Saturday, December 31, 2011


Light a candle or lantern before turning out all the lights in the house, symbolically telling the old year good by. Take the candle out doors and wait a few minutes. Then knock on the door. Welcome the light bearer with lines such as

Welcome the light of the New Year
And welcome to the one who bears it.

When the candle and its bearer have reentered the house make a circuit of your home relighting the lights one at a time. If you can use candles safely go ahead, otherwise just turn on the lights one at a time welcoming the new year. .

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Creation has blessed us with many paths to truth. Many of us express our reverence for Creation and the sacred in too many ways to count. But, there are things that all of us wish for ourselves and for our families. These we can be thankful for no matter what path we walk.

Bless us, for these, which we are about to receive from Creation’s bounty.
For food in a world where many walk the path of hunger.
For faith in a world where many walk the path of fear.
For friends in a world where many walk the path of loneliness.
We give you thanks, Amen."

Friday, December 23, 2011


Had a flicker visiting in the yard this morning while the other birds were getting their sunflower seed fixes.

This little guy spent about five minutes watching a squirrel hang from the roof of the feeder and then decided to try it himself. Hey, if the furball can do it, maybe I can too. Success.

After the trip to the wooden feeder the flicker spent a little time watching the smaller birds at the tube feeder. It was a bit of a stretch but he managed to hang on.

And then he was suddenly on the wing.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The sun shining through the entrance of the New Grange burial mound in Ireland on the winter solstice in 2006. The entrance and inner chamber are aligned so that the sun shines fully into the chamber only on the winter solstice.


Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
By the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

Incredibly cheerful tune from the English group Jethro Tull. They had a flute player who could play rings around anybody.

Time to celebrate the return of the sun. Light a fire, mull your wine or cider. Remember your ancestors. Sing your hearts out. Time to partay!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Recycled silk poinsettia blossoms, I think it turned out very well. Even if my hands were pretty nicked by the time I was done.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I’ve been doing some reading as we run up to Christmas. It’s a time of joy, but also a time to remember that the message of the birth often gets lost or obscured. This was also on a blog site. The intro pointed out the inductees claiming conscientious objector status had to go through a psych exam, but those who were willing to kill were assumed to be “sane.”

Thomas Merton died in 1968. He had harsh words for our involvement in Viet Nam and the violence of the Civil Rights era. I can barely imagine his reaction to our support for the coups in Chili and Argentina followed by our covert and not so covert support for the death squads in Central America. Good, sane family men and women who went home to their wives and children, attended church; firmly convinced they were serving God and country.

A Devout Meditation in the Memory of Adolph Eichmann

One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. I do not doubt it all, and that is precisely why I find it disturbing.
If all the Nazis had been psychotics, as some of their leaders probably were, their appalling cruelty would have been in some sense easier to understand. It is much worse to consider this calm, "well-balanced," unperturbed official conscientiously going about his desk work, his administrative job which happened to be the supervision of mass murder. He was thoughtful, orderly, unimaginative. He had a profound respect for system, for law and order. He was obedient, loyal, a faithful officer of a great state. He served his government very well.

He was not bothered much by guilt. I have not heard that he developed any psychosomatic illnesses. Apparently he slept well. He had a good appetite, or so it seems. True, when he visited Auschwitz, the Camp Commandant, Hoess, in a spirit of sly deviltry, tried to tease the big boss and scare him with some of the sight, Eichmann was disturbed, yes. He was disturbed. Even Himmler had been disturbed, and had gone weak at the knees. Perhaps, in the same way, the general manager of a big steel mill might be disturbed if an accident took place while he happened to be somewhere in the plant. But of course what happened at Auschwitz was not an accident: just the routine unpleasantness of the daily task. One must shoulder the burden of daily monotonous work for the Fatherland. Yes, one must suffer discomfort and even nausea from unpleasant sights and sounds. It all comes under the heading of duty, self-sacrifice, and obedience.
Eichmann was devoted to duty. and proud of his job.

The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.

It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missile, and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. When the missiles take off, then, it will be no mistake. We can no longer assume that because a man is "sane" he is therefore in his "right mind." The whole concept of sanity in a society where spiritual values have lost their meaning is itself meaningless. A man can be "sane" in the limited sense that he is not impeded by disordered emotions from acting in a cool, orderly tier, according to the needs and dictates of the social situation in which he finds himself. He can be perfectly "adjusted." God knows, perhaps such people can be perfectly adjusted even in hell itself.

And so I ask myself: what is the meaning of a concept of sanity that excludes love, considers it irrelevant, and destroys our capacity to love other human beings, to respond to their needs and their sufferings, to recognize them also as persons, to apprehend their pain as one's own? Evidently this is not necessary for "sanity" at all. It is a religious notion, a spiritual notion, a Christian notion What business have we to equate "sanity" with "Christianity"? None at all, obviously. The worst error is to imagine that a Christian must try to be "sane" like everybody else, that we belong in our kind of society. That we must be "realistic" about it. We must develop a sane Christianity: and there have been plenty of sane Christians in the past. Torture is nothing new, is it? We ought to be able to rationalize a little brainwashing, and genocide, and find a place for nuclear war, or at least for napalm bombs, in our moral theology. Certainly some of us are doing our best along those lines already. There are hopes! Even Christians can shake off their sentimental prejudices about charity, and become sane like Eichmann. They can even cling to a certain set of Christian formulas, and fit them into a Totalist Ideology. Let them talk about justice, charity, love, and the rest. These words have not stopped some sane men from acting very sanely and cleverly in the past.... No, Eichmann was sane. The generals and fighters on both sides, in World War II, the ones who carried out the total destruction of entire cities, these were the sane ones. Those who have invented and developed atomic bombs, thermonuclear bombs, missiles; who have planned the strategy of the next war; who have evaluated the various possibilities of using bacterial and chemical agents: these are not the crazy people, they are the sane people. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can he considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach ink blots too. On the other hand, you will probably find that the pacifists and the ban-the-bomb people are, quite seriously, just as we read in Time, a little crazy. I am beginning to realize that "sanity" is no longer a value or an end in itself. The "sanity" of modern man is about as useful to him as the huge bulk and muscles of the dinosaur. If he were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival. But if he is sane, too sane ... perhaps we must say that in a society like ours the worst insanity is to be totally without anxiety, totally "sane."
copyrighted in 1966. Published by Burns and Oates.
from Raids on the Unspeakable by Thomas Merton


Just a nice little snowman feeding the birds.

My little village in the wreath. Granted I was pretty sleepy last night when I turned off the lights but I could swear I heard singing over in that corner.


What can I say about the Republican candidates? Not much you can say about a carny sideshow in a head long rush to the bottom of the Grand Canyon…and beyond.

It's a credit to the miracle of this nation that a first generation son of immigrants like Rick Santorum can even dream of becoming president. Luckily dreaming is about as close as he’s going to get but it got me thinking.

His father's family came over in the 1920's. The last of my ancestors to arrive that I can account for stepped off the boat in New York in 1850. She was eleven, her name was Margaret Clinton and she immigrated with her family. Probably from somewhere in Ireland. They either sailed from Belfast or crossed over to England and boarded in Liverpool. Near as I can tell, everybody else was already here going back to Massachusetts in 1635 and Pennsylvania in 1682.

Heck Rick your folks had it relatively easy. Probably came steerage but they could be here in less than two weeks. I’m not sure when liners started using radios instead of telegraph but at least the ship’s officers could yell for help if they ran into trouble and your family didn’t have to worry about small pox, typhus, and the food running short. At least your folks were on a ship with engines. Your mom or grandmother didn’t risk one of the saddest notes I’ve run across, grandmother so and so died in childbirth and was buried at sea. No note about the possible aunt or uncle, but I wouldn’t give a newborn much chance unless there was another woman aboard who could nurse that baby.

