A Message from the Next Dalai Lama.


I’ve had this funny feeling lately that reincarnation

Will make me Dalai Lama for the coming generation.

The current Dalai Lama’s getting on in years, you know;

 When he kicks the bucket I believe I’ll get his glow.


No need for monks to go to sacred lakes or dream their dreams;

I’m the boy they’re looking for, without undue extremes.

I’m the 15th guru, and to Zhu Weiqun I’m stating

I’ll wear the yellow hat without your frivolous debating.


My reign will be a peaceful one, with colored sand design.

Prayer wheels will keep rolling inside ev’ry Buddhist shrine.

The Communists can rant and rave about my blessed state;

I’ll simply smile upon them as I start to levitate.   

(Inspired by an article in the New York Times)

Jihadi John


(Inspired by an article by Steven Erlanger)

My mother read to me from Lewis Carrol’s lovely book

The story of a queen who would behead you, like a crook.

That story gave me strength to act, upon which I have drawn

When I moved to Syria – to be Jihadi John.


My face wrapped in a blackened shawl, my snickersnee quite sharp;

I help the infidels into the world of cloud and harp.

The media have speculated why I’m such a brute;

The truth is I am drawn to it by hope of blood and loot.


Religion plays but little part in all my gory deeds.

I just like cutting people down as if they were rank weeds.

Darth Vader is my role model, and Genghis Khan my star;

Before I slice your ears off I will play on my guitar.


St. Paul archdiocese declares bankruptcy in response to abuse lawsuits



(From a story by Brittny Mejia.)

In Rome the prelates scratch their heads and wonder in alarm

What will keep their parish priests away from the poor farm.

For archbishops are filing for clean default by the score,

Afraid of many creditors come knocking on their door.


Now rich in rents and property, the universal creed

Might be left with nothing but a single used prayer bead.

All because they covered up with ambiguity

Their padres nasty habit of rude unchastity.


But why should pontiffs worry of the court’s undoubted vox,

When they can so easily make use of their poor box?

After all, the Savior said in Mathew twenty-six

That the poor would persevere, common as clay bricks.



Matzo and Leverpostei.


Growing up benighted in a Norskie neighborhood,

I never knew that matzo tasted plain but very good.

We didn’t have a neighbor with mezuzot on their doors;

No one wore a yarmulke or shopped at kosher stores.


But when I left my little hytte, upon the world to snoop,

I discovered wonders such as matzo balls in soup.

Gefilte fish I sampled and the latke I adored,

And so I learned that noshing is its tasty own reward.


I still am eating matzo; I enjoy it with sardines,

Or spread some leverpostei on it with fresh salad greens.

I may get indigestion, but you cannot indict me

For prejudice when I am on a gourmandizing spree.

Ode to the Bowling Alley.


Bowling is a fading memory to many folk;

The younger generation looks upon it as a joke.

The sound of pins cascading and the smell of bowling shoes

Is now the stuff of reverie and melancholy views.


When a bowling alley closes up for once and all,

There never is a poet to give praise to bowling ball.

As the Big Lebowski said in L.A. long ago:

“Bowling is a sport that puts most joy into escrow.”


I think of William Bendix as the archetype of bowlers;

Grinning at a strike until we almost see his molars.

That artless entertainment that was once a bowling lane

We seek now on the Internet, and seek it all in vain.

The Secular American.


When secular Americans believe their rights ignored

They gnash their teeth and curse aloud and wield a mighty sword;

For they are on a holy quest to quash religious foes

Who blithely legislate the rules that step upon their toes!


Religious tests must be wiped out; all language that implies

An atheist can’t be elected must meet with excise.

A person can be anything to hold an office here;

Pious, profane, rake or loon – addicted to spruce beer.


It’s universal knowledge that a politician ain’t

Never gonna make it to the status of a saint.

So why not let the freethinkers among us take their chance

And seek elective office (with a juicy PAC finance.)

A Palestinian Homeland?


How many countries can you find

In the Mideast war-torn grind?

There’s Lebanon and Egypt, see;

Turkey, Kuwait, U.A.E.

Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, natch;

Turkey’s gonna start from scratch.

Arabia, of course, and then

The playground that is called Yemen.

Iraq and Iran are twins

When it comes to loony bins.

Now let me see . . . my count is fine;

Except where is poor Palestine?

It’s not on Google maps as yet,

But it will pop up soon I bet.

