Sunday, May 20, 2018

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Looks like we are going for a triple. I couldn't make out the name of the artist on this too relevant piece.


Courtesy of Benjamin Corey's FB page. His blog can be found here.

AFTER THE SHOOTING STOPS

It's one of these double posting days.

For years I've been a fan of shows like Law and Order (the original, not the spin offs), Blue Bloods and the original Hawaii 5-O. And this didn't hit me until yesterday.

Another mass shooting. At a school. We focus on the victims and their families. And we should. These kids are dead. We will never know how these future moms, dads, cops, doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs would have done for themselves, their families, our country.

The other day a has been, right wing evangelical opined that there had been doctors who could have cured cancer. Sent by God. But they had been aborted before they had the chance. Hey gun lovers! Maybe one or more of those kids could have discovered a universal cure for cancer but they were brutally murdered by a nut with access to guns, ammo, and an attitude of heaven knows what.

And, sorry for the diversion, what about the men and women who respond to these terrorist attacks? The police officers, the sheriff's deputies, the EMT's, the forensics crew, the chaplains? The ones who separate the living from the wounded and the dead. The men and women who transport the wounded to the ER. And the ER crews who find themselves caring for kids whose biggest worry that mornig was a math test. The crews who mark where the dead fell, bag the bodies and take them to the morgue. The doctors who do autopsies on kids who just might remind them of their own families. the forensics crews who bag evidence and try to find all the bullets that didn't end up on a body.

Who gathers the names and addresses of the victims? Who works through the crowd on the other side of the crime scene tape asking "do you know this person?" Cell phones that can take pictures. Or can they get ID pictures from an office staff that is probably standing there with that thousand mile stare?

AND HOW IN BLOODY HELL DO YOU CONTACT THE FAMILIES OF THE DEAD AND WOUNDED? Forgive me for shouting. Do you send officers to homes and offices. Do you call and say, what the hell do you say? How many good cops, EMT's, other responders are we going to lose because they can't take another day of scraping bodies, blood and tears off the classroom floors and parking lots?

How many more bodies and nightmares will it take to pull this piece of real estate between lines on  map back to something resembling sanity? I can't call it a nation. Because is sure as hell isn't.

THOUGHTS, PRAYERS AND INACTION? NO!

The chief of the Houston, Texas police department posted this on his FB page yesterday. His name is Art Acevedo,

To all my Facebook friends. Today I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve shed tears of sadness, pain and anger.
I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue. Please do not post anything about guns aren’t the problem and there’s little we can do. My feelings won’t be hurt if you de-friend me and I hope yours won’t be if you decide to post about your views and I de-friend you.
I have never accepted the status-quo in anything I do and I’ve never accepted defeat. And I won’t do it now. I will continue to speak up and will stand up for what my heart and my God commands me to do, and I assure you he hasn’t instructed me to believe that gun-rights are bestowed by him.
The hatred being spewed in our country and the new norms we, so-called people of faith are accepting, is as much to blame for so much of the violence in our once pragmatic Nation.
This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and Inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing).
I close by saying, I wish those that move on from this page the best. May God Bless you and keep you.

Mr. Acevedo started his career in California, was chief of the Austin, Texas PD for several years and became chief in Houston a couple of years ago. I don't know what church, if any he attends and he is Hispanic. For whatever that is worth.


Friday, May 18, 2018

OCCUPIED TERRITORY

I am more than willing to admit that this is not the most coherent entry I have ever made. Partly because the ties between what is happening now and what has happened in the past hit me like  roller coaster when this news broke this morning.

So there has been another school shooting. And another village idiot showed up to show, what the hell he was trying to show is beyond me. But here is in all his male, while privilege glory.


This is going to be a picture heavy entry I believe. As I was trying to digest my horror and disbut that this keeps happening I had a flash back to Roman occupied Judea/Palestine. This map is courtesy of the Wickipedia entry on Palestine.shows the borders depending on who was defining and occupying. 


I mean the land was always occupied by the peasants who worked the land. Tended the olive trees. Tried to survive. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, the Turks. The red line is the borders of the mandate granted to Britain after the end of WWI. One British government promised a homeland to the Jews. Another promised independence to the Arabs. 

So what does this have to do with a shooting in Texas? I suspect the occupying legionaries, not all Romans by the way a lot of Syrian locals joined the army, went around in full kit. Armor, swords, lances etc. And I suspect they tolerated the militia forces that protected the local rulers. Anyone care to guess what would have happened to one or more peasants spotted carrying swords or lances or what looked like swords or lances or who didn't snap to there was a local disturbance of some kind?