Yes, your family came over just before the depression hit, but you weren’t here alone. Hell man, the heavy lifting had already been done. Our two civil wars were over. We had a government up and running (most of the time). Your family had a place to come to, it probably wasn’t much to start with but you weren’t alone, literally building a nation from the ground up. You know Rick, showing a little gratitude for what we got right would be refreshing.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Two ways of looking at our relationship with the natural world. One from a pagan, one from a Christian hermit.

A wildwood mystic is “….One who speaks for the tree roots and stone. Who speaks with the tree roots’ and stones’ voices. One who speaks as the grass and rivers. Who speaks as field and woods and hills and valleys and 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 immeasurable. One whose entire being vibrates to the spirits’ words in nature, like a reed at dawn in a pool where trout swim.”

Rae Beth in The Hedge Witch’s Way

“The very nature of your solitude involves you in union with the prayers of the wind in the trees, the movement of the stars, the feeding of the birds in the fields, the building of the anthills. You witness the creator and attend to him in all his creation.”

Thomas Merton OCSO (order of Cistercians of the strict obeservance)

Two traditions, one message.

Monday, December 5, 2011


FOR AMERICA by Jackson Brown

As if I really didn't understand
That I was just another part of their plan
I went off looking for the promise
Believing in the Motherland

And from the comfort of a dreamer's bed
And the safety of my own head
I went on speaking of the future
While other people fought and bled

The kid I was when I first left home
Was looking for his freedom and a life of his own
But the freedom that he found wasn't quite as sweet
When the truth was known

I have prayed for America, I was made for America
It's in my blood and in my bones
By the dawn's early light, by all I know is right
We're going to reap what we have sown

As if freedom was a question of might
As if loyalty was black and white
You hear people say it all the time
"My country wrong or right"

I want to know what that's got to do
With what it takes to find out what's true
With everyone from the President on down
Trying to keep it from you

The thing I wonder about the dads and moms
Who send their sons to the Vietnam's
Will they really think their way of life
Has been protected as the next war comes?

I have prayed for America, I was made for America
Her shining dream plays in my mind
By the rockets red glare, a generation's blank stare
We better wake her up this time

The kid I was when I first left home
Was looking for his freedom and a life of his own
But the freedom that he found wasn't quite as sweet
When the truth was known

I have prayed for America, I was made for America
I can't let go till she comes around
Until the land of the free, is awake and can see
And until her conscience has been found.

This was released in the album Live in the Balance in the mid 80's. It apparently was Browne's first really political album. He has been active in the environmental movement. Most recently he's perfomed at the original Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

I still find myself believing that every war we've fought since the seventies was an attempt make up for losing in Nam. So far, no luck. Even if you can justify any kind of war we have to be careful or you end up with:

The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

T S Elliot in Murder in the Cathedral.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Same nephew as the loaded whipped cream beaters, just a few years older.

Mom’s youngest brother took after his dad. Kind of short and kind of round. I’m not sure how it happened, but he started doing Santa Claus every Christmas. Naturally he included his nephews in his rounds when they came west of the mountains for the holiday.

We have a picture taken when Tim might have been about five. He’s looking back over his shoulder at the jolly old elf. There had been a huge family get together the summer before and Tim had a “you sound really familiar but…” look on his face. But, my favorite memory happened a couple of years later.

The kids were here. Santa came in with his bells and a “ho, ho, ho,” From the direction of the couch came. “I’ve been good,” (of course he had)

Monday, November 28, 2011


This was written by Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk, social critic and prolific author, as a preface to his collection of essays in Faith and Violence. He wrote it for the Advent season of 1967. His last as it happens, before his death in Thailand in 1968. Merton was writing at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the beginnings of the opposition to the Viet Nam war. Now we’re faced with the one percent vs the ninety nine percent, occupy Wall Street, the war on terrorism; doesn’t seem that much has changed in the forty odd years since Merton wrote this essay.

“The Hassidic rabbi Baal She Tov, once told the following story. Two men were traveling through a forest. One was drunk and the other was sober. As they went, they were attacked by robbers, beaten, robbed of all they had including their clothing. When they emerged, people asked them if they got through the woods without trouble. The drunken man said: “Everything was fine;; nothing went wrong; we had no trouble at all.”

They said: “How does it happen that you are naked and covered with blood?”

He did not have an answer.

The sober man said: “Do not believe him he is drunk. It was a disaster. Robbers beat us without mercy and took everything we had. Be warned by what happened to us, and look out for yourselves.”

For some “faithful”-and for some unbelievers too-“faith” seems to be a kind of drunkenness, an anesthetic, that keeps you from realizing and believing that anything can every go wrong. Such faith can be immersed in a world of violence and make no objection: the violence is perfectly all right. It is quite normal-unless of course it happens to be exercised by Negroes. Then it must be immediately put down instantly be superior force. The drunkenness of this kind of faith-whether in a religious message of in a political ideology-enables us to go to life without seeing our own violence is a disaster and that overwhelming force by which we seek to assert ourselves and our own self interest may well be our ruin.

Is faith a narcotic dream in a world of heavily armed robbers, or is it an awakening?

Is faith a convenient nightmare in which we are attacked and obliged to destroy our attackers?

What if we awaken to discover that we are the robbers, and our destruction comes from the root of hate in ourselves?”

Abbey of Gethsemane
Advent 1967

I read this for the first time several years ago. Rereading this tied to my own searching it really shook me this time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


On a day that involves pumpkin pie and whipped cream I remembered something that happened when one of my nephews was still small, say about three or so. We were babysitting and I was whipping some cream and there was Tim, looking up at me. Looking very hopeful.

“You like whipped cream?”

Nod yes.

“Does your mom let you have a beater?”

Nod yes.

“Do you want one of these?” (silly question)

Nod yes.

“Knock yourself out kid,”

Big smile, messy kid. I made sure to load up that beater before I gave it to him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I shied away from making home made pizza for a long time. Just mom and me, we couldn't really go through the kind of pie I make before it got stale. And then boing, sound of hand hitting forehead. We have what we want, slice the rest of the concoction, put the slices on an old cookie sheet (which just happens to fit in the space above the ice cubes) and freeze them. And you have the second favorite word in the house: LEFTOVERS.

So it was thick crust pizza for dinner. Garlic and herb crust. Turkey/Italian sausage with peppers, mushrooms, and olives. And genius here FORGOT the onions. With an apple celery salad that mom came up with. Chopped apples, celery, raisins with greek honey yogurt for a dressing.

Actually we use the freezer trick for several things. This summer's green peppers were sliced, frozen and bagged. Zucchini shredded or diced got the same treatment. I've even taken a loaf of homemade bread, thick sliced it, and double bagged it after it was nicely frozen. Works very well. Only right now the freezer is full of fruit and vegetables. LOL


My sister bless her heart is probably more conservative than mom and I are. She posted a link on my Facebook page this morning and I followed it. Went looking through the postings and found something that I did not need to see on the day before Thanksgiving. But, the cartoon looked familiar. I'd seen something like it within the last couple of days. I was right. The original cartoon with Jim Morin's byline was published in the Eugene Register Guard yesterday. The Miami Herald probably published it the 20th. It didn't take long for someone to photoshop it, take out Morin's byline and come up with this abomination is the kindest term I can come up with.

And this is the website I found the second cartoon on. Ironically the website is titled Truth, Justice and the American Way. You'll have to scroll down a bit find the cartoon. Let 'em know what you think.

Cross posted in Women On.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It is night.

The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the Creator's presence.

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done.
What has not been done, has not been done,
Let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

In the name of the Creator we pray.


Found the original in the New Zealand Prayer Book. Yes, I sprang for a used copy and I believe I may have finally, finally found what I've been looking for for a very long time. I've adapted the wording just a little bit.

Monday, November 14, 2011


This is the best shot I could get through the window. Since Amber discovered the extra carpeting she just "loves" her corner. I think I can do a little bit more to make things as nicer before the really cold weather hits. I wish she'd use a kitty condo or something like that, but this little girl makes very sure she always has a minimum of two exits at all times so a condo with one door is out, at least for now.