(The way some people think of Jews,

Israel is just a ruse.)

Divine Divisions


The unity of Christians is a worthy goal for prayer.

To date the many sects have for dividing shown much flair.

The Council of Nicea and innumerable conclaves

Have not brought any closure but continue to make waves.


What will drive the splintered herds of sheep back to one fold?

Certainly not scholarship or prejudice or gold.

Will it take the atheist’s and pagan’s persecution

To resolve our diff’rences into one grand solution?


He who said he’d gather us as chicks under his wing —

He who lived in poverty but is our only king —

He it is who only can make seamless once again

The brittle hearts and shattered minds of little scheming men.

The Homeless Man.


A homeless man who liked to talk to people on the street

Was viewed by the authorities as very indiscreet.

He used to be a working man, but gave it up to waste

All his time with others – whether pious or unchaste.


Others had to feed him, put the clothes upon his back.

He didn’t own enough to put inside a smallish sack.

Of course he grew delusional as he went on his way,

Refusing to take counsel or in one place simply stay.


He started to announce amazing things to growing mobs,

And offered them an education with disturbing jobs.

As a public nuisance he became a nominee

For punishment – this homeless Jesus Christ of Galilee.

Bushwhacked by a Born-Again Christian.


Bushwhacked by a Born-Again.


Dewey and I went to school together for a third-class engineer’s license so we could work in radio.  This was back in the early 80’s at what was then called Brown Institute of Broadcasting.

After Dewey graduated he immediately got a job as the sports director at a radio station in Williston, North Dakota.  I, on the other hand, despite my previous experience as an entertainer and world-traveler, could not get my foot in the door.

Probably because at the time I did not have a driver’s license or own a car.

But Dewey was a true friend, and when the station he worked for had an opening for a news director he recommended me to the owner, who went ahead and hired me on his say-so.

Now that’s a pal!

Fast forward a quarter of a century . . .

I’d lost track of Dewey over the years, but one day as I was looking over some listings for broadcast jobs (I was once again “at liberty”, a depressingly common occurrence for me) I ran across his name as the sales manager at a Christian radio station in Colorado.

Good ol’ Dewey, I thought to myself – I’ll just give him a jingle to see how he’s doing!

We chatted a good half hour over the phone; he had become a born-again Christian and was raising a large family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as well as doing sales at the radio station – where, he informed me, he also had a morning talk show.  Was I still a Mormon?  Would I like to be on his show to explain some of my beliefs to his listeners?

Sure, I said.  I’d be glad to.  With the express understanding that I did not in any way represent my church in any official capacity whatsoever.  Sure thing, he replied; we set it up for the next morning.

The next morning began promisingly enough, as we exchanged the usual banter over the air after so many years separation.

And then he dropped his bombshell – his obviously premeditated bombshell.

“Tork”, he asked in a dead serious voice, as if he were announcing the crash of the Hindenburg, “would you tell our friends listening just how the LDS church can teach that Lucifer is the brother of Jesus Christ?”

Huh?  This was news to me.

I stuttered and stammered a moment, and then asked in all sincerity where he had heard that.

Brigham Young’s Journal of Discourses, he replied, his manner assuming the tone of a district attorney about to send a defendant to the electric chair.  He quoted me chapter and verse.

At that point I should have played it smart and said “To hell with that, let’s talk about the Bronco’s next game!”

But instead I began a laborious, disconnected, doctrinally vague explanation about this particular theological bugaboo that has haunted LDS scholars for years.  I might just add that Brigham Young’s Journal of Discourses is not considered scripture or in any way binding on LDS members, and that there is a lot of strange stuff in it.

Dewey, the crumb, let me go on and on, hanging myself with my own verbal rope.  I thought he was sincerely interested in learning something about the LDS church, but it became apparent that he was only interested in embarrassing and discrediting me as someone who belongs to a “cult”.

He finally cut me loose, and cut me off, by telling his radio audience “Well, that’s the way the Mormons think about the devil and the Godhead – I hope you’ll slam the door on the next set of Mormon missionaries that show up at your house.  Have a great day everyone!”

Boiling with rage at being set up like that, I could barely manage a civil ‘good-bye’ to him before hanging up.

The passage of years has somewhat tempered my grudge against Dewey.  After all, he was the one who got me my first radio job, where I met my wife — wait a minute, that’s ANOTHER reason I should . . . er, well, Love Thy Neighbor.

No further comment.