Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Courtesy of Mr. Horsey of the LA Times. The cartoon accompanies an articles on some verses about the poor that the fundies would prefer to ignore. I wonder how many of the fundies realize that Rand was a Russian refugee atheist who wrote some really bad books. Not just the philosophy, but man that gal was a lousy writer. I confess. Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. I read her back in my college days. Tried to anyway. Her philosophy didn't pass the smell test; her characters were cardboard cutouts. Back to the library went Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead. And bad 'cess to them.

1.  If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart,m nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.  Deut 15:7

2.  Now when your reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.  Lev. 19:19

3.  But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him - how can God's love be within him? 1 John 3:17

4.  Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made Them to help the poor is to honor God. Prov. 14:31

5.  He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need. Prov. 14:31.

6.  "If you have tow coats," he replied, "give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to hose who are hungry," Luke 3:11

7.  It is as the Scriptures say: "The godly man give generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever." 2 Cor 9:9

8.  I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. clothe those who are cold, and don't hide from relatives who need your help. Isa. 58.7.

9.  Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of Bod. Blessed are you who hunger now for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Luke 6:20-21.

10. He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. Prov. 22:9.

11. "the people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and need and have oppressed the sojourner without justice...Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,' declared the Lord God. Ezek, 22: 29,31.

12.  Come now, you rich, weep and how for your miseries which are coming upon you Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. ...Can you hear crying out against you the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields. The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter.

I suppose the fundies would argue that this applies to private charity, not actions of the hired help we elect to represent us. We have government programs because the problem is too big for private charity to handle. Private charity could never handle all the needs. And as anyone who has been following the news lately groups who do try to act privately run up against NIMBY. Not in my backyard. Not in my neighborhood. Not in my city. Not anywhere where I might be reminded that there for the grace of the Maker of All Things go I.

So on this "cheerful" note I end bid an unfond farewell to 2013 in the hopes that we can all work together to make 2014 much, much better.

Monday, December 30, 2013


My reaction to the current political/religious goings on of the last year. My last marble. My last good nerve. You name it, it's definitely fraying around the edges. I look at those four hairy guys from Louisiana and remember the sixties. The parents of the folks singing their praises would have been ready to hang, draw and quarter the one sporting flag motifed fabric for a headband.  But then these aren't pot smokin', war pretestin', pinko, commie hippies. These are good ol' boys supporting God, Guns and heaven knows what.

Here's hoping the New Year gets off on a better note.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


This piece is an absolute riot. It would make a great cartoon short. I believe DH stands for dear husband. As for Bugs levitating when hit with the wine cork? Back when Midge was about six months old and we were still using the laundry basket for an upside down play pen. She was by the front door when the mailman left a package and rang the doorbell. We don't get a lot of company and at that point the Midgelet absolutely, totally hated doors. Doorbell rang and about five seconds later she was in the back closet. Eyes about the size of saucers.

"Bugs and The Great Wine Explosion

By Franny Syufy

It all started soooo innocently...
DH and I were strolling down memory lane decided to revist our ill-spent youth by buying a bottle of Asti Spumonte, a sparkling wine that sort of tastes like apples. We wanted it for dinner and DH decided to put it in the freezer...where we promptly forgot about it.

When we got it out of the freezer, it looked pretty frozen. For reasons that can only be described as male, DH decided it to open the bottle just as Bugs, with his back turned to him, decided to eat some kibble half a kitchen away. Before I could yell, "Contents under pressure, you idiot!" DH popped the cork.

Which flew. Across the room. Hitting Bugs on the butt. With considerable force. He levitated four feet vertically into the air — just in time to meet the stream of Asti Spumonte ice winging its way through the air. Mid-air collision: cat, half-frozen wine, DH trying to save cat.

Howls. From Bugs and DH, who catches Bugs, claws first, because they are now fully extended and working with piston-like energy in full getaway mode because DH has the bottle, which is making splurting noises and foaming in an alarming manner, in the other hand . Bugs uses DH's chest as a launching pad and races off in blind panic through the livingroom, showering flecks of wine ice everywhere he goes.