Been spending too much time following the slow motion train wreck that are the Republican party's presidential hopefuls. Darn it the whole crew wouldn't make one good candidate. Phooooey.

Anyway Amber is settling in in the back. Mom and I took some carpet scraps and fixed up the corner a little better. It didn't take her long to figure out that the carpet made things a little bit better. She still won't let us get very close. But, she camps out in the back regularly. She likes the back and there's an added advantage. She can boogie under the enclosed deck in a flash and make her way to the other side of the yard before anybody who makes her nervous can catch up with her. She's had time and peace to work on her grooming. Aside from one mat on her back she's much fluffier and looking pretty good.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Realized this evening that as of October 22 it has been three twenty nine years since my great grandfather (seven greats) Robert Heaton, his wife Alice and their family arrived in the colony of Pennsylvania aboard a ship called The Lamb. Over three centuries. Having trouble wrapping my mind around it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Amber has discovered the south west corner of the back yard. It's quiet, doesn't see a lot of activity. If there's going to be sunshine, even in winter it's nice back there.

Seems to be a place where she can relax, groom and (I didn't get a shot of that) take a nice relaxed nap.

She's been doing this for a few days, a little more each day, got her attention this morning from the back bedroom window. She looked like she was thinking, hopped down, gave me a very direct look and scuttled around the house. By the time I got to the front she was sitting on the porch by the bowl. So she got a little snack for a reward. She had her snack and popped back to the bench for awhile. Doing everything we can to tie her to the place.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I was following threads on the net. Looking for sites that might have information on combining Christian and pagan beliefs. Came across this beautiful version of the Lord's Prayer. Leave it to the Kiwis to do such a fantastic job.

The Lord's Prayer
(from the New Zealand Prayer Book
Rev ed.: He Karakia Mihinare O Aotearoa)

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen

I've barely had a chance to explore the site. Take a look and enjoy yourself. Christo pagan information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Anyone curious about what led me to this let me know. We can talk.

Monday, October 17, 2011


“Movements which began gloriously and brought liberty and new life have died out as mere obstructions, not because they had outlived their usefulness but because they allowed themselves to drift into mere negation. The thing they stood for was forgotten in the effort to hinder some other movement which was working for the same object in a different way. What the world demands is always the positive thing, however it may be presented, and those who do nothing to advance it are ruthlessly pushed aside.”

Ernest Scott in Varieties of New Testament Religion. What is true in religion is equally true in politics. You can keep saying no for just so long before you start hearing the question “when will you say yes?” If you can’t answer that question don’t be surprised when you’re pushed aside. The Tea Party and the radicals in both parties need to remember this. Their fellow citizens are getting tired of hearing what they can't do. It's time to tell us what we can do.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


We need the bounty of the world, but outside of a few animals that we've created to be largely dependent on us, the world will got on quite nicely without us. Tom Cowan chose to address some of the spirits at least as mothers, the spirits of creation and nurturing.

Mothers of Life,

You bless the earth that gives us food, shelter, clothing and tools for our work and play, and that provides the many paths that lead us through life.


Mothers of Life,

You bring water from the sky and from deep in the Earth to cleanse and refresh us and keep us moist and living.


Mothers of Life,

You give days when the air is crisp and sweet scented, and days when it is heavy with dew and the dampness of decay.


Mothers of Life,

You nurture us in the long bright days of summer and in the rich darkness of night and winter, you teach us the mysteries of the moon and stars.


From Yearning for the Wind by Tom Cowan.

Change forgive to Bless Us , or Thank You and it changes the meaning of the prayer. What is being forgiven? Why are we asking for forgiveness?

Are we asking the Mothers, the goddesses of life and the sovereignty of the land to forgive us for unholy mess we’ve made of the Creator’s gifts to us.

Here it is. For some reason it just did NOT want to be written.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


In ancient Ireland the king is the center, the hub of a circle that includes battle, prosperity, music and vision. When the king understands that the truth is the foundation of his position, the realm flourishes. The king’s truth is responsible for the well being of almost every part of Celtic society. And the truth is comes from his union with the divine feminine, the Goddess who lives in the land itself.

Legend has it that a first century high king was instructed by his Druid advisor about the importance of the King’s Truth

By the King’s Truth great clans are ruled,
By the King’s Truth great death is warded off,
By the King’s Truth great battles are driven off into the enemy’s country,
By the King’s Truth great right prevails,
By the King’s Truth every vessel is full,
By the King’s Truth fine weather comes in each fitting season:
Winter fine and frosty,
Spring dry and windy,
Summer warm with showers of rain,
Autumn heavy with dew and fruitful.
By the King’s Truth the land is fruitful and every child is born worthy,
By the King’s Truth there is an abundance of tall grain.

Let him magnify the Truth, it will magnify him,
Let him strengthen Truth, it will strengthen him,
Let him guard the Truth, it will guard him,
Let him exalt the Truth, it will exalt him.

From Yearning for the Wind by Tom Cowan. If I thought it would do any good I would send of copy of this to every Republican candidate running for president. But, it wouldn’t do any good would it?


Using Lisa's definition, it is officially fall in Springfield. Saw our first junco this afternoon. Along with siskins, house sparrows and two goldfinches.

It's been kind of dry spiritually the last few months. Trees stubbornly remain trees not gateways to the Otherworld.

Oh, and the shot is from the web. I have yet to get a junco in our yard to sit still long enough to get a shot. :-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


From the Iroquois

Our religion is all about thanking the Creator.
That’s what we do when we pray.
We don’t ask him for things,
We thank Him.
We thank Him for the world and every animal and plant in it.

We thank Him for everything that exists.
We don’t take it for granted that the tree’s just there.
We thank the Creator for that tree.
If we don’t thank Him maybe the Creator will take that tree away.

That’s what the ceremonies are all about; that’s why
They are important, even for the White Man.
We pray for the harmony of the whole world.
The Creator wants to be thanked….

From Meetings with Native American Spiritual Elders By Steve Wall and Jeremy Elder

Read this and then think about all the prayers we've heard overheard over the years. So seldom do you hear a simple thank you for what we've already been given.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I know, I know reading anything Glenn Beck comes up with these days usually inspires a feeling of there but for the grace of God. Does make we wonder if he's on the same things Poe was taking when he wrote Telltale Heart and a Cask of Amontillado.

But I did get a kick out of this exchange of comments.

First commenter:

This kind of rhetoric is the same that played out during the run up to the Rwandan genocide. Don't be surprised when the baggers resort to the 2nd when ballot box results prove they are not the majority.


As a semi liberal, tree hugging, Quaker peacenik I never really thought I'd be saying thank God for the second amendment. It means that the far righties aren't the only onces with the ability to defend themselves¬.

First commenter:

“I was in Phoenix on business a couple of years back and noticed a healthcare reform protest. On one side there were about 40 liberals in favor. On the other about 200 baggers opposed. About a third of the bagger crowd was armed (including assault rifles). No one in the liberal crowd was armed. I couldn't believe what I was seeing in an American street. After 20 minutes, 4 men arrived, also armed. They crossed the street towards the liberals, stood in front of them, turned towards the baggers and unfurled a large sign that read "Liberals own guns too." The bagger crowd acted shocked and indignant but toned down their aggressive behavior. I hope they don't decide to test their misconcept¬ions in the near future because it will be a shocking lesson to say the least.”


Talk about your bucket of ice water dumped over the head moment. Shocked and indignant. What, you guys thought you were the only ones playing in the sandbox?

I love it. The old we can rant and rave and bring our AK47's to the auditorium where the President of this country is speaking and we're just excercising our constitutional right to carry. Then it's OMG the other side has guns too. Mercy me, whatever shall we do. Laughin in a very rueful sort of way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The current Republican favorite, Herman Cain, opened his pie hole on the subject of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Herman Cain on Occupy Wall Street: If you don't have a job and you're not rich it's your fault.

This was one of the comments on the article. Thank you butlercaddie
“Comments like this demonstrat¬e exactly why Herman Cain will not get any of the AfAm vote. They of all people can tell you that working hard under the rich man's rules are nowhere NEAR enough. That unchecked local government, and unregulate¬d business, will guarandamt¬ee that the worker does NOT get rich.

