Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stevie Joe and American Idol

I just read that over 32 million folks watched each episode of the first week of American Idol. Another 15.8 million watched Two and a Half Men. Let Stevie Joe suggest that if you are one of these viewers that you consult your doctor about the latest in surgical sterilization techniques. If the human race is to survive on this planet, it is imperative that we eradicate whatever gene causes this type of behavior.

Looking Out for Our Future,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Quakers

The Big Blue Wagon is fixed, and I finally made it back home! I was drove a good portion of the night and missed the 24. Mrs. Stevie Joe taped it. So, don't tell me what happened. All I can say is that I hope there is more Chloe.

On Sunday, Len took me to church with him. He is a Quaker. So, I got my first visit to a Quaker meeting. I didn't know what to expect. My knowledge of Quakers was limited to a bit of reading about George Fox and William Penn. As far as I knew, they all still looked like the fellow on the oatmeal box.

It turns out that today's Quakers drive cars, not carriages, and generally accept modern technologies and conveniences. However, they still value simplicity as the damn cold meetinghouse with no running water demonstrated.

Anyway, my favorite part was the Quaker service or what they call the "meeting for worship." We all sat down in the pews, which face each other - not an altar, and sat in complete silence for about an hour. Boy, was that nice. No preaching. Just silence. A couple of times someone stood up and said something about remembering a sick loved one or praying for peace, but otherwise it was quiet and peaceful. Now, if I can just get Pastor Luke to tone it down a notch or two at the services back here in Junebug Holler.

Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, January 29, 2007

Stevie Joe and Len Take on Foreign Policy

Len and I have been talking foreign policy. It seems to us that the current administration's attitude towards countries with which it disagrees could use some fixing up. While discussing this, we came up with a little analogy.

I own a shotgun. Now, suppose that Junior comes over to my house and says that he wants to buy a shotgun, too. Considering Junior's poor decision-making abilities (to put it mildly), this causes me some alarm. I don't think it's such a good idea that Junior have a shotgun (at least while he's living in the same town). So, how should I go about resolving this issue?

Suppose I stick my shotgun in Junior's face and tell him that he's not getting any damn weapon. He says, "Hey, let's talk about this." I tell him that I won't talk to him because that would be rewarding his bad behavior. However, I tell him that we can talk after he makes a promise to forget about buying that shotgun. Plus, he has to let his romantic adversary, Jimmy, make regular inspections of his house for guns and/or pictures of Juanita.

So, given this course of action, do you think Junior is inviting me over for his next barbeque? Len didn't think so either.

Keep Struggling for World Peace,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and the Cartoon Hippie Ice Cream Man

While we're waiting for the Big Blue Wagon to get fixed, Len and I have been talking about all sorts of stuff. He's a pretty bright guy (even if he isn't quite as smart as me). He showed me an interesting little cartoon on the internet. It's all about how the feds spend our dough. Narrated by the Cartoon Hippie Ice Cream Man. I'm no hippie, but I like his ice cream. Check it out here.

Getting hungry,
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Stevie Joe Stranded on the Tundra

As Mrs. Stevie Joe so thoughtfully posted, I had to leave Junebug Holler to go see my Aunt Fanny. Unfortunately, on the way there, the Big Blue Wagon threw a fan belt. I was able to keep running on the battery for a bit, but she gave it up in the middle of nowhere. I decided to try to hike it to the next town to get a tow. I brought along the old lawn chair I had in the back of the car in case I needed to stop and rest a bit. It was a good thing, too.

It was damned cold, about 6 degrees I read later, and the wind was really whipping it up. I stopped a few times and sat in the chair just to turn my back to the wind. A few cars went by, and I tried to hitch a ride. They all kept right on going until a big shiny new pick-up pulled alongside.

The fella driving that pick-up is my new best bud, Len. He's a farmer in the area and willing to help out a soul in need. He took me to town to arrange a tow, and then invited me to stay at his place for the night. How's that for hospitality? I'm using his computer now to catch up on the blog.