And where does he take cover? In our bed of course, under the duvet, rolling wildly to get the nasty-smelling cold stuff OFF his back. Which meant, of course, that he had to have a bath, because not only is he sticky, but we're concerned that wine just can't be good for brown cats. Although Tum, whom we caught lapping at the pool of melted wine in the kitchen, clearly did not agree, given the protest he made when we locked him downstairs for the duration of clean-up.

Anyways, Bugs, wet and completely disgusted, has banished us to the bench for a prolonged time-out with prejudice. Anybody like a glass of winecicle?

- drunementon

Franny's Note: "the bench" refers to the "Mean Mommy Bench," aka MMB, where forum members are relegated for acts cruel and inhumane toward cats. You'll find one or more of us huddled there at any given time, sharing hot cocoa, ice tea, or wine, depending on the season and our degree of remorse."

Saturday, December 28, 2013


This picture was posted on my FB page through a link with Spiritual Ecology's page. I like to think my Singer might look a little like this. This piece was loosely inspired by the hymn God of the Sparrow God of the Whale. Very loosely. Because when I tried to rework it into prose this was the result. And I'm not entirely sure I was working alone. This happens sometimes and I've learned to just go with it when it happens.

You are the Singer and all of Creation is the Song. When You sang the Song of Creation there was a part for twittering sparrows and for the songs of the great whales. There was a line for the apple trees and another for the dogwoods. Towering oaks can sing a duet with daylilies. Redwoods may provide harmony with the songs of spruce and pine. Rippling brooks provide the soprano to the bass of waves crashing against the basalt headlands of the Northwest. And oh, the songs of the stars. Those dancing stars are a symphony by themselves. As they should be since the elements that built the world were born in the hearts of blazing suns.

You sang a living world into being. But we are reminded that life means change and once power is unleashed we may not be able to stand against the storm. Rolling fields today may play hosts to earthquakes tomorrow. Skies that are peaceful and blue today may be filled with rain, sleet or snow next week. The spring breezes that filled the air with the whisper of pine branches yesterday may be replaced by a tempest that rips the branches from their trunks when winter blizzards howl. Protect us all, from sparrows to whales when the winds rage and the earth shakes.

Your Song has verses not only for the rich, but for the poor. For the hungry as well as for those who are filled. Help us to care for those who need it. Help us to be thankful for what we have. For a song filled with harmony, not discord.

Help us to see a neighbor in an enemy. Help us to see that swords can be plowshares and lances can be made into pruning hooks. Help us to realize that love must replace anger in our hearts before it consumes us and Peace is more than just a word we use when "we're not shooting, shouting or trying to put anyone down right now."

Friday, December 27, 2013


From  Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner.

"Of the seven deadly sins anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll your tongue over the prospect of bitter confrontations yet to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you."

That entry really hit home this year. This is probably the first holiday season I've almost been glad when Christmas was over. All this "War On Christmas" bullshit had gotten really, really old. I wish I could remember the website this link originated on. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist of the message was, “I plan to offend as many people as possible by wishing them a Merry Christmas.”

I’m assuming (maybe I’m wrong) that the creator of the poster is a Christian of some persuasion. Ahem, this  is Christmas. Birth of the Savior. Birth of the prophesied Messiah. It’s a time for rejoicing. Right? So why are you acting like Ebeneezer Scrooge instead of Bob Cratchit. You might as well be mumbling Bah, Humbug in instead of Merry Christmas. Instead of worrying about whether the local school kids are singing Joy to World or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, try singing them yourself. Really put yourself into it. After all, what you get out of Christmas does not depend on what anyone else does, It depends on what YOU do. So get crackin' in time for next Christmas. 

At least the Grinch’s heart was only two sizes too small. Probably couldn't find yours with a GPS, a map, a sextant, a microscope and a flashlight. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


The website I found this on, Spiritual Ecology, didn't identify where this shot was taken.  The shape of the arch does look familiar, but I can't be sure. Anyway, the Singer of Creation Songs wrote a really beautiful one for this. Fantastic shot of the Milky Way centered in the arch. Too bad mere words don't do it justice.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Lisa, you may not even remember creating this several years ago. As usual I was looking for what I thought I wanted to use and found what I was really looking for. 

