Forgiver and Forgivee

I start with the provocative thesis that the act of forgiving is egotistical.

A bit of background is in order. 

Let us first establish the meaning of the words in the title of this essay:

The Forgiver is the one who has something to forgive, and
the Forgivee is the one to whom forgiveness is granted because he is alleged to have done something to Forgiver that should warrant forgiving.

There are two levels to this business of forgiveness. The first is ‘granting pardon‘ to somebody who has done wrong. This “granting of pardon” should only be done if asked for and we are not obligated to forgive if there is no remorse that he as the perpetrator has done wrong. Dwayne, a wrangler turned YouTube celebrity-philosopher argues that point very succinctly.

The second element of forgiving concerns only the Forgiver, the Forgivee does not even have a role. This might be recognized in Jesus’ famous last words “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” At first glance, this seems to contradict the idea, that forgiveness should be only granted if asked for, and those Romans who nailed Jesus to the cross certainly did not ask for forgiveness. 

In my interpretation, how the Forgiver sees himself is essential. Does he see himself as a victim or is he above and beyond being harmed? Jesus was not a victim, God is not a victim, so there is nothing even there to forgive. 

Only if somebody does FEEL like a victim, even for something as mundane as being short-changed at the store, or somebody not waiting their turn in line at Starbucks, could make him BE a victim and demand an apology.

It is always our choice what we are and what effect we allow others to have on us. Looking for an apology is a sure sign that we allowed the perpetrator to turn us into a victim. I must strongly state that I don’t like to be a victim and I do not allow others to turn me into one. I do not disagree with Dwayne that forgiveness should only be granted if asked for, but for your own sake, demand an apology only to help the Forgivee become a more valuable member of society, and not because you “deserve” that  “I’m sorry”.

My conclusion is to recognize that, if I feel that I have to forgive somebody for something, I already went off the rails.

Forgiving in itself, or the realization that no forgiving is due is thus very egotistical, as it makes me more free – and that, in turn, makes it so much easier to “Love Thy Neigbor as Thyself”.

Good Advice – Bad Advice

Some of the following tips and tricks might be useful – but some are kind of criminal…

