Fecal Pushers

In July of 2013 I published this post. Given all that has happened in the U.S. and the world since then, especially the last 3-5 years politically, I thought this would be so very apropos to repost today. 😁 I hope you enjoy it (again?) as much as I did; good for a chuckle or two.

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After many years of practice, there are certain types who have mastered the art of shit-pushing and some who have not.  A quick menagerie of the art…


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One of my favorite caught-in-the-act corrections:  I wasn’t kissing your wife Sir.  I was whispering in her mouth!  Then find the nearest exit.

Two industries that most everyone would agree shovel out “pretty” bullshit on a regular basis have to be financial investment companies and sales personnel.  Hello Ma’am, you will be amazed by this latest iPhone…a must have!  Just $299 or $39 for 48 months for FAST 4G speeds and a ba-jillion apps you’ll probably never use!  Or Sir, you are going to be blown away by our new-fangled Hedge-that-Risk-Away fund with a simple monthly direct-debit from your checking account, plus initiation fees, handling, commission, and risk-management fees!

Sound familiar?

I could never be an aggressive sales rep and survive unless I was selling donated organs to terminally ill patients and their families.  But there are some who can make the stinkiest bullshit smell like a rose garden.  And then there are those whose art is necessary, beneficial yet tragic.

The Clean-up Crew

Imagine living in a community that has no trash pickup and disposal, running indoor water/plumbing, no dishwashers, and no washing machines.  Would you cleanup after yourself, in every manner?  Would you cleanup after others, in every way?

Clean-up crew hard at work
Clean-up crew hard at work

Next time you are served a meal you cringe over, think twice about it because there are insects that would have a feast on your waste.  Actually, they do feast…and not just after humans.  Wherever there is fecal waste, there are most likely dung beetles.  They are life’s natural cleanup crew and they are remarkably resourceful.  They are tumblers, they are spelunkers, and they are dwellers.  They make the most of human or animal waste.

Dung beetles are a critical part of nature’s biocycle.  By eating and burying feces, dung beetles recycle vital nutrients into the soil and bury waste that otherwise attracts disease-carrying pests such as flies.  They also help new trees grow.  For example, in the rain forest, monkeys eat fruit where seeds are sometimes undigested.  When the dung beetle arrives at the aftermath, it packs up the feces into a ball, seeds and all, rolls it away and buries it.  Soon after up sprouts a new tree!  On a given night, one dung beetle can roll and bury up to 250 times its own weight in shit!  Imagine that workout.

But these hardworking necessary beetles don’t have it easy.

Shit-pushing Is No Walk in the Park

Every morning as part of my workout, I briskly walk 2-miles; one mile down, one mile up.  The hilltop I live on has about a 23-degree steep grade up or down for about 70-80 yards.  As I’m heading down the hill one morning, I notice in the middle of the drive a dung beetle perilously rolling his dung-ball across the cement.  Every so often he struggled to keep his dung-ball from turning down the steep hill.  Watching this beetle toil for his hard-earned shit, I couldn’t help but sympathize with his adversity.  I watched in amazement and suspense.  What would come of this beetle’s precarious effort?  Would he succeed and beat the odds?  Or would I be witness to horrific shit and beetle carnage?  The cliff-hanger moment was building with every revolution of his dung-ball.

The hill of dung carnage; blood & beetle parts edited out to protect the weak-stomachs.
The hill of dung carnage; blood & beetle parts blacked out to protect the weak-stomachs.

He crossed the midway point of the drive still pumping those hind-legs over his neatly packed shit.  Five more feet to go.  Can he do it?  Four feet.  I find myself cheering him on.  Three and a half.  Then he and his shit-ball hit a bump.  Should I intervene like the hand-of-God, showing mercy and compassion for the shit this beetle has put up with?  NO FRICKING WAY!  And then as my questions of shit-miracle-ing lingered, everything went south….literally.  I began laughing my ass off.  Everything was out of control.  The “wheels came off” but the rolling kept going, and going, and going!  If Herbert Morrison of the Hindenburg disaster had been there he would have screamed Oh the Bee-manity!