Here are some pictures I got before my camera froze up:
This is one of me hitching that Len took for me. He had already stopped, of course, but he thought it was a pretty funny sight. So, I posed for him.
This one gives a sense of the cold and desolation I faced. I'm cold again just looking at it.
Here's another cold and desolation shot. The grain bin off in the distance is Len's farm.
Here's a picture of Len's farm, and it's a big one. Unfortunately, it's the last shot I got before the camera froze up.

By the way, I never did make it to see Aunt Fanny. She's already been released from the hospital. She's 72, but a tough old cookie. I think she's in better shape than me. She fell down doing pilates if you can believe that.

The local garage should get the Big Blue Wagon going tomorrow. I'll head home then.

Keep warm,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stevie Joe Is Out of Town

This is Bunny, aka "Mrs. Stevie Joe." Stevie Joe had to go up north to see his aunt Fanny in the hospital. She's fine, but she fell in the parlor again and bruised her hip. Stevie Joe is all worried so he went up to check in on her. He asked me to post a note so folks won't wonder where he went off to. He should be back soon.

p.s. I don't call him an "idiot" all the time. Just when he deserves it. He's not as smart as he thinks he is, though.

Have a good weekend,
Bunny Parker

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Inner Stevie Joe Saves Junior from a Beating

Last night, I was sound asleep. I mean I was dog-tired. Yet, I awoke to the sound of a man singing:

I'm Popeye the sailor man
I live in a garbage can

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

I pulled back the drapes to see Junior outside my window taking a leak on the forsythia bush. I remembered that I had just picked up a new CB antenna down at the Flying J, and it was in the kitchen. It was about eight feet long and nearly a half-inch thick. It would be just about perfect for beating some sense into that fool.

It was then that I had a little debate with the Inner Stevie Joe. Different folks have different names for this inner voice. It's sometimes called the God within, conscience, prudence, the Force, unwritten law, superego, Ditka, etc. Or, maybe it's a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other. In any case, deep down inside, most folks know right from wrong. It's just that the little devil keeps telling them how they can get away with doing wrong.

Junior had me pretty pissed. The idea of knocking him around sounded so satisfying. The little devil told me that he would never remember it and would figure that Jimmy socked him one for wandering into Juanita's yard again. Yet, the Inner Stevie Joe told me that it would be wrong, even if it felt good.

I figure that this is the definition of character: doing what is right even when you don't have to. If your action is driven by your sense of right and wrong rather than fear of some punishment for doing wrong, this is character. So, since I'm nothing but full of character, I decided to let Junior be. That's what my pal JC would do.

In the morning, I awoke to find Junior passed out right next to that forsythia bush. Being a Christian fellow, I let him sleep. I did, however, apply a little bit of Mrs. Stevie Joe's lipstick and rouge just to give him a little color. He was looking a bit pale.

Uh oh. Here he comes, and he's still wearing the morning's artwork. Gotta go.

Keep the faith,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stevie Joe Boils Down Dubya's Iraq Policy

In case you didn't get a chance to watch the State of the Union Address and been wondering just what our President's latest thinking about Iraq might be, I can boil it down to one sentence:

Give War a Chance.

It's a wonderful slogan, really. I can see it on t-shirts. I'm sure if it looks like this war business is not quite working out, Dubya will be more than happy to take a look at some of them diplomatic and political proposals. I mean, it couldn't hurt, but until then, we'll just keep on trying to kill as many of those buggers as we can.

Now, W says that he talks with God and counts himself as a Christian. However, me and JC are big buddies, and I read his stuff all the time. It just doesn't seem like the Big Man to be promoting war and all. I'll have to go ponder this a bit.

Yours in the Lord,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe Watches the State of the Union Address

Last night, about half of Junebug Holler came over to the Stevie Joe estate to watch the President's State of the Union Address and the Democratic Response. Now, most of these folks were somehow under the impression that they had been invited over to watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship on the pay-per-view. I'm not sure how that happened, but the point was moot. Once the crowd figured out that the dude in the suit behind the podium was not Chuck Liddell, current UFC Light Heavyweight champ, they were well into the beer. It was a bit confusing, I admit, because Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) actually did fight in the UFC (nickname - "The Hippie from Mississippi").