It IS class warfare, and they started it.”

And this was my reply to the first comment with some editing. People were posting so fast that I doubt if anyone ever read it.

It's worse than that. In earlier recessions, even the Republicans and big business accepted that you had to get some people working again so we could buy their stuff. They needed the American middle class.

With the rise of the multinational corporations there are expanding middle classes in other countries, especially in India and China. A whole new market for their stuff. They don't really need their American middle class customers anymore. With the increasing attacks on the safety net you have to start wondering if they've decided they don't need "us" anymore. Careful ladies and gentleman, there is no one more dangerous than enough parents with hungry,sick children. You may just come to regret your support for "second amendment solutions

Monday, October 3, 2011


This letter appeared in the local paper. It was written in response to one of those everybody hates the conservative letters. This writer expressed himself far better than I could.

Dear conservative writers, radio personalities and others: I don’t hate you. In fact, there is little in the world that I hate. I dislike some things. And I like others very much. But hate is a very strong word and I think you are wrong in assigning it to me, my behaviors and my preferences.

I do disagree with you. Sometimes I disagree strongly. Sometimes I disagree vehemently. But I do not hate you. Sometimes you are wrong. When I point out the error of your ways, it is not because I hate you or what you did. I just see things differently.

I am not prepared to grant to you my unconditional support and endorsement. But that doesn’t mean I hate you. I may suggest or even advocate a way to do things that is consistent with my political leanings. That doesn’t mean that I hate you. I may stand up for my or others’ constitutionally guaranteed rights. But that doesn’t mean I hate you.

I may look weird to you. But that doesn’t mean I hate you. I might not love you, but I don’t hate you. I hope I have made myself clear.

Lawrence C. Caird

Thursday, September 15, 2011


What is it with these ultra conservatives? Lessen the power of the people to select their representative? Effectively torpedo an independent federal judiciary. The judges busines is the law, not catering to transitory majorities or failing to protect minority rights.

Rick Perry has many ideas about how to change the American government’s founding document. From ending lifetime tenure for federal judges to completely scrapping two whole amendments, the Constitution would see a major overhaul if the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate had his druthers.

Perry laid out these proposed innovations to the founding document in his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington. He has occasionally mentioned them on the campaign trail. Several of his ideas fall within the realm of mainstream conservative thinking today, but, as you will see, there are also a few surprises.

1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.

The nation’s framers established a federal court system whereby judges with “good behavior” would be secure in their job for life. Perry believes that provision is ready for an overhaul.

“The Judges,” reads Article III, “both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

Perry makes it no secret that he believes the judges on the bench over the past century have acted beyond their constitutional bounds. The problem, Perry reasons, is that members of the judiciary are “unaccountable” to the people, and their lifetime tenure gives them free license to act however they want. In his book, the governor speaks highly of plans to limit their tenure and offers proposals about how to accomplish it.

“‘[W]e should take steps to restrict the unlimited power of the courts to rule over us with no accountability,” he writes in Fed Up! ”There are a number of ideas about how to do this . . . . One such reform would be to institute term limits on what are now lifetime appointments for federal judges, particularly those on the Supreme Court or the circuit courts, which have so much power. One proposal, for example, would have judges roll off every two years based on seniority.”

2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.

Ending lifetime tenure for federal justices isn’t the only way Perry has proposed suppressing the power of the courts. His book excoriates at length what he sees as overreach from the judicial branch. (The title of Chapter Six is “Nine Unelected Judges Tell Us How to Live.”)

Giving Congress the ability to veto their decisions would be another way to take the Court down a notch, Perry says.

“[A]llow Congress to override the Supreme Court with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, which risks increased politicization of judicial decisions, but also has the benefit of letting the people stop the Court from unilaterally deciding policy,” he writes.

3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.

The Sixteenth Amendment gives Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” It should be abolished immediately, Perry says.

Calling the Sixteenth Amendment “the great milestone on the road to serfdom,” Perry’s writes that it provides a virtually blank check to the federal government to use for projects with little or no consultation from the states.

4. End the direct election of senators by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.

Overturning this amendment would restore the original language of the Constitution, which gave state legislators the power to appoint the members of the Senate.

Ratified during the Progressive Era in 1913 , the same year as the Sixteenth Amendment, the Seventeenth Amendment gives citizens the ability to elect senators on their own. Perry writes that supporters of the amendment at the time were “mistakenly” propelled by “a fit of populist rage.”

“The American people mistakenly empowered the federal government during a fit of populist rage in the early twentieth century by giving it an unlimited source of income (the Sixteenth Amendment) and by changing the way senators are elected (the Seventeenth Amendment),” he writes.

5. Require the federal government to balance its budget every year.

Of all his proposed ideas, Perry calls this one “the most important,” and of all the plans, a balanced budget amendment likely has the best chance of passage.

“The most important thing we could do is amend the Constitution–now–to restrict federal spending,” Perry writes in his book. “There are generally thought to be two options: the traditional ‘balanced budget amendment’ or a straightforward ‘spending limit amendment,’ either of which would be a significant improvement. I prefer the latter . . . . Let’s use the people’s document–the Constitution–to put an actual spending limit in place to control the beast in Washington.”

A campaign to pass a balanced budget amendment through Congress fell short by just one vote in the Senate in the 1990s.

Last year, House Republicans proposed a spending-limit amendment that would limit federal spending to 20 percent of the economy. According to the amendment’s language, the restriction could be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress or by a declaration of war.

6. The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states.

Despite saying last month that he was “fine with” states like New York allowing gay marriage, Perry has now said he supports a constitutional amendment that would permanently ban gay marriage throughout the country and overturn any state laws that define marriage beyond a relationship between one man and one woman.

“I do respect a state’s right to have a different opinion and take a different tack if you will, California did that,” Perry told the Christian Broadcasting Network in August. “I respect that right, but our founding fathers also said, ‘Listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the Constitution here’s the way you do it’.

In an interview with The Ticket earlier this month, Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said that even though it would overturn laws in several states, the amendment still fits into Perry’s broader philosophy because amendments require the ratification of three-fourths of the states to be added to the Constitution.

7. Abortion should be made illegal throughout the country.

Like the gay marriage issue, Perry at one time believed that abortion policy should be left to the states, as was the case before the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. But in the same Christian Broadcasting Network interview, Perry said that he would support a federal amendment outlawing abortion because it was “so important…to the soul of this country and to the traditional values [of] our founding fathers.”

Very, very scary; yes?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I was raised in a relatively liberal Methodist congregation. Heck, we didn’t even do Advent, much less Lent, and since I spent four years in the youth choir, I think I would have noticed those beautiful candles if we did. And I suspect that I’m not the only one who didn’t grow up in a congregation that held the belief that “we have to keep other people from sinning so God won’t punish all of us.”

What did we hear when New Orleans was devastated? Pat Robertson descending prophet like from above to announce that Katrina was God’s judgment on the city for its sins. Although he’s been strangely quiet about Texas. I mean the state is beyond bone dry and the fires have been burning for months. Come on Pat, either bad luck happens to the best of cities and states or Texas has some serious ‘splainin’ to do.

We keep hearing the mantra “individual liberty.” But that liberty only goes so far. It seems to be the liberty to convince people to buy what I want to sell them is protected. The liberty to privatize every square inch of the country and exploit it to the limit under the manta of “drill baby, drill.” Or the liberty to exploit every resource to the limit even though it robs our children’s future. The old Lakota had it right when they said that “we don’t own the earth, we borrow it from our children.”

