The Knights Who Say, “Ni!” Demand Shrubbery

Posted in Mixed Nuts on September 23rd, 2009 by MadDog
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It is theoretically possible that many readers are, as I am today, wracking their brains to recall how Scene 13 of Monty Python and the Holy Grail  goes. But first, Something Completely Different:

Bouganvillia flowers on water

As I was sitting in Faded Glory  at the Madang Resort Hotel last saturday, someone had been trimming the Bouganvillia shrubs and, as is the custom, throwing the cuttings into the sea. Everything gets thrown into the sea here. Nevertheless, it makes a pretty picture.

So as not to keep you waiting, refresh your memory of The Knights Who Say, “Ni!”

[spooky music]
[music stops]

HEAD KNIGHT OF NI:    Ni!
KNIGHTS OF NI:   Ni!  Ni!  Ni!  Ni!  Ni!
ARTHUR:   Who are you?
HEAD KNIGHT:    We are the Knights Who Say… ‘Ni’!
RANDOM:    Ni!
ARTHUR:    No!  Not the Knights Who Say ‘Ni’!
HEAD KNIGHT:   The same!
BEDEVERE:    Who are they?
HEAD KNIGHT:   We are the keepers of the sacred words: Ni, Peng, and Neee-wom!
RANDOM:   Neee-wom!
ARTHUR:   Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale!
HEAD KNIGHT:   The Knights Who Say ‘Ni’ demand a sacrifice!
ARTHUR:    Knights of Ni, we are but simple travelers who seek the enchanter who lives beyond these woods.
HEAD KNIGHT:    Ni!
KNIGHTS OF NI:    Ni!  Ni!  Ni!  Ni!  Ni!…
ARTHUR:   Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  Agh!
HEAD KNIGHT:   We shall say ‘ni’ again to you if you do not appease us.
ARTHUR:   Well, what is it you want?
HEAD KNIGHT:   We want… a shrubbery!
[dramatic chord]
ARTHUR:   A what?
KNIGHTS OF NI:   Ni!  Ni!  Ni!  Ni!
ARTHUR and PARTY:   Ow!  Oh!
ARTHUR:   Please, please!  No more!  We will find you a shrubbery.
HEAD KNIGHT:   You must return here with a shrubbery or else you will never pass through this wood alive!
ARTHUR:   O Knights of Ni, you are just and fair, and we will return with a shrubbery.
HEAD KNIGHT:   One that looks nice.
ARTHUR:   Of course.
HEAD KNIGHT:   And not too expensive.
ARTHUR:   Yes.
HEAD KNIGHT:   Now… go!

So, Knights Who Say, “Ni”, shrubbery ye shall have. Here is a bit of budding shrubbery:

Pink Flowers

I insist that this also could loosly be classified as shrubbery:

Little Blue Flower

And here is an infant bit of shrubbery:

Green bud

Though ferns are not technically shrubbery (are they?) I’m throwing this in as a bonus:

Clurly fern frond

This fern has a doppelgänger lurking behind it.

Fern and its shadow

Take heart, I’m nearly finished. My continued fixation on water drops hasn’t dimished. Honestly, when I was a kid, I never wet my bed. (I still don’t, but I’m only 65, so we’ll have to wait and see.) Anyway, I couldn’t resist these happy little drips on a fern frond:

Fern with water drops

I am so easy to please.

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On the Road – Mount Vernon, Illinois – A Church that ROCKS!

Posted in On Tthe Road on April 15th, 2008 by MadDog
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I always loved that Monty Python interlocutor who came to switch the scenes with, “And now, for something completely different.” Well, this morning that works on a couple of different levels.

When’s the last time you had fun in church. For that matter, when was the last time you went to church? Never mind. You out there who know me appreciate that I don’t shove that in your face. You either dig the faith thing or you don’t. You also know that if you ever need me, I’ll be there. (Sounds like a sappy country music song title, eh?) I’m like the tiger lurking in the bush.

But, I gotta tell you, I had me some fun at church yesterday. Central Christian Church at Mount Vernon Illinois has been a highly significant contributor to our paychecks forever (well, since 1981, anyway). We went there yesterday to visit old friends and report to our bosses there about our work. (All went well.)

The best part for me, however, was the worship service itself. Does this look like any church that you’ve visited (or imagined, if you don’t go)?

Central Christian Church - Mount Vernon, Illinois

When the beat’s in the groove and the lyrics are whacking me in the guts, I just want to get up and dance like a wild man. Well, that might not be appreciated in this context, but my body was egging on – Go, man! Dig it! Eunie was clapping her cute little hands and singing bravely in her sweet monotone (poor baby is completely tone-deaf, but she belts it out anyway, God bless her).

I think that just about every professional-class musician in Mount Vernon must have been on that stage – there can’t be many in a town that size. This is no garage band. There was rock, ballad, a little funk . . . the guy at the microphone with the guitar did a very credible and street-wise rap segment that made me whoop! A trio of young women delivered a side-stage number that was every bit as edgy and gut grabbing as anything I’ve heard from Alanis Morrisette. It was great music – never mind the setting. It was all soulful stuff. And I don’t mean that in a churchy way.

When preachin’ time came round, Jamie Allen presented one of the most cogent and concise lectures on how to manage your money that I’ve ever heard. It was all solid advice. Americans seem to be having a lot of trouble these days coping with economic problems. Many desperately need to learn how to manage their money effectively. Hey, how about that? Not what you’d usually expect from the pulpit. Of course he did mention that you should give some it back . . . to the church, of course. It’s a given for believers. But, whether you are or you aren’t, if you heard some of the stuff this church is into, you’d be reaching for your wallet no matter. (Just a small sampling – shelters for abused women and children, Habitat for Humanity, safe water supplies for villages in India, health clinics and children’s homes in Brazil and Africa, to-your-door meals for shut-ins, soup kitchens . . . the list goes on and on.) These people know how to spread the love. It’s what they’re about.

This is a trend we’ve seen in churches we have visited. Kaimuki Christian Church in Honolulu is another terrific example. If you have nothing to do there on a Sunday morning, hop on over and get down.

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