Anyway, the gang had a dilemma. Do they stay and watch the politicians jabber, or do they leave and miss out on the free beer and my patented bologna salad sandwiches? As you might expect, the beer won out. I give them credit for actually paying attention to what was being said on the television. I know it was difficult, but they enjoyed it when they discovered that they could hoot and holler just like when watching football or women's golf.

When it was all over, they were drunk and disillusioned by the political process. This was to be expected seeing as how our President is as dumb as a box of hammers (and the rest of them aren't much better). Even Junior was disgusted. It was then that I saw my opportunity to enlighten the masses. I got up from the davenport and quoted Walt Whitman:

It is the fashion among dilettantes and fops (perhaps I myself am not guiltless) . . . to decry the whole formulation of the active politics of America, as beyond redemption, and so to be carefully kept away from. See you do not fall into this error. America, it may be, is doing very well upon the whole, notwithstanding these antics of the parties and their leaders, these half-brain'd nominees, the many ignorant ballots, and many elected failures and blatherers. It is the dilettantes, and all who shirk their duty, who are not doing well. As for you, I advise you to enter more strongly yet into politics . . . Always inform yourself; always do the best you can; always vote . . .

At this point the fine citizens of Junebug Holler threatened physical violence if I did not shut up, Walt Whitman or no. In the interest of my own well-being, I handed over the clicker so the amassed mob could watch the pay-per-view porn.

A little bit at a time, my friends.

Keep the faith,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stevie Joe Confronted by Junior

Junior came over today and complained about how he is being portrayed on the blog. Now, Junior has no computer nor would he know what to do with one if it fell in his lap. So, one of you has been talking to him.

I can handle Junior because he's a good old boy and we're friends and all. However, I'm on a damn mission here, people. I need to spread the word and don't have time to argue with Junior (which is kind of like explaining quantum physics to a hyperactive monkey). He's usually pretty quiet because he's either got a bottle in his mouth or is looking at some girlie magazine. However, when he gets a bug up his rear, like today, he doesn't hardly ever stop yapping at me.

So, for the sake of the world (and Stevie Joe's sanity), I ask whoever has been talking to Junior to knock it off. Thanks.

Needing a drink,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe Responds to the Skeptic

Late last night, Mrs. Stevie Joe read the blog. This morning, she called me an idiot. I tried to explain that she just didn't understand, but she would not back off of her assessment. For additional evidence of my alleged idiocy, she brought up the time I burnt up the Dodge Coronet.

Now, the "Coronet Incident" was the result of my own dedication to scientific inquiry. I had just seen an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard where the Duke boys convert the General Lee to run on grain alcohol. Seeing the possibility of weaning our country from foreign oil, I decided to attempt a similar conversion on the Dodge Coronet. This was purely in our national interest. Anyway, it didn't work. If you had seen the Dodge Coronet before the fire, you'd see that it was no great loss (although it was my only transportation at the time). Yet, Mrs. Stevie Joe will not let it go.

Mrs. Stevie Joe is no fan of the Scientific Method. Despite years of witnessing the results of her refusal to rinse off the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (yes, there is an automatic dishwasher right here in Junebug Holler), she continues the practice. She argues that A) it's the dishwasher's job to do the rinsing; and B) leaving the food on the plate is good since it gives the soap something to grab on to.

Despite this obvious failure to grasp the basic concepts of reason, Mrs. Stevie Joe feels it necessary to judge my intelligence and declare me an "idiot." I leave it to you to decide for yourself.

Not an idiot,
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, January 22, 2007

Help Spread Stevie Joe's Gospel

Yes, you can help Stevie Joe make the world a better place by telling all your friends about the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life. It's simple. Just copy the text below and paste it to your e-mail signature file. Then, every time you send an e-mail you will be bring the world one step closer to harmony.