Whatever the light means to you in this season when the year turns away from the dark to the light may you find what you are searching for. Peace and Blessed Be. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Courtesy of a cartoonist whose name I can't quite make out but he works for the Columbia Dispatch. The Popemobile meets Ken Kesey's bus Further. I love it. I so totally love it. 

Monday, December 23, 2013


So. Why are we looking at a slightly fuzzy picture of a set of nesting screwdrivers? A set that’s older than I am and that’s saying something. Now focus on the little fella on the right. Yeah, El Shrimpo. An inch and a half,maybe, if that long. Blade is maybe a sixteenth of an inch wide.

We have a couple of displays that needed lights but aren’t convenient to an outlet. Battery powered lights! Yeah, that’s the ticket. OK. We get the lights. Batteries? Already have nice big package at home. We get the lights home. “Remove top of battery cover. Insert batteries…yadda, yadda, yadda.”

Alright I’m a bit technically challenged, I’ll admit that, but most battery powered dohickies I’m familiar with the cover just slides right off. Tried that. No go. Now, I wonder what that eensy, teensy screw is for? Yeah, it holds the lid on. Now I wonder how many people have itsy, bitsy, teensy, weensy screwdrivers in their tool boxes. And even El Shrimpo was almost too big.

Anyway, the lid was removed at the cost of a couple of chipped fingernails and a few broad words. Don’t lose the thrice blasted screw for heaven’s sake.  But, hey, if you lose the screw there's always that universal fixer upper. Duct tape. Oh, goodie; don't need the duct tape after all. The batteries are inserted. In the right order. (I think it's time to get my eyes checked again) Let there be light. Wow, those puppies are bright. I’m going back after Christmas for another string of white lights if they still have them because these LED’s are bright enough to light up my little ceramic houses. And that would be a first. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Heck with variations it works for summer too. From The Winter Solstice by John Matthews. I suspect Caitlin Matthews wrote the original litany

Stonehenge and the sun

For the return of the sun – Blessings and Peace
For the gifts we give…and receive – Blessings and Peace
For all the gift givers – Blessings and Peace
For the Children of Wonder – Blessings and Peace
For the children everywhere – Blessings and Peace
For sunsets and starlight – Blessings and Peace
For sunlight and moonlight – Blessings and Peace
For streams rippling under the winter’s ice – Blessings and Peace
For raging torrents rushing to the sea – Blessings and Peace
For rain and rainbows – Blessings and Peace
For the warmth of fire in the cold of winter – Blessings and Peace
For the trees on the hill – Blessings and Peace
For the tree in the corner – Blessings and Peace
For the candles in the window – Blessings and Peace
For the gifts of friendship – Blessings and Peace
For Bards and their gifts of poetry – Blessings and Peace
For Singers and the music they share – Blessings and Peace
For the prayers for peace – Blessings and Peace
For those who pray for peace where there is no peace – Blessing and Peace

The authors encourage you to adapt to include whatever you’re thankful for right now. I certainly did. The Matthew's have a soft spot for hand bell ringers, good food and that vital necessity. Good cooks. 

Friday, December 20, 2013


"I am fully aware that very soon the Bible and the Gospels will not be allowed to cross the border. All that will reach us will be the covers, since all the pages are subversive—against sin, it is said. So that if Jesus crosses the border at Chalatenango, they will not allow him to enter. They would accuse him, the man-God ... of being an agitator, of being a Jewish foreigner, who confuses the people with exotic and foreign ideas, anti-democratic ideas, and i.e., against the minorities. Ideas against God, because this is a clan of Cain’s. Brothers, they would undoubtedly crucify him again. And they have said so." Father Rutilio Grande S.J. 

The first priest martyred in El Salvador as the civil war began to heat up. This was part of a homily protesting the kidnapping an expulsion of another priest. A father Bernal Londano. A poignant reminder that Jesus whose birth we're supposedly celebrating in a few days wasn't the tamed, safe figure most of us grew up with. 

Chalatenango is a city to the north of the capital San Salvador, perhaps fifty miles of so separate them. Grande may or may not have continued that if Jesus managed to get past the first check points he surely would be stopped long before he reached the capital. 