Sorry.  I should be more compassionate.  I should pay homage to this epic dung-beetle’s demise.  Let us bow our heads.

He was a brave shit artist.  The bravest I had ever seen.  He hung on to his shit-ball for five, maybe six revolutions down that hill-of-no-return!  Finally, the cruel speed and momentum….perhaps a killer, dizzying headache too, separated this warrior from his meal.  He tumbled two or three times behind that ball before coming to a most abrupt end.  In his never-say-die attitude, he scrambled to gain his senses, and immediately went searching for his runaway shit-ball.  But it was too late.  I watched that ball roll down the hill…way down the hill about 50 yards – two state lines in beetle distance I think – before bouncing off the drive into the ditch and disappearing in the grass.  It was gone.  Done.  This dung-expert had lost his shit.

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As utterly hilarious as I found this dung-beetle carnage to be, I had to find the teaching moment:  what is the moral of this story?

No matter how good or pretty smelling it is…don’t push your shit up hill.  You might lose it and it will come rolling back on you.

What moral of the story can you apply?  Let me hear them all, again.

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Footnote – on a cool etymology note, it has been recently discovered that these dung-beetles navigate their dung-balls by the stars in the Milky Way galaxy; their GPS if you will.  Click here.

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A Bright Future for Our USMNT

For my handful of fellow footballing/soccer enthusiasts on WordPress like Ark (South Africa & England) of A Tale Unfolds, John Z (Australia & Brazil) of The Superstitious Naked Ape, Brian (England) of Butterflies to Dragsters, Hariod (England) at Contentedness who has unfortunately been absent for some time now, Swarn (Canadian) of Cloak Unfurled also absent from here quite awhile, and any others who are passionate about the world’s Most Beautiful Game, I wanted to post a precursor of U.S. Men’s footballing hopes leading up to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Africa, this November. Also, to start a bit of chatter and fun banter back-n-forth of our various national teams and favorite players.

USA vs N. Ireland – March 2021 – L to R back row: Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Matt Miazga, Aaron Long, Theoson Siebatcheu, Zack Steffan; front row L to R: Yunus Musah, Kellyn Acosta, Sergiño Dest, Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna

If the U.S.A. starting lineup can remain healthy between now and Nov. 20th when the Cup begins and during their individual club seasons, the Yanks can show very well. Plus, the U.S. is in a decent Group B and should advance to the next round either as the runner-up team of the Group or possibly the winner, if… and this is a huge ask, IF we can beat Iran and Wales, and perhaps draw with England to move on to the Round of 16.

But I must reiterate, if our first-team starters can stay injury-free between now and Dec. 3rd or 4th, then we have a decent-to-good chance of doing well in the Round of 16 and possibly advancing to the Quarter-finals! The Quarters are the farthest the USMNT has ever advanced in recent modern times. The last time we went that far was with our historically best national team roster ever: the FIFA WC 2002 in Japan/S. Korea. We lost to Germany by a score of 0 — 1, but competed pretty well.

Why do we American fans have much to be excited about? Because we have at least seven (7) great starters by any world-footballing measurements. From exceptional-to-very-good, in my professional opinion, best to last, here are our top 7, Tier One U.S. players:

  1. Christian Pulisic (23y/o) – Forward, Chelsea FC
  2. Weston McKennie (23y/o) – Midfielder, Juventus
  3. Giovanni Reyna (19y/o) – Forward, Borussia Dortmund
  4. Zack Steffen (27y/o) – Goalkeeper, Man. City
  5. Sergiño Dest (21y/o) – Defender, FC Barcelona
  6. Tim Weah (22y/o) – Forward, Lille
  7. Tyler Adams (23y/o) – Midfielder, Leeds United

One of our brightest upcoming stars on the world stage of football is by far and away Gio Reyna. Giovanni has recently endured an injury-prone last 12-14 months with a nagging hamstring. But once he is fully healthy and back to full-strength, watch out! Enjoy these highlights of our 19-y/o phenom:

For us to have a good chance of advancing out of the Group stage and out of the Round of 16, these seven players must remain healthy and playing their A-game. Without our big three—Pulisic, Reyna, and McKennie—we stand no chance of going deep into the tournament. If they fall, we could be or will be coming home early. World Cup fans, keep your eyes on these U.S. players. Because if they perform at their very best and link-up, then the U.S. will be a threat for any national team in the tournament.

