoes. Well, I am sad to report that I disposed of the Lost & Found shoes earlier today to make room for some new additions. The BFZ thanks them for their service, and for not giving me athlete's foot.

On a brighter note, thanks to mi amiga Sheri Christiansen I was recently gifted with two new pairs of shoes. She is also my primary suspect, by the way in, the case of the mysterious sandals which arrived under suspicious circumstances in the mail over a year ago. You long time readers will recall what I am talking about. As the story goes, these shoes were originally purchased for Sheri's husband, but for some reason they were weighed, weighed and found wanting. So it was left for me to receive the scraps from Mr. Christiansen's table, which I did with joy of course. They are beautiful shoes.

The first pair have instantly leap-frogged the other shoes in my possession to assume the coveted role of Captain of my footwear. They are Sperry Top-Siders, which I understand are kind of a high-end shoe. I recently gave them the start for a day trip to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, which is a long, on-your-feet kind of day. Not only are they comfortable and stylish (I have actually received a number of compliments on them) but they just make me feel like a Kennedy or something-  like I am planning to go out in my yacht, and then return to Hyannis Port later on for a dinner party.
The second pair of shoes are a nice pair of Rockports, which brings some classy depth to my dress shoes. Aside from trying them on I have not yet had occasion to wear them, but they are being held in reserve alongside the Ol' Wing Tips for a worthy occasion that calls for a splashy debut.
I will keep you posted on my shoes' affairs as new developments warrant.


Today's OVERHEARD comes to us from an anonymous BFZ reader in the San Francisco Bay area who overheard a boy (approximately 7 years of age) state the following at a dog park.

"My Dad's my personal trash can! I actually put trash in his pocket."

Thanks for the postcard, anonymous. I know I speak for my fellow BFZ citizens when I say that this represents one fine piece of eavesdropping. OVERHEARDS are like butterflies which flutter away and are soon forgotten unless we catch them and pin them down for display on the internet. Each one is beautifully unique and worthy of our attention and admiration.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

After spending the day at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum we turned the ol' family truckster toward home, but we hadn't gone far before running smack into that famous LA traffic, which had reduced the 10 into a long serpentine parking lot- decidedly more stop than go. So we got off at the next exit, doubled back, and decided to spend the remainder of the afternoon at the beach, reasoning that if we had to be stuck somewhere the beach was decidedly better than the 10. Nothing feels more freeing than to clip along above the speed limit on a westbound freeway when everyone in the world is slowly rolling east. I could feel their hatred as I zipped past.

I stood on the beach in slacks and a collared shirt staring out over the vast Pacific. The kids played in the surf and dug in the sand. My toes wiggled in the warm sand. A short Mexican man dragged a cart filled with ice cream treats along the narrow strip of wet sand where his cart's wheels turned more easily. Occasionally he would work a bell mounted to the cart's handle to announce his presence. We made eye contact, and I pointed to his cart and said "Dollar fifty?"

He shook his head and said "Two."

"Nah, dollar-fifty."

"Okay, dollar-fifty."

So while I waited for the traffic to thin out I ate an ice cream bar next to the ocean and thought of those poor suckers slowly creeping east.