However that liberty doesn’t seem to extend to personal or private actions that some faith groups call sins. Abortion, gay marriage, being gay, even interracial marriage until a few years ago are sins in some faith groups and are to be prevented at all costs. Yes, abortion ends a potential human life. But, war, pollution, bigotry, hate, poverty, and injustice can create a world where that life may not be worth living. And it seems that where creating a world with less war, clean air and water, and some measure of justice interferes with the right to make a buck no matter how, the buck wins almost every time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


This is a repost of Amber, the porch kitty. She was not only on the porch waiting this morning, she was right by the door. She retreats to the second step while we put out the food. I think she's figured out just how fast we can get down the steps, which isn't very fast to be honest. She's actually meowing loud enough to be heard now. I'm glad we got her moved over here, the house next door has sold and they're doing quite a bit of refurbishing of the backyard that would probably scare the bejezus out of her if she was still hanging out. Our yard is far more interesting. Plenty of places to hang out or play hide and seek. she also looks a lot more relaxed now than she did to start with.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


That's what mom calls the porch kitty. She's usually waiting on the porch about six am. Right now she retreats down one step, just out of reach and waits until you're on the other side of the door to come up. She's taken to shuttling between our house and the house across the street that also has a former street cat hanging out. The center of the yard has several day lilies, a lilac and a barberry. Perfect it seems for hanging out; I see a little orange flash every once in awhile; usually in the afternoon when it's about time for a snack. She meows; I think. I mean I see her mouth move but her meow is smaller than she is.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Now we know why members of congress held their noses and passed the legislation to raise the debt ceiling. It’s August and the members needed to take off for their customary August recess. There was a time when it took a lot longer to get home to shake hands with the voters. No TV, no cell phones, no twitter, no facebook, no jets that can get you from one coast to the other in hours instead of days. And no air conditioning. I’ve read that DC was considered a hard ship post for most European diplomats back in the days before central air. It’s hot, it’s humid. I think they had to drain a swamp to build the city. The country is still on the ropes and one branch of the elected hired help pretty much takes the month off.

Polls released last night and early this morning have a damning message for that branch of the elected hired help. The voters are not happy campers. I’m not sure this bunch is any worse than the reps that came before them. After all, nobody’s gone after their opponents with a walking stick since a member of the South Carolina delegation beat Charles Sumner senseless with his walking stick, in chambers, before the Civil War.

How could the members of congress make us a little happier? Well they could skip that August recess for starters. We’ve got jets now. You can go home on Thursday, shake hands with the voters and still be back to work on Monday. Plus you have cell phones, high speed internet and air conditioning. Cut back on the other time off that seems to coincide with major holidays. Take the same time off that most working Americans receive. Which isn’t very much.

It wouldn’t hurt to announce that the only pledge an elected official needs to make is made when the oath of office is taken. And it would also help to remember that just because you won it doesn’t give you the right to ignore the opinions of the voters who supported the other candidate. Especially in a three or four way race. Yeah, you got biggest total, but the combined totals of the other candidates is larger than yours, so a little humility would go a long way. Oh, and thank your lucky stars that we don’t run the country like a private business because right now your performance reviews would be bloody dismal.

Cross posted in Women On

Sunday, July 31, 2011


No pictures this time. Amber was waiting by the bowls on the porch this morning. She retreated to the sidewalk when I came out but was on the second step by the time I was close enough to put her food out. I think she's realized that she's protected on three sides and can hear anyone/anything trying to sneak up on her on the open side;she's a lot more relaxed about eating and sticks around longer. Plus anybody else is going to have to be pretty confident to come this close to the house.

Where she goes afterwards? I'm not sure, but the yard has plenty of places for a small kiitty person to lay up and never be seen.

Friday, July 29, 2011


There’s a story on HuffPost about a poll taken that shows that a majority of Americans don’t support defunding Planned Parenthood. One comment basically said “don’t expect me to support you with my taxes.”

Well bub or sis if you don’t want to support anyone else with your taxes, I suggest that;

You stay off any roads from the street in front of your house to the freeways. Most of them were built with tax money.

Don’t fly anywhere. The air traffic controllers are paid with tax money.

If you live in the Columbia/Snake River, Colorado River, or TVA drainage systems don’t use any electricity. The dams were built with tax money.

Don’t buy any out of season produce. Almost half of the nation’s produce comes from California irrigated with Colorado River water from those tax supported dams.

Don’t buy any products that could have come through the Mississippi River, Great Lakes, Saint Lawrence Seaway network. Many of the levees, locks and channels were built with or maintained with tax money. Same for any products that come through the Columbia/Snake river network. The locks are part of the tax payer built dams.

Don’t buy a house with an FHA mortgage, it’s government administered. I could continue. Guess you’d better go hide under a rock.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Amber was waiting at the door this morning right on time. I think she heard me check the porch. She wasn't there, but when I came back with food she was sitting on the middle step with a "yes" look on her face. Now to convince her that porch will be a good place to hang out when the weather turns wet and chillyy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Our neighbors to the south had to move, because of health problems. The wife was looking after three cats. One was an innie/outie. And the other two were semi ferals. She was able to catch one, but this fuzz ball stayed steadfastly out of reach.

We spent about a month putting food out on her beloved deck and hoped she was getting enough. She’d watch and if we got too close she’d duck under the deck and peek out. A couple of weeks ago she seemed to figure out where the people with the food could be found and would be waiting in the side yard, then book. We tried tossing a little food her way while she was still on our side of the fence. It didn’t take long to find her waiting in the front yard. She’s eating on the steps now. And has started showing up in the evening. She’s also discovered the neighbor’s woodpile. She looks like a fuzzy little queen, perched up on the top, surveying the neighborhood. Mom calls her Amber. I think she looks like a tribble with ears and eyes. I was finally able to get a couple of shots through the window, but only from the back. Her eyes are the same color as her fur, and she has a tiny little meow.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I know the Tea Baggers claim to be the heirs of the original Boston Tea Party. Probably the politest mob in history. They didn't object to paying taxes, but they wanted to have representatives in the body deciding on the taxes.

No, our modern baggers have a closer resemblance to the British response to the Tea Party. Send over a fleet, occupy the city, close the Port of Boston, demand the tea be paid for even though by closing the Port there's no money to pay for it and then refuse to negotiate.

ladies and gentlemen time to hoist your true colors.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Tomorrow we start a flying trip to see my oldest nephew married off. She's a sweetheart and hey, I finally get a niece. That's the good part. We're also taking as many of our comforts as we can squeeze into the car, because to be honest spending seven or eight hours in a car was fun, about twenty years ago.

One thing I can count on. In spite of all the extra litter boxes Lucky will meet us as the door and make it very, very clear that all is not well in her little corner of the world. Too bad all our problems can't be solved with a pooper scooper.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The new batch of Republicans in congress don't want to raise the debt limit without deep cuts. That hasn't stopped them from trying to cook a fair amount of pork.

One, NO NEW SPENDING until we know what we have to spend.

Two, one way or another I want to see none of the above on the ballot. Either printed on the ballot or written in on the write in line. It would be a kick if none of the above managed to get the most votes. At least if it captured a fair percentage of the votes neither side could claim a mandate.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I could have predicted when I saw the original headline that there was no way there was going to be a harmonious outcome.

A newly elected Eugene city councilman had put in a suggestion that the council open its weekly meeting with the pledge of allegiance. Strictly voluntary of course; riiiiiiight. That and a couple of bucks will buy you a really lousy cup of coffee. Given the times you can guess how well sitting out the pledge would go over, especially for the other council members. Well, Eugene being Eugene, a compromise was worked out. A couple of councilors said a thing or two that they probably wouldn’t have if they’d known the kind of attention we’d be getting. And what they did say Fox News managed to mangle, but hey "we report, you decide."

Eugene is probably best known, as far as I knew, for University of Oregon football and track, Birkenstocks, tree hugging, the Bach Festival and being somewhat left of center. I’d like to think that nobody on the council, including the guy who made the suggestion imagined that anybody further away than Portland would give shit whether the Eugene City Council and the people attending the meetings said the Pledge or not. The council voted on a compromise. They’ll say it four times a year at meetings closest to holidays like the Fourth of July and have readings from documents like the constitution or the declaration. And that, they thought would be that. Boy, were we in for an unpleasant surprise.