In the first century, around 70 BCE the province of Palestine/Syria rebelled. It wasn't the first time. There are records of smaller, local rebellions.Put down and the rebels executed.  One of the causes was province wide rebellion was the order to place a statue of the emperor inside the Temple in Jerusalem.I believe it was a statue of Nero. Anyway it was an insult that couldn't be ignored. There were other causes. Dissension between different power groups. Requests from one group or the other for support from the legions. When it was over thousands of locals were dead or sold into slavery. Jerusalem was leveled. When it was rebuilt Jews were forbidden to live in the city. 

So we have an occupying force and an attempt to enforce a religious practice. Taxes were probably in there also. Where is this semi coherent entry going? Proviso. I do not support in any way the white supremacist militia groups. But I'm getting the overwhelming belief that for many of  our fellow citizens we are faced with an unofficial gun worshiping, religious zealot "army" of occupation.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

BLOODY, DANGEROUS, INEXCUSABLE IGNORANCE

I know it isn't just from being from the the south. There's plenty of idiots in other parts of the country. It might be a function of being white, although I have run across members of minority groups that seem almost as ignorant Ben Carson springs to mind. It might be a function of being male but I've run across more than a members of the so called "fairer" sex that have displayed equal levels of "where the hell did you get your education!" It might be age, but I've run across more than a few youngsters with what appear to be equal levels of either ignorance or the inability to think an idea through before opening their pie holes. This man is senior on committees that direct public policy towards science.

But this one, originally posted by Jim Wright, really takes the cake. And the pie, the sweet rolls, cookies, etc. Rocks and dirt fall into the oceans so the oceans rise.


I had a couple of other pictures in mind but couldn't locate them, but this one fills the bill very, very well. The deepest place in the ocean is the Challenger deep in the Pacific. It is approximately 35,000 feet deep. that's deeper than Everest is tall, folks. You can just about count on one hand the number of people who have been down there. Why? Because it is a hell of a lot easier to design ships that can function in a vacuum than can function at pressures that would squash us like a bug long before we managed to get down there.

Isn't there ANYONE on the staff who can find a topo map of the ocean floor and point out the deep ridges and fissures where magma is constantly forcing its way to the surface. That is what powers continental drift BTW. Anyone east of the Oregon border ever hear of the Cascadia subduction zone. That's where the plate I'm sitting on rides under an oceanic plate and heads for the depths to be remelted.

Or does this sorry excuse for an elected official believe that the earth was created only a few thousand years ago and all the material that I've collected is a gigantic fiction perpetrated by a trickster god who spends eternity coming up with ways to trick us and it's either our imaginations or tricks of the devil.

Someone please send him The Story of Earth the first 4.5 billion years. I'm keeping mine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

TRUE THEN AND STILL TRUE NOW


Another repost from about a decade ago. Call it a blast from the past. 
This has been kicking around for awhile, but I’ve had trouble bringing all the threads together.  I’ve a got a picture. Now if I can just fit it in a frame
Harking back to my entries on canning and stuff.  It was work, but it wasn’t. There was time between batches to kick back, read a little, harass a little sister (or be harassed), pull a weed or three, to just be. That’s how I was raised. That’s what families do; or did. And that’s what they did for generations. What really bugs me is that when the work gets entered in the balance sheet for gross national product, all that ends up in the final total is the cost of the materials. There’s no line in GNP for the creation of the ties between friends and families.
The work was done within the family or with friends. Think back on all those stories of barn raisings and quilting bees. The work got done, but no money changed hands. More than likely everybody went home with tired bodies, full stomachs, the satisfaction of a job well done and enough juicy gossip to keep tongues wagging until the next get together.
No income was recorded. No taxes paid. Well, in our case, dad got paid by Pope and Talbot for managing one of their cutting crews, but that information got put on a different line on the balance sheet.
I’m sure it wasn’t some sinister conspiracy, but somehow we’ve been convinced that it’s more productive for both parents to work outside the home and pay someone else to provide the things we did for ourselves. Or try to squeeze all that “unpaid” work in around the edges.
And no, we didn’t do it all. No family could ever provide everything they needed from within the family. They always had to fill in with what they couldn’t do themselves. And no, I don’t want to live in a country where the only job for woman is in the home. I like having the choices.
But, I get the feeling it’s a giant shell game. The same work gets done. But, now the national economy recognizes the value of the work because a dollar value can be attached to it and taxes get paid. And somehow the parent that stays home is seen as being less productive than if they were in the paid job market.
And I guess you need to push to have both parents in the job market while the pressure keeps building to turn pre-school into kindergarten and kindergarten into the first grade. Can’t have those pesky children taking too much time to become employable for the jobs we’ve decided are worth paying for. There’s very little room anymore for clowns, dreamers, contemplatives or other square pegs.
I truly believe we’ve lost even more. There’s a knowledge that comes from having to manage things. You don’t learn that in a class room. There’s a knowledge that comes from knowing you won’t always get what you want the way you want it. You just might have to settle for something else. You may have to wait awhile. And you just might find out that what you get is so much more than you expected.