  • If you want people to stop letting their dog poop on your lawn, don’t put up a “no dogs allowed” sign or a “please pick up your dog’s poop” sign. Put up a “Lawn Recently Treated with Toxic Pesticides”.
  • When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn’t actually go to. Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.
  • My dad would keep an orange vest and an orange flag in his car when we would go to sporting events. After the game, when the lot was full of angry drunk drivers, even getting someone to let you in was a real pain in the … My dad would have me or my brother jump out with the vest and flag and stop traffic, so he could get in the line. Then we would jump back in the car.
  • Need new tires? Rent a car with the same bolt pattern and swap the wheels.
  • In order to be a good liar, you need to convince everyone that you are a bad liar.
  • If you have to bury a body, do it vertically, satellites look for 6 ft long holes and mark them for investigation, also, bury the body under a dead dog, sniffer dogs will mark that spot and when they dig it up and find the dog, they will mark it as a false positive and move on.
  • When meeting someone, tell them you are twice as far away from them as you actually are, and are willing to meet halfway, I.e. a block away from where you currently are.
  • To dominate someone in a conversation stare at their forehead questionably.
  • I used to keep a cup from McDonald’s in my car at all times and whenever I was driving and wanted some soda I would just walk into any MacDonald’s and refill my cup. I did this for weeks.
  • Want to eavesdrop on someone? AirPods have a “Live Listen” feature that turns your iPhone into a microphone. Leave your phone charging in the room you want to snoop in on and listen in remotely.
  • If you’re stuck on an annoying call, put your phone on airplane mode instead of hanging up. The other person will see “call failed” instead of “call ended”.
  • When I was going to college I would walk over to Whole Foods and get some of their most expensive grass-fed bone-in rib eye steaks from the meat counter. The butcher would wrap them up and slap a price tag on them. If I was getting meat for a BBQ this was sometimes upwards of 200 bucks. Then I would walk over to the bulk grains, put the meat on the scale, and hit print for something like oats. I’d cover the existing label on the meat with my much cheaper oats label, and proceed to self-check-out. It would ask you to scan the Barcode, and then place the item in the basket. Got a bunch of meat for the price of oats.
  • Need a new windshield because yours is cracked? Find a gravel-hauling company, scope out their truck routes, get behind one, and then claim gravel fell off their truck and damaged your windshield.
  • If you’re hungry and it’s between 6 am-8 am you can get free continental breakfast from pretty much any hotel you walk into. It helps if it’s busy.
  • When I know I’m going to be late for something, I’ll call ahead and tell whomever I’m meeting that I was just pulled over for speeding. Thus giving myself an excuse for being late, and demonstrating my commitment to whatever it is I’m late for. It usually works pretty well.
  • When career hunting, flagging Craigslist posts as spam after applying, or taking down flyers for a position (like at a college campus). cuts down on the competition.
  • The clearance rack in the store, I hear those markdown labels can roll right off if you master the technique. They remain quite sticky. You can stick them on top of the standard ticket barcode.
  • If your girlfriend has an annoying friend you want her to stop being friends with, just casually mention how pretty she is.
  • I once got a parking ticket and instead of paying it I dipped it in water, crumpled it up, and had my girlfriend bring it to the police station a week later saying she found it on the street. I went online to see if the citation was still there and it was gone.
  • It’s very awkward to say no. If you go to a fast food place for example and you simply lie and say that there was a Big Mac missing from your order during lunch rush and that your receipt got thrown away with your meal, they’ll give you another one.
  • If you want free parking, find a garage that makes you take a ticket to keep track of how long you’ve been there. When you leave, instead of giving the machine the original ticket you took, go get a new one and give that one to the machine. You’ll only be charged for like 5 minutes of parking, which is usually free.
  • Want free parking near your college campus? Find an older person who lives near campus and doesn’t drive & befriend them.
  • If you have a significant unexplained employment gap that is hurting your resume claim that you were providing full-time end-of-life care for a grandparent (or other older relative).
  • Buy clothes at Goodwill and sell them to Plato’s closet.
  • Call up your TV provider, and tell them you want to stop using them. To keep your business they will offer extra channels. When the channels run out, repeat the process. I have had NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV for 3 years straight now for free.
  • When buying something on Craigslist, I use my spam email to lowball the seller by a lot, then I use my regular email to give a reasonable offer that is still a good amount under the asking price. I almost always have my offer accepted.
  • If you’re renting and make a mark on the wall, change the date on your phone, and take a picture to show it was like that when you moved in.
  • When lying, always include something slightly embarrassing, or something that makes you look bad, as part of your story. It’s not only going to disarm their skepticism (admitting to something embarrassing gives an impression of humility), but even if they remain skeptical, they’ll be left wondering why you would make something up that you’d rather keep secret if it were true.
  • Struggling to write a CV or can’t get a particular job? Post fake job offerings on recruitment websites for that position you’re interested in and watch the CVs/resumes pour in, which you can then copy for your own advantage.
  • Don’t call into work “sick”. Call in saying that you have “family problems”. That’s the end of the discussion.
  • You can take as many mini bottles through TSA as will fit in a quart-sized plastic bag. They are like $1.50 at the liquor store, compared to $7 on the plane, or even save them and refill them at home for even cheaper. Ask the flight attendant for the whole can and a cup of ice. Make sure to mix them in your drink when the flight attendant isn’t looking, as this is against FAA regulations. Put the empty minis back into your bag and not the seat pocket.
  • If you’re doing something you shouldn’t, confidence is key. You can just walk out of a store holding what you stole and be fine if you know how to act (and have a basic knowledge of how the store works.) Bonus: trespass with an orange safety jacket, nobody questions the orange safety jacket.
  • If you ever go to a country concert, wear something that implies you are in the military… you won’t pay for a drink the whole night.
  • Looking to buy a car? Search the obituary for the phone number and call. They could be looking to liquidate assets quickly and sell cheaply.
  • Always book your hotel room with the prefix of Doctor. When the morning crew pre-assigns rooms for that day’s arrivals, they are likely to put you in a nicer room to avoid an unhappy pretentious Doctor gossiping about being next to the elevator.
  • The first trick I learned in the FBI: If you’re on a stakeout and you want someone to stop looking at you or think you’re not looking at them – pick your nose. They immediately turn away and think you’re just some jerk picking his nose.
  • Want to steal something in a secure building? Buy a wheelchair and put crap in your lap (the cardboard boxes for paper reems work well and can be gotten for free). Roll up to the door behind someone and they’ll hold the door for you. No need for a key card.
  • Need flowers for your significant other? Cemeteries have you covered.
  • Put clear skateboard grip tape over your license plates. Yes, people will be able to read it easily, but, cameras that flash (speed cameras) will only get a bright blur.
  • You can pretty much go anywhere in a hospital if you’re carrying delivery food and an invoice.
  • Have a large, “professional-looking” camera. Get a bright vest that says “press” on it. Make an ID. Go to town. Almost free access anywhere.
  • At a crowded bar, and can’t get a seat? Go up to the hottest woman there, and hit on her. She’ll leave in disgust, and you can take her seat.
  • If you swear on automated voice systems, it can get you a human to talk to you instead.
  • If your boss asks you to do a shift on your day off, just tell them that you’re drunk. They can’t legally allow you to come to work if you’re intoxicated.

