January 23, 2021

Meet The Team

monasteryAs Chaplain Mike shared yesterday, he is stepping back from day-to-day writing duties here at the iMonastery in order to focus on his two “real” fulltime jobs. When we talked recently he said needed time to eat and sleep as well as work. I told him that was a personal problem and suggested if he was going to constantly whine he might at least bring some cheese, and in the end we settled on Chap contributing on Mondays and Thursdays. But as we would like you to visit us on the other days of the week as well, I will have to try and coax our other staff writers to sharpen their quills more often. After all, they are all getting paid … getting paid … well, actually, no one gets paid to be a part of Internet Monk. We all give our words as an act of love. And because I can badger and harangue with the best of them.

So I thought this would be a good chance for you, our fellow iMonks, to meet the team that keeps things going. I think it’s always helpful to put a face with a name.

FlyingNunFirst and foremost is Denise Spencer, the Mother Superior of our community. Denise flies from town to town as is her habit while wearing her habit. She corrects our grammar, washes behind our ears and makes sure we don’t slouch in our chairs. She has a real fondness for Jello-brand Pudding Pops because, as she says, “How cool is it to eat pudding on a stick?”

goatNext, of course, is Chaplain Mike. Mike got his start as a street evangelist perched in front of Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern. Mike prayed with passersby to lift the curse of the Billy Goat from the Cubs. As that wasn’t working, he settled into his life’s vocation, praying for the salvation of souls. Mike echoes St. Paul when he says he would almost give up his place at the banquet table in Heaven to see the Cubs win a World Series. (Don’t worry—Mike will be at the wedding feast. It’s the Cubs, after all …)

taeinlabThe man behind the curtain pulling all of the levers and strings to keep iMonk running is Joe Stallard. Joe runs a convenience store in Grand Rapids, but practices computer programming on the side. If you need a web site built, or have a hankerin’ for a Slim Jim, Joe is the man to see.

randallLisa Dye writes deep, heart-felt pieces for us as a diversion from her day job as a nuclear scientist. She has solved pi to 3,256 places, can pinpoint the exact date of the Big Bang, and can program a TV remote control.

hairdresserMartha of Ireland is the pseudonym for Gladys Schmidtgal of Des Moines, Iowa. Martha/Gladys is a hairdresser, and one of her clients happens to be a Catholic priest. I think you see where this is going.

gas stationAdam Palmer tells people he is a “petroleum transfer engineer,” which sound impressive, doesn’t it? It means he pumps gas. But he does a really good job of pumping gas, and only once in a while does he confuse diesel with regular. But when he does, he gives the customer a free car wash, so it works out well.

emilyDamaris Zehner is the Poet Laureate of the iMonk family. But she still hasn’t come up with a poem as lovely as a tree, though she did write one once that was prettier than some dead leaves that had gathered in the gutter. And she knows better than to try to rhyme with “orange.”

purple hairThe Synonymous Rambler occasionally contributes a story to our Saturday Ramblings, and has even been known to author a post or two. The SR wishes to remain synonymous so she/he doesn’t besmirch his/her reformation. Don’t ask, just nod and play along.

Abbot MarmionAnd there is me, your abbot. I do my best to stay out of the way of all of the merriment, but I do enforce curfew and do bed checks. Sometimes I can even be talked into reading bedtime stories to the gang as they drink their Ovaltine. I can be seen most evenings knitting under the shade tree and playing fetch with Willy, the iMonastery’s dog.

francisOh, one more introduction will take place tomorrow, when we unveil our newest teammate. The only hint I will give is his picture.




Thank you for your faithful reading and commenting and giving. We wouldn’t be here without you. And this time I’m being serious with you.


  1. Are those some orthodox briars in the background?

  2. Adrienne says

    Shall we bow our heads in prayer?

  3. This is the funniest piece I have ever read on this blog (or just about anywhere).

    Jeff, you have outdone yourself this time.

  4. Wait. Martha of Des Moines?

  5. “…she did write one once that was prettier than some dead leaves that had gathered in the gutter.”

    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” – Oscar Wilde.

    • Well, I’d prefer (though not very strongly) to be associated with Wilde than Joyce Kilmer . . .

  6. Rick Ro. says

    Funny stuff, Jeff.

    That’s a dang good team of folks. Thanks to you all for your contributions.

  7. I haven’t had a pudding pop in years — but now I want one!

  8. Robert F says

    Can Denise Spencer write a post of how to levitate? I’ve always wanted to levitate. That would be exciting.

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