Copy and paste this bit:

I'm Learning About Life with Stevie Joe:

Thanks. By the way, Jack Bauer did not, in fact, cut anyone's head off in tonight's episode of 24. However, he does have a severe case of sibling rivalry.

Yours in brotherhood,
Stevie Joe Parker

Searching for the Inner Stevie Joe

OK, let’s jump right in. Get out your ten pound test and biggest sinker because this is going to be deep.

Every culture has pondered the nature of human existence and sought answers to the great questions. Seekers looked both within and at the world around. The examination of the world around gave birth to science. The search within gave birth to spirituality.

Now, you cannot just equate religion with the search within. Religion has often been bastardized from these noble beginnings. Take, for example, my buddy Junior, the nine-fingered wonder. You might say that Junior is spiritual since he regularly prays. He prays to the spirit of Dale Earnhardt hoping that he can fix his car. Junior has two reasons for such prayer. First, he hardly ever has any money to fix up his old beater. Second, the only mechanic in Junebug Holler is the aforementioned Jimmy (who is wont to punch Junior in the nose).

You see, Junior’s spirituality is focused on the external – getting his car fixed. When it comes to Junior’s problems, this is just the teeny tiny tip of the iceberg, but it helps to illustrate the point. Junior has no interest in his life’s purpose or even seeking a happiness beyond whatever he can find in a twelve-pack of whatever is on sale.

Look to the Buddhist monks who forgo all material items in their spiritual search. Look to those who find happiness in the most desperate of living conditions (even worse than your typical NASCAR infield campground). I watched one of those reality shows that they show on the public television now and then. These shows are sort of like the big network shows where they throw a bunch of different folks together to see what happens except that instead of living in a Malibu beach house they live on the open prairie. In the 1880s.

Inevitably, after a couple of days, the folks on these shows are crying, pitching a fit, and trying to figure out how they can get out of it (by this point, they have figured out that there is no million dollar prize waiting for whoever can last the longest – maybe just a coffee mug and tote bag). Then, they settle down a bit and get to work. Of course, if they don’t work, they won’t have anything to eat. So, that provides some motivation. You should see Junior go when he runs out of pork rinds!

After months of backbreaking labor, with no widescreen television, no microwave ovens, no Cheetos, no celebrity gossip, and absolutely no Vicodin, they find that they don’t want to leave! It’s true. They’ve found a happiness that they never expected once they stripped away the clutter of their lives.

So, the question that confronts us is whether Zen Buddhism can help the Cubs win a World Series. No, that’s not it. Oh, I know. The question is whether all the material wealth that we are programmed to acquire is nothing but a distraction from what is really important. Come to think of it, Junior should one happy cowboy because he hardly owns anything! The lucky bastard!

Anyway, I’d like to write some more, but I have to go watch 24 and see if Jack Bauer cuts anybody’s head off.

Spiritually yours,
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Stevie Joe Uses the Socratic Method

I strongly encourage comments from readers of the Stevie Joe Parker’s Guide to Life Blog. This allows me to engage in what smart folks call the “Socratic Method.” This dates back to Plato (no relation to Play-Doh®). Plato wrote a series of famous dialogs featuring his teacher and mentor, Socrates. Socrates would teach his students through discussion. He would ask them a series of questions that would lead them to the answers that they sought. Pretty clever dude, that Socrates.

I recently used the Socratic Method to help my poor old friend Junior. Junior had just returned from the hospital after losing a finger in the snowblower. As you might imagine, he was a bit perturbed.

JUNIOR: Damn snowblower! I oughta sue!

STEVIE JOE: Oh? Do you feel that the snowblower is unnecessarily dangerous?

JUNIOR: Damn right.

STEVIE JOE: Did you put your hand into a spinning impeller?

JUNIOR: No, I did not. A stick was jammed in there, and nothing was moving.

STEVIE JOE: Was the engine running when you removed the stick?


STEVIE JOE: Did removing the stick cause the impeller to begin spinning again?