Ironically for whoever ordered the murder the result was to push what had appeared to be the safe choice of a conservative churchman, Oscar Romero, as archbishop into increased activism on the part of the poor and persecuted campesinos. The oligarchs and the government were not pleased. Less than three years later the archbishop joined the likes of Martin Luther King. 


Pat Oliphant's answer to the tempest in a teapot over exact hue of the Jolly Old Elf's complexion. I know what the department store Santa's look like but I always figured Santa looked a lot like his best helpers at our house. Namely my folks.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Jim Morin is the cartoonist. Now I wonder who Jesus' first teacher was? See below. 

Note: There is no danger of me heading down the same path as the fundie's Just that my reading has lead me to scripture that doesn't get much notice. 

Luke 1:46-55. What Mary sang after arriving at her cousin Elizabeth and discovering that Elizabeth indeed was with child although supposedly past the age of having children. 

THE MAGNIFICAT Also known as the song of Mary.

.My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors,

Funny most of the time when I’ve heard this it’s just been the first section ending with “all generations will call me blessed.” Then we get to the part that doesn’t get publicly performed very often. And I’m betting that NO part of it gets performed in any mega church pageants. I mean from “ He has shown the strength with his arm to sending the rich away empty.” Revolutionary. And it certainly fits that cartoon at the beginning from Jim Morin. Which I absolutely, totally love


I’m not sure if you’d call this a Christmas carol. I am pretty sure that if it is found in that category you won’t find it in many Christmas concerts.

In the mid eighties rocker Jackson Brown looked around, took stock of US policies here and abroad and his work took a darker turn in protest. “But if any one of us should interfere in the business of why there are poor they get the same as the rebel Jesus” echoes a Brazilian archbishop, Heldar Camara. “If I feed the starving, they call me a saint. If I ask why they’re starving they call me a communist.”

Partly brought on by a Georgia politician channeling Newt the Grinch. Remember when Newt suggested that poor school kids could do the jobs of the school janitors. Well, the gentleman from Georgia is complaining about the cost of free or low cost school lunches provided for low income students. I have to wonder if this POS has spent any time talking to the students or their parents to find out why the child needs to low cost or free meal. And I suspect that when kids have parents working two or three low wage jobs trying to hold the family together they already know that there's no such thing as a "free lunch." This from a member of the congressional millionaires (largely) club.

The Rebel Jesus

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Brown

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Another of my favorite carols from, oh say the middle of the twentieth century. There's and interesting story to go with this one.


Said the night wind to the little lamb,
Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear.
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea.

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere,
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
Listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

The piece was written by Noel Regney and his wife Gloria Shayne in 1962. 1962, the same year as the Cuban Missile Crisis. I’m not sure how close we actually came to pushing that first and final button but this carol was their answer. A plaintive call for peace. If those missiles had been launched there would have been no one left for the night winds to tell their secrets to. The trees would have been charred skeletons. Branches lifted to ash filled skies in final a futile prayer for their lives. The songs of seabirds and waves silenced. All that would have been left were the stars shining down on a world with no one from kings to shepherd boys left to see them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I'm not sure where this comes from. It could have been our neighbors in Oakridge who came from Minnesota. Lil's folks were Swedish.  Or it could have been from my BIL's grand dad who was born in Norway. All I know is the newspaper clipping is very, very yellow and the pictures on the backside of the paper look like they're from the forties or fifties. 

Apparently lutefisk is a traditional Christmas dish. From the description it sounds like the taste is definitely an acquired one. Or one you're born with. 

(From a novelty American folksong by Red Stangeland, sung to the tune of "O Tannenbaum"): O lutefisk, O lutefisk, how pungent your aroma / O lutefisk, O lutefisk, you put me in a coma. I think I'll stick with the fruitcake. 


T’was the night before Christmas,
            When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
            Except for my spouse
Who, like wives thru the ages,
            Sat up with a bound
And fearfully whispered,
            “I hear a strange sound.”

From under the blankets
            I rolled like a sack.
Propelled by her feet
            In the small of my back.
To the front room I blundered
            And listened in awe
To the words that came out
Of the fireplace maw.