Moving on to our good potential Tier Two squad players to watch, they are as follows:

  1. Paul Arriola (27y/o) – Forward, FC Dallas
  2. Matt Turner (28y/o) – Goalkeeper, Arsenal
  3. Christian Roldan (27y/o) – Midfielder, Seattle Sounders
  4. Brenden Aaronson (21y/o) – Forward, Leeds United
  5. Walker Zimmerman (29y/o) – Defender, Nashville SC
  6. Jesus Ferreira (21y/o) – Forward, FC Dallas
  7. Antonee Robinson (25y/o) – Defender, Fulham FC
  8. Luca de la Torre (24y/o) – Midfielder, Celta de Vigo
  9. Yunus Musah (19y/o) – Midfielder, Valencia
  10. Kellyn Acosta (27y/o) – Midfielder, L.A. FC

And finally our Tier Three squad players:

  1. DeAndre Yedlin (29y/o) – Defender, Inter Miami
  2. Reggie Cannon (24y/o) – Defender, Boavista
  3. Ricardo Pepi (19y/o) – Forward, FC Augsburg
  4. Sean Johnson (33y/o) – Goalkeeper, NYC FC
  5. Ethan Horvath (27y/o) – Goalkeeper, Luton Town FC
  6. John Brooks (29y/o) – Defender, Hertha BSC
  7. Cameron Carter-Vickers (24y/o) – Defender, Celtic
  8. Haji Wright (24y/o) – Forward, Antalyaspor
  9. Djordje Mihailovic (23y/o) – Midfielder, CF Montréal
  10. Aaron Long (29y/o) – Defender, NY Red Bulls
  11. George Bello (20y/o) – Defender, Arminia Bielefeld
  12. Chris Richards (22y/o) – Defender, Crystal Palace FC
  13. Malik Tillman (20y/o) – Midfielder, Rangers/Bayern Munich

As you may have noticed, as of this date the USMNT is noticeably weakest in defense, particularly center defense with the exception of Zimmerman. Walker is reliably consistent, but he is not prolific with his pace or ball-technique. He is fairly strong in the air. And Sergiño Dest (Left Back) is our best attacking wing-fullback followed by Antonee Robinson (Right Back). However, Antonee is known to be inconsistent with his attacking decisions and he sometimes is too direct and shows reckless abandon with the ball in those moments. This recklessness gets him into yellow-card trouble.

USMNT – Champions of 2021 CONCACAF Nations League, 3 – 2 over Mexico

Our older veterans in the squad, such as Steffen, Yedlin and Brooks, do offer good European footballing intelligence in very competitive European leagues, however, with perhaps the exception of Steffen, none of them are of Tier One quality to impact games significantly.

Despite our rather shallow bench of little elite European experience, I am personally super thrilled about our likely USMNT potential in Qatar this World Cup, as well as our future eight years. So Ark, John Z, Brian, and any other chatty footballing fanatics, what do your Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti minds think? Tell me about your national teams and favorite players. What are your expectations for the sporting world’s biggest spectacle on Earth since 1930? Any predictions on who will be in the Final?

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Play Football!

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A New Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to Lord Trump
of the United Republicans of America,
and to the MAGA for which He leads,
one horde, under Trump, indivisible or death,
in captivity or banishment,
and mob-justice for all.”

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Now the previous Pledge of Allegiance, changed in 1954 by Republican President Eisenhower to include under God, is the pledge most of us Americans are familiar with today and memorized all through our elementary and middle school grades. Many may not know, however, that the Pledge of Allegiance went through another change in 1923 from the original pledge written by socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931).

After watching sworn testimony today by loyal, Conservative, life-long(?) Republicans who finally remembered late, late in tRump’s four-year term—too late really—their sworn oaths they vowed to uphold which includes the Constitution and its Laws, its legal, checked-and-rechecked and hence accurate elections representing our democracy in action, the eerie thought crossed my mind that the 68-year old Pledge of Allegiance might already be changed by and within the deluded tRump allies and supporters!

