Blue Spider's Coffee House

Truth, Love, Beauty and all things Virtuous



Red Clover, Goldenrod and Prairie Mimosa

Man, George could never catch a break. The morning of October 28th, 1855 started out like any other day. George Elisha King, a young 27-year-old father, who had already seen a lot of heartache in his short life, was enjoying a peaceful autumn morning surveying his new homestead along the White River, south of present-day Seattle.

In a short span of time, the star-crossed George had been married twice, divorced once, buried two children and three younger siblings while trekking the Oregon-California Trail to Utah twice. His final trek had begun in Iowa mid-May 1854. George, Mary Susan Kinsley King and their little family arrived in Utah sometime in 1855. But soon after, the restless George bid farewell to his parents and headed off for Fort Hall in hopes of settling down in the northwestern coastal region of Washington Territory. George and Mary arrived in July and quickly purchased land. It appeared things were calming down in George’s life.

George came in from the brisk morning air with an armful of wood, as Mary prepared corn bread and cracked some boiled eggs. George, Mary, five-year old George Alma, and their baby Mary Susan sat down to their breakfast with little George praying over the food. No sooner had they begun to eat when they heard shots fired and a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ outside of their little cabin. Surrounded by White River Native Americans (most likely belonging to the Duwamish tribe), the Kings were trapped. What happened next is unclear, but it didn’t end well for the King family. Mrs. King’s body was found cut open with one breast cut off, and Mr. King was found burned to death. Their two children were kidnapped during the raid.

The youngest child, Mary Susan, was never found, but George Alma King was brought to Fort Steilacoom the following Spring. Reportedly, he had been well cared for by an older Indian named “Spoon Bill” — a nickname he never cared much for. Under the guardianship of family, George Alma returned to life on the east coast, but lived a short life, dying single at the young age of 25 on January 1, 1875 in the New Haven area of Connecticut.

Hell on Earth

 “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven, yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell on earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be cured against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reach the age of reason or those who never will: to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” —C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock.

 Three Gates

If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, “Is it true?”
Then, “Is it needful?” In your mind
Give truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, “Is it kind?”
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result of speech may be.
—Arabian Saying

Magnus the Good

vikingsAnd there I was. Ready to enjoy the first day of March Madness in the comfort of my sanctuary, my castle, surrounded by the finest cans of Dr. Pepper, a box of Black Pepper Triscuits, and a variety of the best cheeses that Safeway has to offer. Nothing and nobody was going to interrupt my day, not even Mother, who has a penchant for calling right in the middle of major sports events, especially the Super Bowl. God bless her though, she’s only doing what Mothers do best. Apart from watching Doc Martin and all the going-ons in Port Isaac, Cornwall, I don’t think she’s aware of too many big TV or sports events, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Supposedly though, I am the kooky one when it comes to liking the Doc Martin TV series. A lot of people do like the show and it has quite the following; however, for me I don’t get the silliness and the exaggerated characters. But hey, what do I know. The last time I checked it wasn’t much.

Now back to my post-modern self-indulgence and my post-modern addiction to Dr. Pepper. It would be my kryptonite if I were ever Superman, which of course I am not and won’t be any time soon. So, therefore, I declare the addiction to salubrious.

Even though I consider myself religious, I can’t help but notice that there is quite of bit of post-modernism thinking and behavior that slips into my life. The good news is I have eyes to see it when it’s happening and can take action to reverse the tide. But at this moment, I am expecting for little from myself. And because I am living in the moment of my prevailing passions I am feeling very authentic. Curse the truth! Curse reality! It’s all about desire and this makes me, on this particularly innocent day, both foolish and dangerous, a demon of disorder and destruction, which is another reason I figure it’s best to “shelter in place”.


By all that is good, I start to feel like I should be doing something around the house to make myself a useful and equal partner. So to be a contributor, I get up during commercial breaks and put the dishes in the dishwasher, put away some of my stuff in the living room, and to demonstrate my humanity throw a feeble handful of kibbles in the dogs’ dishes. And then when my wife-a living, breathing earth angel-sits down after doing our laundry and cooking our dinner, I announce all the things I did to help our around the house just in case she didn’t notice. That’s the last thing I need is to have her to harsh my mellow by going all ape on me for not doing my part around the house. Sheesh! Who needs that headache?

But the chores alone don’t soothe my conscience, my uneasy mind realizes I could be doing more and I know it. Why am I being bothered by this primordial backward guilt at this most inconvenient time? I couldn’t tell you but it vexes me for sure. But, all of the sudden I am realizing I could be doing more enduring things and strengthening worldwide brotherhood by going out and enjoying friends, or visiting family, or even better providing some type of service to my fellowman. I should be out visiting a senior home or Adult Care Center hanging out with some elderly man, named Bud, Red or Whitey, who doesn’t get many visits anymore. Talking for hours about his youth and about how he grew up on the farm, and how he spent a summer on a traveling team riding in one of those old uncomfortable and hot Greyhound buses. And all of that would be good, I think, as long as I have control of the TV remote and we watch March Madness while he is talking and I am listening facing the TV- with the volume down, of course. Alas! Take away this post-modernist creep from me.

A Fool with Tools Is Still A Fool: Science and Human Dignity


“…science and technology are not ends in themselves. They’re enormously valuable tools. But they’re tools that can undermine human dignity—and even destroy what it means to be “human”—just as easily as they can serve human progress. Everything depends on who uses them, and how. Fools with tools are still fools; and the more powerful the tools, the more dangerous the fools. Or to put it another way, neither science nor technology requires a moral conscience to produce results.”-Charles J. Chaput, The Devil and Politics

Notes on Honesty and Integrity

“It is not easy to be honest…but an [individual] has to live with their conscience. An individual has to live with principles. An individual has to live with convictions…Unless they do so, they will be miserable…What was once controlled by moral and ethical standards of the people, we now seek to handle by public law. And so the statutes multiply, enforcement agencies consume ever-increasing billions, prison facilities are constantly expanded, but the torrent of dishonesty pours on and grows in volume…

The appraisal spoken long ago by an English Poet is true yet today: ‘An honest man’s the noblest work of God’ (Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle III, line 248). Where there is honesty, other virtues follow…No nation can either become or remain great if there is an absence of integrity in its citizens…How much more happiness there would be in the homes of the people if there we total confidence and trust…

Be strong…with the strength of honesty. How easy it is to ‘lie a little, take advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor ‘(2 Nephi 28:8)…Simple honesty is so remarkable a quality…”

Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, pp. 265-269

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