JUNIOR: Well, yeah.

STEVIE JOE: Were you drunk at the time?

JUNIOR: It's possible.

STEVIE JOE: Were you in your own driveway?


STEVIE JOE: Whose driveway was it?

JUNIOR: Juanita’s.

STEVIE JOE: Did you have any legitimate reason to be snowblowing her driveway?

JUNIOR: Not exactly.

STEVIE JOE: Is she your girlfriend?


STEVIE JOE: Is she anyone’s girlfriend?

JUNIOR: She’s Jimmy’s girlfriend.

STEVIE JOE: And what happened the last time Jimmy caught you messing around Juanita’s place?

JUNIOR: He punched me in the nose.

STEVIE JOE: And what did he do this time?

JUNIOR: He punched me in the nose, but then he drove me to the hospital.

STEVIE JOE: So, in retrospect, do you think that you made the best decisions tonight?

JUNIOR: Well, maybe not.

Another student of Stevie Joe’s sees the light.

Yours truly,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe's Plan for Peace in the Middle East

To demonstrate my abilities, I present my plan for peace in the Middle East. It’s quite simple, really. Everyone who went to college knows that folks who are stoned don’t fight. Drunks fight. Stoners sit around, munch on snacks, and listen to Pink Floyd. Stoners are never in a hurry. If someone threw a pile of cash in the street, a stoner would say, “I’ll get mine later, I’m sure they’ll be some left.”

So, all we need to do is turn the citizens of the Middle East into a bunch of potheads. I propose doing this by dropping large bales of primo government cannabis (you know they have it) from airplanes. Some of them might not catch on right away. So, the first bales should be dropped while already on fire. Loudspeakers under the planes can blare Dark Side of the Moon.

It will only be a matter of time before Palestinians and Israelis join together to share a bag of Cheetos. They will have completely forgotten not only why they were fighting, but also what side they were on. This can also be a boon to the American economy as we supply the new marijuana-based society. Farmers can grow weed. Spencer’s Gifts can ship thousands of black light posters. The Dead will have a new place to tour. Peace and love will flourish.

You’re welcome,
Stevie Joe Parker

Why Stevie Joe?

I’ve been thinking that the world would be a much simpler and nicer place if everyone were just a bit more like me. Alternatively, everyone could just do as I instruct, like a modern day philosopher-king. However, I understand that such a societal change does not occur overnight. The seeds of Stevie Joe’s wisdom must be planted, nurtured, and allowed to grow over time. This blog is an opportunity to plant a few of those seeds and see what happens.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Who is this Stevie Joe Parker fella and why the heck should I pay any attention?” Well, for starters, I’m a damn genius. Everyone I know agrees. Except Mrs. Stevie Joe. You would think that she would recognize this genius, too. After all, she agreed to marry me. While I am stunningly handsome, she did not marry me just for my looks. Stevie Joe would not marry anyone so superficial. I am more than just arm candy.

In any case, for those who doubt the opinion of my acquaintances (with the exception of Mrs. Stevie Joe) I have objective proof of my mental prowess. I scored a perfect 20 out of 20 questions on the Reader’s Digest IQ test. Technically, their scoring guide said that I got one question wrong. You decide. It asked what Aristotle, Shakespeare, Locke, Voltaire, Poe, and Nietzsche all had in common. I answered that they all had an “e” in their names.

I was not always brilliant. I was born poor and stupid in Junebug Holler, a place so small that nobody has ever heard of it before (and we like it that way). Seeking to correct this stupidity, I embarked on a rigorous course of education. I’ve read the Great Books and studied the world’s cultures and religions. I immersed myself in the sciences and followed history’s greatest thinkers. I took employment with a large Multi-National Corporation (MNC) so they would pay for me to travel the world and see how others lived first-hand.

In other words, I’ve done all the hard work for you. Trust me, the process of making oneself a genius is long and tedious. It is not for everyone. Yet, I am willing to share my gift with those who preoccupied with other endeavors.

Your humble servant,
Stevie Joe Parker