Fox News sent folks to cover the story and as usual told about half the story and that half was half baked. Although I was surprised to discover that there really are people in Eugene that participate in the yearly World Naked Bike Ride. Gee, what you miss when you only read section A of the paper. And Ken Kesey was just to cool to ignore. And there’s a slightly different version from a local ABC affiliate. And as is usual for these times we’re getting e-mailed, tweeted, retweeted and generally mauled by folks who have way too much time on their hands and nothing better to do with it.

Perhaps the best website I came across is the Moral Liberal. You see the organization they refer back to; the American Center for Law and Justice was founded by Pat Robertson. Pat Robertson of 700 Club Haiti had an earthquake because of voodoo and Katrina hit New Orleans because of the gays fame. When Mr. Robertson was much younger and a Marine 2nd lieutenant during the Korean War he had a chance to put his patriotism where it counted. Instead he used his father’s influence as a US Senator to get himself pulled off the troop ship when it hit Japan, supposedly for further training. For the record he spent most of his tour at Masan, Korea keeping the bar at the officer’s club stocked.

Two kinds of people give me hives. Those who pray loudly in public and those who proclaim their patriotism loudly in public. I need some calamine; quickly.

There are an unusual number of links in this entry, it was that or a small book.

Friday, June 24, 2011


One of the four foxgloves we planted last year. They are supposed to be perennials so we'll see next year. I ordered four and three of them have already split two for one. They're such a wonderful strawberry color and they're about a month late.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


“Look at the animals roaming in the forest; God’s spirit dwells within them. Look at the birds flying across the sky; God’s spirit dwells within them. Look at the tiny insects crawling in the grass; God’s spirit dwells within them. Look at the fish in the river and the sea; God’s spirit dwells within them. There is no creature on earth in whom God is absent…………When God pronounced that his Creation was good, it was not only that his hand had fashioned every creature; it was that his breath had brought every creature to life. Look to at the great trees of the forest; look at the wild flowers and the grass in the fields; look even at your crops. God’s spirit is present within all plants as well/ The presence of God’s spirit in all living things is what makes them beautiful; and if we look with God’s eyes, nothing on earth is ugly.” Attributed to Pelagius from Listening for the Heartbeat of God.

We don’t really know how Christianity came to Britain. Some believe it came with the Roman army. It could just as well have come with the Middle Eastern traders who came to Britain to trade for copper and tin, among other products. If it did, it came as the middle eastern version before the political aspirations of the vicar of Rome and before the empire split in two. This early version of Christianity seems to have combined with the native Celtic view of the goodness of Nature. There is a line of monasteries and foundations that stretches from Ireland through the north of Britain, through northern Europe and down the length of Italy. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the monastery of Bobbio, founded by Columbanus, isn’t that far from Assissi. And Saint Francis sounds very like a Celt at times.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Republican Rick Santorum; former senator from Pennsylvania, current candidate for president and (in my opinion) leading contender for nut of the year along with Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman et al, opened his pie hole and announced that American students pathetic scores on national US history tests are due to a left wing conspiracy.

Actually a link with the Santorum story ties the problem to No Child Left Behind. NCLB emphasizes language and math to the exclusion of almost everything else in the curriculum. Unfortunately attempts to revise the law so that schools would fell freer to teach something besides test material have stalled and it doesn't look like anything will change anytime soon.

Years ago I took a class titled A History of Education in the United States. The instructor spent a good part of the first session explaining the name of the course. In his opinion there is no “THE” history of anything. Any history reflects the point of view of the people writing it. A detailed history of colonial New England would probably fill a large volume.

Almost as soon as the Massachusetts colonists arrived they began to disagree between themselves on the fundamentals; especially who could vote. One split was over land ownership plus church membership vs. church membership alone. That’s how Connecticut was born. Another split was over church membership itself; and Roger Williams ended up buying land to the south and lo and behold Rhode Island was born. Depending on your point of view; histories written about these events could look radically different.

Which leads to my personal favorite period; England under the Tudors and Stuarts. But, there is no way that you can write “the” history of the period unless it’s so general it’s useless. I invested in the DVD set of The Tudor’s series. The actor who played Henry doesn’t look much like him but I got past that. Ok, he’s slimmer and darker than the real Henry, but the man can act. There were a few scenes where his take on Henry’s reaction’s scared the heck out of me.

Season three is actually the most interesting one. They spent nearly four episodes of story line on the Pilgrimage Grace, a little known (outside of England) rising in the northern counties of England protesting the rise of Protestantism and the suppression of the monasteries. Heck I took a three term course in English history and I don’t remember this rebellion even being mentioned.

If you believe that the monarch’s power is derived from God and that rebellion is a mortal sin, then your take on the brutal suppression of the rising will be different from
a historian who believes that monarch and subject are bound by the same laws. And the histories you write will probably by radically different.

Heck look at US history. Those of us in the north call that unfortunate series of incidents in th, early 1860’s The Civil War. Folks on the other side still call it The War of Northern Aggression. And on a more modern note changes to the social studies curriculum in Texas; downplaying Thomas Jefferson and giving more coverage to Ronald Reagan for example, have caused controversy in the last year or so.

It might be easier to teach history if we could agree which verstion we're going to teach. Yeah, I know, I'm not holding my breath either.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


"But as to religion, I never read the Gospels and never shall. I'm sure they enlighten you, but I prefer them to remain mysterious. …….I've always been drawn to a phrase used by the French peasants: 'Praise the God of all, drink the wine, and let the world be the world.'"

An aging Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk in the last episode of the Tudors.

I didn't fall off the face of the earth I just discovered the Tudors DVD's. So it's off the shamans for a bit and back to English history for a bit.

Maybe it would be a more peaceful world if we could just praise God (leaving a bit of wiggle room for defining God), enjoy the wine and let the world take care of itself (doing as little damage for our part as possible.) After all the world has been taking care of itself for a very long time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Back in the Viet Nam War era there was a popular poster with the caption "What if they held a war and nobody came?

What if we held an election and nobody voted? What if everyone, or almost everyone used the write in option and wrote in none of the above. Even if some voted for the politicians on the ballot; they would be a clear minority candidate. It might be a signal to the current idjits on both sides that we refuse to be led around by the nose any longer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Just realized that our current political arena resembles a giant casino where the only game is the shell game. While too many of us are busy trying to keep track of little peas labeled Rush, Newt, Glen and Sarah. The tables, chairs, the very hall itself is being stolen out from under us. Most of the possible candidates don't even rise to the level of mediocrity.

I admire the president. I truyly hope he can catch the rire and repeat 2008, but there's a time to be a conciliator and a time to get down and dirty and start swinging that shillelagh. If he has to crack a few heads in both parties, so be it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


The last survivor of three purple and white lupins we got a few years ago. We moved them here, we moved them there. And finally put the survivor out with the lavender and day lilies out of sheer desparation. "And I'm very greatful, thank you very much," If we had any bumble bees they'd be lovin' it. But, very few bumbles the last couple of years.

I wonder what it is about the south side of the house? Rhodies and blueberries love the location. Everything else? Sound of a very large raspberry being blown.

It is supposed to get over eighty today. I'll believe it when it happens and if it does it'll only be because the sun is just about as high as it's going to get this year. Very, very strange year.

Friday, May 27, 2011


“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter, the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!” —William Pitt the elder

Just try pulling this off in the good old USA in the age of the Patriot Act. Anybody gets a chance to ask a question of a "pub; ask 'em what William Pitt said about an Englishman's home and the forces of the Crown. Ok, so theory and actual practice probably didn't always match up, but at least the Prime Minister of England was on the record. He became Lord North and his son William the younger became the youngest Prime Minister of England in history. He was about twenty four at the time. Couldn't even get elected to OUR lamentable house of representatives.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I posted a version of this over on Women On and my blog in Creation Spirit Communities. It's hard to piss me off, but I'm officially, royally, totally pissed off.