Monday, May 14, 2018

THE SLEEPING DRUNK

So. the current occupant has had his way and the US embassy is now located in Jerusalem. A move that all previous administrations back to Truman have avoided. Naturally the Palestinians are demonstrating and the Israeli army is shooting. I don't know what the toll in dead, dying and injured is at this point. I wrote the original post almost ten years ago. The situation has gone further down the road since then.

Oh, Thomas you were taken far too soon.
A story retold by a man of deep, abiding and clear eyed faith.
A seventeenth century rabbi told this story. Two men were traveling through a forest. One sober, the other drunk. They were attacked by thieves who beat them and stole everything they had, including their clothes. When they finally reached the first village outside the forest the villagers asked them what had happened.
The drunken man (apparently still under the influence after all this time, but then this is a parable) answered first. “Everything was fine. Not a thing happened on the trip.” I suspect the villagers looked at him, each other, back to him and one of them shook himself a bit and asked the obvious question. “If nothing happened, why are you bloody, bruised and where in the name of all that’s holy are your clothes?”
The sober man broke in. “Don’t believe a word he says. There are outlaws in the forest. They attacked us. They took everything we had down to the last stitch of clothing. Be careful that what happened to us doesn’t happen to you”
Thomas Merton used this story in the preface of his collection of essays in Faith and ViolenceChristian Teaching and Christian Practice published in 1967 as the country entered the worst of the violence related to the civil rights movement and the Viet Nam War protests.
The drunken man was so blind drunk that he “slept” through the whole attack and didn’t realize he was naked. (heck I’m surprised he was able to move much less walk if he was that blasted: but this is a parable).
 In his essays Merton asked this question. Can faith, religious or political, act as blinders or an anesthetic? Do we see the violence, fear and anger in others while being blind to our own? Do we keep insisting that we must be free to defend ourselves by any and all means available while denying others the right to defend themselves? “Our violence is good, your violence is unacceptable.” Does this sound depressingly familiar?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

SPIRIT DANCING





By artist Barbara Kahn

“One who speaks for the tree roots and stones. Who speaks with the tree roots’ and stones’ voices. One who speaks as the grass and rivers. One who speaks as fields and woods and hills and valleys and the salt marshes and waves and tides. Yet who speaks as what is close to home. With the mouse’s voice or the seagull’s or the fox’s or the badger’s. One who speaks in cadences that go beyond the darkness and beyond stars, encompassing what is unmeasurable. One whose entire being vibrates to the spirits’ words in nature, like a reed at dawn in a pool where trout swim.

Picture a living world of tree roots, grass roots, little streams, big streams, great oceans, waters seeping into the deep rocks, recharging the headwaters of rivers and streams. The world is alive with whispers.

Wildwood mystic Rae Beth wrote of one of her familiars, an old cunning man who lived in Britain over a thousand years ago. He spoke to her of prayers. He said that we must know all the prayers of the world around us; of the birds, beasts or fish. I can understand the idea that a sparrow or a fox might pray; but the prayers of streams or stones?

What does water dream of and pray for? Does the drop of water in a tiny brook remember when it was part of a mighty ocean? Does it remember being a snowflake, a glacier, or a tiny drop of rain? Does it remember being another tiny rivulet? Flowing from rivulet, to stream, to mighty river and finally to the sea. Does it remember being caught up by the warmth of the sun only to become a new drop of rain. Does it remember the long fall from cloud to earth, the sinking into the soil, the slow drift into tree roots, the release from leaves into the air and back to clouds to fall again.

What does a stone remember? Does it remember when its atoms were part of the primal lava flows? Does it remember further back when the atoms were formed in the death throes of a super nova? Do the atoms remember their lives in a cliff face being ground down by relentless breakers? Does it remember the endless pressure as the sandstone was thrust again into daylight or carried down into the heart of the earth to return again as a lava flow?

Imagining the dreams of a bird, badger or fish is difficult enough for a human. Normally we see water, grass or stone as inanimate, unaware. To imagine their prayers; that is a mystery.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LOOKING BACK AT THE XTIANS

I wrote this back in early 2008. And I'm still shaking my head. And the x is very deliberate because, frankly I believe that this how we got from there to the we are looking at now.

Now, I have to admit that I have moved to the edges of the Christian community and of the books I’ve got going right now, one is on paganism and the other is on Celtic shamanism. Actually I think I'm on the edge of the cliff ready to dive off, but this left even me shaking my head.

 Saw something Saturday that I’m still kind of trying to make sense of. In some ways, I think it’s evidence that many groups who call themselves Christians don’t really have a clue what they’re doing or how they got there. 

There’s an Open Bible Standard church on Centennial. It’s one of those charismatic, Pentecostal denominations. It’s Saturday right? Smack dab between Good Friday and Easter, right? You know, Good Friday; the day Jesus found himself rejected by the temple establishment and condemned by the Romans? Yeah, that day.