Halleluja by Leonard Cohen – Lucy Thomas

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing “Hallelujah”

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

[Verse 2]
Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

[Verse 3]
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

[Verse 4]
Baby, I’ve been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

[Verse 5]
There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

[Verse 6]
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

[Additional Lyrics]
You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to ya?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

From The Notebook of Lazarus Long

A human being should be able to

  • change a diaper,
  • plan an invasion,
  • butcher a hog,
  • conn a ship,
  • design a building,
  • write a sonnet,
  • balance accounts,
  • build a wall,
  • set a bone,
  • comfort the dying,
  • take orders,
  • give orders,
  • cooperate,
  • act alone,
  • solve equations,
  • analyze a new problem,
  • pitch manure,
  • program a computer,
  • cook a tasty meal,
  • fight efficiently, and
  • die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

About Lazarus Long

First appearance Methuselah’s Children
Last appearance To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Created by Robert A. Heinlein
Birth year 1912
Birth place Earth
Ethnicity Caucasian
Known for Oldest member of the human race
Full name Woodrow Wilson Smith
Alias Ernest Gibbons
Captain Aaron Sheffield
“Happy” Daze
Proscribed Prisoner No. 83M2742
Mr. Justice Lenox
Dr. Lafayette ‘Lafe’ Hubert
Corporal Ted Bronson
His Serenity Seraphim the Younger, Supreme High Priest of the One God in All His Aspects and Arbiter Below and Above.
Gender Male
Title Senior
Occupation actor, musician, beggar, farmer, priest, pilot, politician, con artist, gambler, doctor, lawyer, banker, merchant, soldier, electronics technician, mechanic, restaurateur, investor, bordello manager, and slave.
Family Howard families
Children Lapis Lazuli, Lorelei Lee (XX-parity clones), as well as many others unnamed.
Nationality American


The Llano Estacado – 130 Years Later

Llano Estacado 2023 (or there-abouts)

Growing up in Germany in the 60s, every boy worth his salt would read the stories of Karl May The school library had a full set of his travel stories – somewhere around 70 – and I believe, I read them all. Many of my schoolmates must have also been worth their salt, because books were often out and you had to wait and visit the library often, to get the book you hadn’t read yet.

One story (maybe several – I don’t completely remember) played in the Llano Estacado. It was described as a big, flat, and featureless area in America. Water was hard to come by and it was dangerous to reach the few and far between watering holes.

To assist, stakes had been set along the path to guide the traveler, therefore llano estacado – the staked plane. Sandstorms often made the crossing even more dangerous, but even in a storm the two to three-meter high stakes would guide a trek. (Yes, even more than a century ago, Germans used the metric system.)

The stories were adventure stories, so they needed villains. They enter the Llano Estacados as gangsters that pull out a series of stakes and set them in a direction leading into the void instead of to the next watering hole. The poor traveler following those stakes ended up in the middle of the dry desert and died of thirst – only to be robbed by the gangsters without any danger to them – because they knew where the watering hole was and had plenty of water for themselves.

I do not remember how the story’s hero, Old Shatterhand, dealt with the hoodlums but, knowing Karl May, it was most likely that they were punished by the wrath of god.

Even if I don’t remember the outcome of the story, I do remember the Llano Estacado after so many decades. It made a strong impression on that young teenager, who, at that time, never imagined that he once would cross that Llano himself. Today I helped to plan a trip to Llano, Texas, and I decided that it really is time to research that good old Llano Estacado.

And – as you see in the picture above – the stakes are still there, just a bit taller and now with wires connecting their tops – – I can only imagine preventing hooligans from re-staking them to misguide the traveler. – – Oh, yes, and the paths are paved now!

Only in America

1. Only in America…….
can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

2. Only in America…….
are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

3. Only in America…..
do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store
to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

4. Only in America…….
do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

5. Only in America…….
do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

6. Only in America…….
do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless
junk in the garage.

7. Only in America…….
do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we
won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

8. Only in America…..
do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

9. Only in America……
do we use the word ‘politics’ to describe the process so well:
‘Poli’ in Latin meaning ‘many’ and ‘tics’ meaning ‘bloodsucking creatures’.

10. Only in America……
do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Ever Wonder

  • Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
  • Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouths closed?
  • Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic Wins Lottery”?
  • Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?
  • Why is it that doctors call what they do “practice”?
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
  • Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
  • Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
  • When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?
  • Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
  • Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
  • You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? – Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
  • Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
  • Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
  • If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
  • If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?