What is it with those who call the shots? These fishermen, rig workers and other Gulf Coast residents who helped clean up BP's mess don't wear suits and ties so they don't count? They speak with a Cajun drawl instead of Mid Atlantic bureaucratese so the power brokers can write them off? Gulf Coast Syndrome in the Colorado Springs Independet. Read it and weep.

Oh, and for a real kick in the face. The dispersant BP used over here in the colonies is banned in the UK. And our EPA didn't have the balls to force them to use something safer.

And remember that our current speaker of US House gained national "recognition" when accused the president of "picking on BP" when Obama insisted on BP putting money in an account to cover some of the costs. Not enough it seems.

So be an ecological Paul(ine) Revere and spread the word.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


This little squirrel has been willing to let me get within a couple of feet of her.


“Jesus Christ, you don’t know what it is? Do you?” Henry VIII to his “physician” in the Tudors. I sprang for the DVD set and have been dipping in and out of the series. Enough that it’s set me thinking about some things. Henry had at least two accidents during jousts. Sometime in the 1530’s he developed an ulcer on his upper leg. The best current theory is a bone infection that flared up periodically and finally permanently.

History records that the condition was painful, sometimes extremely painful. And we’ve all seen how our modern politicians are treated if they appear even a little bit hesitant about making a decision. A monarch claiming absolute power can hardly tell his ministers “you know, I was having a really bad day yesterday and you caught me at a bad time, I’ve changed my mind about……”

Imagine how Fox news would treat a modern president in this age of cell phone recoding and Twitter accounts. And then imagine the hot house of any European court with its shifting factions and power struggles, . I’m not sure what would be more dangerous; ministers who didn’t realize what is happening or ministers who did. Imagine a clique with an agenda and they’ve come to realize when to approach a monarch or another leader not at the best time, but the worst. I wonder how many “unwise” decisions have been made over the years because someone with absolute or nearly absolute power hurt like hell and wanted to be left alone.

Friday, May 20, 2011


the more they seem to stay the same.

We don’t subscribe to HBO or Showtime so I didn’t stumble over the Tudors until BBC America started carrying the series. Interesting, and not nearly as much sex as the original ads implied. What’s interesting here is that Henry, either as something of a hypochondriac or probably in pure self defense was an amateur herbalist. Early in his reign parliament passed a charter to protect herbalists of the time. This charter became part of the English common law in effect in the American colonies. And has never been repealed so this charter is still part of the laws of the original thirteen states.

I don’t know what some of the conditions described are; but it seems that not much has changed since about 1512 when this charter was passed. I really enjoyed the accusation that too many of the doctors and surgeons didn’t know very much, expected to be well paid, and often did more harm than good. Doesn't sound like much has changed.

Herbalists Charter of Henry the VIII

Annis Tircesimo Quarto and Tricesimo Quinto. Henry VIII Regis. Cap. VIII. An Act That Persons, Being No Common Surgeons, May Administer Outward Medicines

Note: Under the General Laws of the Colonies taken over by the U.S.A., these rights are still in force in the original thirteen states, and have never been repealed.

Where in the Parliament holden at Westminster in the third Year of the King's most gracious reign, amongst other things, for the avoiding of Sorceries, Witchcrafts, and other Inconveniences, it was enacted, that no Person within the City of London, nor within Seven Miles of the same, should take upon him to exercise and occupy as Physician or Surgeon, except he be first examined, approved, and admitted by the Bishop of London and other, under and upon certain Pains and Penalties in the same Act mentioned:

Sithence the making of which said Act, the Company and Fellowship of Surgeons of London, minding only their own Lucres, and nothing the Profit or ease of the Diseased or Patient, have sued, troubled, and vexed divers honest Persons, as well Men as Women, whom God hath endued with the Knowledge of the Nature, Kind and Operation of certain Herbs, Roots, and Waters, and the using and ministring of them to such as been pained with customable Diseases, as Women's Breast's being sore, a Pin and the Web in the Eye, Uncomes of Hands, Burnings, Scaldings, Sore Mouths, the Stone, Strangury, Saucelim, and Morphew, and such other like Diseases; and yet the said Persons have not taken anything for their Pains or Cunning, but have ministered the same to poor People only for Neighborhood and God's sake, and of Pity and Charity:

And it is now well known that the Surgeons admitted will do no Cure to any Person but where they shall be rewarded with a greater Sum or Reward that the Cure extendeth unto; for in case they would minister their Cunning unto sore People unrewarded, there should not so many rot and perish to death for Lack or Help of Surgery as daily do; but the greatest part of Surgeons admitted been much more to be blamed than those Persons that they troubled, for although the most Part of the Persons of the said Craft of Surgeons have small Cunning yet they will take great sums of Money, and do little therefore, and by Reason thereof they do oftentimes impair and hurt their Patients, rather than do them good.

In consideration whereof, and for the Ease, Comfort, Succour, Help, Relief, and Health of the King's poor Subjects, Inhabitants of this Realm, now pained or diseased: Be it ordained, established, and enacted by Authority of this present Parliament, That at all Time from henceforth it shall be lawful to every Person being the King's subject. having Knowledge and Experience of the Nature of Herbs, Roots, and Waters, or of the Operation of the same, by Speculation or Practice, within any part of the Realm of England, or within any other the King's Dominions, to practice, use, and minister in and to any outward Sore, Uncome Wound, Apostemations, outward Swelling or Disease, any Herb or Herbs, Ointments, Baths, Pultess, and Emplaisters, according to their Cunning, Experience, and Knowledge in any of the Diseases, Sores, and Maladies beforesaid, and all other like to the same, or Drinks for the Stone, Strangury, or Agues, without suit, vexation, trouble, penalty, or loss of their goods; the foresaid Statute in the foresaid Third
Year of the King's most gracious Reign, or any other Act, Ordinance, or Statutes to the contrary heretofore made in anywise, notwithstanding

It takes a little time to read through the piece, but it's worth it if only to prove that the more things change the more they stay the same. LOL

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Going for the texture on this one. The little sparkles are the rain drops.


It rained off and on all night. The rain collected in the leaf clusters of the lupins I transplanted last summer. They are growing very well and filling in beautifully. We have a purple one, purple and white, a maybe pink, and an unknown. Two of them were part of a wildlife mix we planted out back. They never did get big enough to bloom, so loking forward to some surprises.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Finally got the third garden spot spaded. Dirt is so clumpy and full of clay. Heavy as lead. It’s gonna take a couple more years to loosen this stuff up. It’s kind of funny. We planted clover in both beds. One we got nice big plants and almost no roots. The second we got smaller plants, but boy did we get great root networks to loosen up the soil. Of course I have no idea how long it’ll take for the dirt to warm up enough to actually plant anything. Word is that the La Nina might be lifting. God it’s gray over here.

I get a kick out of the squirrels, they seem to really get a kick out of picking the absolute hardest way (in my opinion) to get around. Use the fences for highways. Maneuver from tree to tree to tree. Had one playing “neener, neener, neener) with one of the local cats. He was good at using the planters to bounce off to avoid the cat, who seemed to be having a good time even though he didn’t have a prayer of catching the squirrel and probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if he succeeded.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This was printed in the Eugene Register Guard yesterday. Blachly and Triangle Lake are located in the Coast Range of Oregon. The cut off from Highway 99 heading west is about fifteen miles north of Eugene. One of the chemicals, atrazine, is banned in most of Europe and has been lined to various birth defects, cancers and infertility. And it's in most of our water, even if you aren't downwind from a clear cut. Day Owen is also one of the founders of the local Pitchfork Rebellion.

Triangle Lake residents alarmed by pesticide test results
By Day Owen
Appeared in print: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, page A13
My urine — and the urine of 20 of my Triangle Lake area neighbors — was tested and came back positive for two of the most dangerous pesticides: 2,4-D and atrazine.

It is probable that nearly everyone who lives in our coastal mountain logging community also is poisoned. We are now going to offer free tests for children at Triangle Lake School.

Our recent tests were conducted by one of the world’s premier experts: Dana Barr, who for two decades ran the labs at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The analytical chemist is a researcher at Emory University, specializing in chemical exposures.