Admittedly, I have no proof of this claim as many loyal tRump-lawyers are testifying to the same in the seven (or more) January 6 Select Committee Hearings. Furthermore, with this blog-post I hope you found the humor in my political satire. 😁

Or in the bigger picture is it political satire? 🥺

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Clockwork Closing

About three weeks ago in Clockwork, I asked my blog Followers and any visitors to select one of four statements that best represents yourself, life around you, and within our Universe. Those four choices again were:

  1. I am a cog in a Clock.
  2. I am a Clock among Clocks.
  3. I am my clock Winder & Minder.
  4. I am the Time Guardian.

I also asked that you explain why you chose the statement, and then explain why not the other three statements as your choice. There were several good answers and elaborations, a few were comical and lighthearted, and others very intriguing and that I would not have expected.

It is probably wise for me to say “there isn’t a correct or wrong selection.” That might disappoint one or two of you, and others not at all. Think of it this way: Do we witness any of the four statements and their implied meanings in other humans we know? I know I do, regularly. In fact, I’m bewildered to the point of chuckling when I hear or read (essentially) #4 by someone!

I don’t care how wealthy or famous—or evil, or megalomaniacal(?)—or intelligent they might be or they think they are, but “no man is an island, entire of itself” as John Donne famously coined. And furthermore, we did not enter this life from the womb completely independent of anyone or anything, did we? And at some point late in our life—hopefully a very fulfilling, whole life at that—we will return to an existence of dependence. Perhaps complete dependence on family and/or friends. In this, none of us has a choice; embrace it we must! Therefore, I personally think #3 is quite audacious to claim and not entirely true, at least not at birth nor in our final weeks alive. And with that said, I personally might even say #2 is pretty bold to assert, but not as much as #3 or near as omnipotent and omniscient as #4.

As I mentioned in one or two of my replies to comments, this came about when a dear friend of mine told me, pompous and quite full of herself, that “You create your own happy successful world, life, and experiences.” We had known each other intimately for over five years. During that time both of our lives were effected in large ways by not only each other, but also by several others in our spheres including immediate and extended family members. Some of those events and family were effects on us in massive ways which changed the course of life/lives, personally and in extended external ways! However, none of these events I allude to include severe weather phenomena that wreaked havoc on us, some of it permanent, nor do they include how COVID-19 effected our lives, obviously. None of us can choose our biological parents or the zip code(s) they’re born into; maybe all throughout their life. Many humans, through various forces, are propelled into painful, unbearable situations in life, impossible to avoid.

These many varying life conditions I mention still must abide in every way by Laws of biology, physics and Quantum Mechanics within our entire Universe, which certainly effect this “tiny Pale blue-dot of a planet,” to borrow Carl Sagan’s iconic prose, that we much tinier beings must coexist with, but not as commander or Time Lord, and maybe only as a clock Winder & Minder, temporarily as it will be.

From COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey

Hence, for me personally, I’m not completely comfortable asserting number two. I have some reservations with it. If I’m perfectly honest, today March 2, 2022, I am much more comfortable simply with #1, and I am very fine with that. In Somewhere I Have Never Travelled,Gladly Beyond, the fourth stanza, E.E. Cummings speaks of a lady or lover, but what about life, our individual lives (clocks, cogs?) as the Lady or ourselves?

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing.
-- e.e. cummings

For those of you who participated previously in Clockwork, any final thoughts? Any final questions? I won’t promise I have the answers, but I promise to wonder, contemplate, and be a travel companion with you. 😊

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Listen Close – Learn Always

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Clockwork

I am curious and would be grateful for you indulging my curiosity.

Choose one of the four statements below that best represents yourself, life, and the Universe. In your comment at the bottom explain why you chose it, and then please explain why not the other three statements as your choice.

  1. I am a cog in a Clock.
  2. I am a Clock among Clocks.
  3. I am my clock Winder & Minder.
  4. I am the Time Guardian.
Brain activity on an EEG monitor before physiological & muscular action.

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Listen Close – Learn Always

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