 Then comes the day after when his followers were scared, grieving or hiding; probably all three. If I had been one of them, I don’t think fun and games would have been anywhere near the top of my list of things to do that day.  

I might have been trying to figure out how to get out of Jerusalem without being arrested for consorting with a condemned traitor, maybe crying my eyes out because a friend and teacher had been executed in one of the more brutal methods the occupying government had at its disposal, or perhaps just numb. 

That said, what do I see outside this building? A shitload of cars and a big, pretty sign advertising their Easter carnival. 

Granted, lapsed Methodist that I am, I never even heard of Lent until I was mid college and exploring everything under the sun except being a Methodist. But, we’ve got a theoretically conservative, Bible believing, fundamentalist congregation having a carnival on the saddest day of the Christian calendar. Am I missing something here?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

PAINTING WITH WORDS


I've been rereading a lot of my old journal entries. As in back in 2007. Have I really been doing this that long?

There's an old, old Bonanza episode. I forget if the man was a friend or a friend of a friend who needed someplace to get his bearings. He was an artist who'd lost his sight. He was outside by the lake with one of the Cartwrights. Ben, I think, but it's been years since I've seen this. And it's one of the few episodes that's stuck all these years. 

The artist asks what's around them. The usual, trees, water, grass, sky. Then he starts asking for a more detailed description. Not just green, but what kind of green? Not just blue but what kind of blue. Are there clouds? Are they reflected in the water? He comes to understand that he may not be able to paint with a brush anymore, but he has a life time of memories of places he's been and seen and he can still paint them. With words.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

LEAVE THEM A FLOWER


Saw a depressing headline the other day. At least one think tank is predicting that salt water fisheries will collapse by 2050. Haven't seen anyone else confirm. Haven't heard anyone saying they are blithering idiots either. Mom won't be here. I won't be here. Probably. Sisters? Maybe, maybe not. Nephews and their families? Very, very probably.

I speak on behalf of the next generation
My sons and daughters, their children to come.
What will you leave them for their recreation
An oil slick, a pylon, an industrial slum.         

Leave them a flower, some grass and a hedgerow
        A hill and a valley, a view to the sea
        These things are not yours to destroy as you want to
        A gift given once for eternity. 

You plunder and pillage, you tear and you tunnel
Trees lying toppled, roots finger the sky.
Building a land for machines and computers
In the name of progress the farms have to die.        

 Leave them a flower, some grass and a hedgerow
        A hill and a valley, a view to the sea
        These things are not yours to destroy as you want to
        A gift given once for eternity

 Fish in the ocean polluted and poisoned
The sand on the beaches stinking and black
And you with your tankers, your banks and investments
Say, Never worry, the birds will come back        

 Leave them a flower, some grass and a hedgerow
        A hill and a valley, a view to the sea
        These things are not yours to destroy as you want to
        A gift given once for eternity 

When the last flower has dropped its last petal
When the last concrete is finally laid
The moon will shine cold on a nightmarish landscape
Your gift to your children, this world that you made        

 Leave them a flower, some grass and a hedgerow
        A hill and a valley, a view to the sea
        These things are not yours to destroy as you want to
        A gift given once for eternity  

I remember when this song came out in the seventies. Willie Whyten wrote it. Ed Ames covered it. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

THE LADY HAS LEFT THE STAGE.

This was posted on the net awhile back. It's seems more relevant than ever. So long folks.


I think she's heading back to France. She certainly isn't welcome in a lot of circles on this side of the pond anymore.

Monday, April 30, 2018

LOOKING FOR INFORMATION

To anyone out in Blog land. I have an Amazon Fire tablet that is having a problem charging. It ran down a bit once. Recharged to 100 percent held that for a couple of weeks then started going down again. If the battery goes down to zero can you still run a tablet off the power cord? Seems like an easy enough question to ask but got no help from the so called help line from a phone answerer with a very heavy, almost unintelligible Indian accent.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

SHIFTING SANDS

Posts may seem a little, shall we say different for awhile. I'm rereading Starhawk's Spiral Dance again. For the first time. And rereading some Quaker texts. Again for the first time.

I was working with her "Grounding the Tree of Life." Sitting, breathing, eyes closed. Sudden image of the Great Tree as a great, old oak. Roots going down, down, down deep into the earth. And suddenly I'm hit with feelings of grief and sorrow. (how do you put a psychic experience into words, it's impossible)

Grief for what? Not sure. Loss of habitat? Loss of the birds that make the trees their homes? Loss of the trees so the birds have no where to go? Breaking the circle? Don't know right now.

Was it me crying or was I tapping into, recognizing some deep ecological sorrow? That the trees had a way of communicating through their root systems, through the deep earth and that is being destroyed?