For seven years, we begged the state of Oregon unsuccessfully to test our urine. We knew that the timber industry helicopters that were spraying pesticides from the sky near our homes and schools were making us sick. We got zero help.

The stumbling block was that the pesticide industry is so powerful in Oregon that it exercises considerable control over state government. The agency in charge of investigating pesticide complaints is overseen by the Pesticide Division of the Department of Agriculture, which is heavily influenced by the pesticide industry.
Last year, we petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency for redress. It sent an investigator from the CDC, Capt. Richard Kauffman, to look into our allegations of foul play. His report on PARC — the Pesticide Analytical Response Center, overseen by the pesticide division — was scathing.

After seven years of being treated like dirt by Oregon government, we decided to take matters into our own hands and asked Barr to test our urine. Her results proved us right, but we are not celebrating.

Vindication is not sweet when every organ in your body hurts. The yearly spring spraying season has begun, and the amounts of 2,4-D and atrazine in our second urine samples taken in April have gone way up. Many of us are very sick.
L, a resource for environmental lawyers, lists the dangers of atrazine: increased risk of breast and prostate cancers; birth defects and fetal deaths; low birth weights and premature births; and increased toxic effects when combined with other chemicals.

2,4-D, is also more toxic when combined with other chemicals. Now they are combined in our bodies — along with who knows how many other herbicides that our budget does not permit us to check.

Almost no research has been done on the synergistic effect of several herbicides in the body, but it is believed to create a far more toxic brew than any one pesticide alone.

2,4-D is found in just 2 percent to 4 percent of the general population. But like atrazine, it was found in 100 percent of Triangle Lake residents tested so far.
Here is what we are now asking the state to do. Note that we are especially interested in fixing structural flaws in the spirit of Oregon’s legally mandated policy of best management practices.

We ask that the governor lead an effort to move PARC back under the authority of the state Public Health Division.

We ask that the governor move the authority to establish pesticide buffer zones around homes and schools from the Department of Agriculture to the health division. Pesticide lobbyists previously caused that authority to reside solely with agriculture. That is a glaring structural flaw for two reasons: Agriculture has no expertise in health and environmental toxins. And significantly, it has a financial conflict of interest because it is linked to the pesticide makers.

We ask that the governor order an investigation into exactly how the atrazine and 2,4-D entered our bodies. Both herbicides recently were sprayed aerially near our homes, and we want the governor to confirm the obvious: The stuff drifts farther than industry admits.

Oregon must repeal the part of the Oregon Right to Farm Act that prohibits a county from enacting a pesticide buffer zone.

We believe we have a cancer cluster in our region. We want that studied.
We want meaningful pesticide reform, beginning with adoption of a strong precautionary principle. Whatever steps are necessary to prevent trespass of pesticides into our bodies against our will must be taken, even if that means banning them entirely.

We demand that Oregon alter its rules that currently permit three members of the state Board of Forestry to have financial conflicts of interest.

Unless the above-named structural flaws are remedied, we will file a class action lawsuit alleging that the state of Oregon has failed to abide by best management practices. You can’t put the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse, yet that is exactly what Oregon has done.

Day Owen is the founder of the Pitchfork Rebellion, a forest dwellers support group that can be contacted at P.O. Box 160, Greenleaf, OR 97430.

It's strange, or perhaps not so strange that our so called culture of life seems to be restricted to the question of abortion. Supporting our families, poisoning our land, our animals and our poeple with pesticides and herbicides. We're spending billions to treat the diseases linked to the contamination, but doing nothing to end the contamination because too often the people who are supposed to deal with the problem used to work for or are being paid by the companies causing the problem.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Shamanism is not a religion, it is a practice that is used in different spiritual paths. When Michael Horner brought what he calls core shamanism back to the US he was surprised to find out how quickly Americans could pick up the practice; especially using the drums for the rhythms that helped them step into the otherworld. Maybe that’s why extreme conservatives are so suspicious of dance or rock music used in church services.

This is from an interview that is part of a collection from Shamanism compiles by Shirley Nicholson. In many ways shamanic practice can subvert organized religion. How can you enforce the rules from the top down when the individual can access the otherworld and who or whatever dwells there on their own?

Interviewer: “You mentioned earlier that every shaman is in effect his or her own prophet. Some people might consider this a rather dangerous idea.”

Michael Horner: “If a state political organization is founded in part upon a state religion with a dogma based on one or a few “official” prophets, then shamanism, where every shaman is his or her own prophet, is dangerous to the state. In my opinion, the real problem is not too many prophets, but too few.

Shamanism is, as I said, is not a religion. The spiritual experience usually becomes a religion after politics has entered into it…….We are restoring ancient methods to get our own direct revelations, without the need for ecclesiastical hierarchies and politically influenced dogma. We can find things out for ourselves.”


Spotted an unusual visitor at the back of our Fred Meyer in Springfield this morning. Of course I had to go to the net to get this shot of a western tanager. I didn't have my camera with me; he'd have been gone anyway. They start migrating in during early May. I've never seen one at the feeders, I think he might have been heading for the hills; literally. The book says they like mixed conifer forest areas and they should find that just north of here in the Coburg hills. Good luck, kid. Hang around for awhile.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This shot is from the web by a photographer down in Utah named Mike Fish. Short of hanging the camera from a cord hand the curtin rod, the birds are gone by the time I get the machine and get back to the

Had a pair of black headed grossbeaks at the feeder this afternoon. Don't know if they're just passing through or if they'll stick around and raise a family. We're in town, but next to a heavily wooded hill. Maybe they'll find a nice little nook to share with the sparrows.

The dogwood is finally leafing out. That makes it harder to identify who's hanging around. Hey guys come over on this side of the tree, pretty please.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Well, two garden beds are spaded; inspite of the crappy weather. One bed is on the northwest side of the house. This time of year it gets sun starting about eight and lasting until about five. The back of the garage is on one side and a concrete retaining wall is on the other. We're going to try onions and I'm not sure what else. I'm hoping that the two walls will create a good micro climate on the warm side.

The other bed is on the south east side of the lot and will probably go for tomatoes, basil and peppers. They need about the same amount of water and this is the other hot spot. Supposedly they do well planted together. Must check the labels and hope that anything labeled "determinate" really is. In theory that type of tomato will only get so big. The second bed is closer to the hill and goes into the shade earlier in the day. Leafy greens will probably go back there. We have a trellis that we'll try to use for lemon cucumbers. Every year is different and we keep learning about what works in the yard.

We lucked out, and almost everything came through; even a fuschia in a really large container. I'm surprised, fuschia's don't usually make it.

Now if it would just get a litter warmer and a little drier. Oh well, gardeners live on hope.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It all started with pancakes. A batch makes a dozen and the leftovers never quite taste the same after they’ve sat in the fridge for a day…..or six. Hey, the commercial guys sell frozen pancakes. So the left over half dozen or so get popped onto a small cookie sheet, placed in the sharp freeze section and then packaged. Thawed and crisped on a griddle they’re almost as good the second time around. And very convenient they are too.

And if it works for pancakes? The local Market of Choice has split chicken breasts on sale often enough to make it cost effective to bone them out, slice them and do the pancake routine with them. Yes, they sell brined, frozen chicken. But, this way I know what we’ve got and the bones and trimmings to cook down for soup. There’s plenty of meat left on the bones when you’re done trimming. And I would dearly love to see the chickens those parts come from because one package of three half breasts weighed almost four pounds.

Our pepper plants did a good job last summer so we did the same thing with them. Seeded, sliced and put with a package of baby peppers on sale we got enough frozen peppers to last until spring.

I’ve even started doing the same thing with bread. Bake a loaf, let it sit overnight in the fridge and slice it the next day. Freeze and bag the slices and you can have a nice variety on hand. Granted we have to rearrange things regularly to make sure we know where everything is.

Oh, and I make a really mean home made pizza. It gets the same treatment. ;-)