“Now dash, now dang it!
            This damper needs fixin'"
It’s this stupid kind that
            My head always sticks in!”
As I let out a bellow
            And leaped for the phone,
From the chimney St.Nicholas
            Fell out with a groan.

He was half a foot wide
            And eleven feet high,
And he had but one arm,
            One leg and one eye.
“Great Yuletide,” I breathed,
            What’s happened to you?”
He rumbled “It’s simple
            You’ve got a seven inch flue.”

The stockings he filled
            Without turning his back:
Then still facing forward
            He shouldered his pack,
You see, “He explained
            As I eyed him askance,
“Your TV antenna
            Tore the seat of my pants.”

From the roof he took off
            With eight smoking rockets
And I woke up in bed,
            Eyes bulging from sockets
I aroused my good wife
            And breathlessly told
Of the things I had seen,
            But her answer was cold;

“Now go back to sleep,
            You crazy squarehead
No more lutefisk for you
            Before going to bed!’

Jack Ostergren

Monday, December 16, 2013


If we could just keep some of the childhood innocence. Some like Lisa were lucky enough to learn the song in school. The rest of us have to be lucky enough to find the right Christmas album. 
Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus' face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
'Tis love that's born tonight!
The music was written by a jazz musician, Albert Burt. I believe the words were written by Wilha Hutson. The organist at Burt’s church. The poems were included in family Christmas cards and unknown outside that circle until at least the fifties. It’s been recorded by James Taylor among others. I have the Perry Como version.

The posting was prompted by the claims of Faux anchor Megyn Kelly that Santa and the baby Jesus were white. I’m not going to go through the various exchanges. Anyone bored enough to check it all out? Go for it. She did try to walk it back and claim she was joking.In my experience if you have to explain the joke it probably wasn’t funny in the first place. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Expansion of a comment I left on Lisa’s Women On blog entry.

Where to start? Say anything about Newtown or Aurora or Clackamas or... and you'll get Chicago and Detroit thrown in your face, usually with insulting adjectives added. Apparently we can’t take care of all the other guns until the gangbangers are dealt with.

 Ask how many guns anybody needs and you get the same treatment. Point out that hey I’ve got relatives that hunt, eat what they shoot and keep the guns and ammo safely stored the rest of the time which is fine by me. And you’ll still find you’re being accused of being some liberal, commie, socialist that wants to disarm all the good law abiding citizens.

Including one twit that thought it was really cute to post a picture of herself, the baby and whatever kind of semi automatic pistol the family owned. Kid was treating the gun like it was a pacifier. Almost, I don’t think the kids mouth was big enough to actually suck on the barrel. I mean how twisted is that? And mummy had a thousand watt smile going. “Aren’t we just so cute?” Actually, no. And I hope I don’t read about your kid a few years down the road after he’s accidentally wounded/killed the cat, the dog, a neighbor, another kid, you or him/herself. Although most of the time it does seem to be a male of the species that’s involved in these cases. Anybody out there hear of any little girls getting involved in these cases?

Oh, and don’t even try to point out that in most cases cops go through at least some training that gives them a snowballs chance in hell of actually hitting what they're aiming at, and in too many cases they still miss by a country mile. There have been stories out of NYC where the cops fired multiple rounds and only managed to hit the “suspect” a couple of times. So where did all the other bullets go? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

I've never bothered to point out that the nightmare scenarios of the American Gestapo "coming for our guns" are just exactly that. Fever dreams. There's an appalling inability among too many people to start at point A and work their way through to say G. The government would have to bring back every person in uniform, militarize the police departments, declare martial law with a twenty four hour curfew and hit every neighborhood at once, And that’s assuming that the troops detailed to seize the guns don’t tell their commanders to stuff it and refuse to obey orders.

I made the comment once that I was for anybody having all the guns they want as long as they were what was available when the constitution was written. Kind of hard to hold a massacre when you have to stop and go through the whole flintlock reloading routine. And you'd be kind of obvious trying to haul in a small trailer load of loaded long rifles or even single shot pistols. THAT went over like a lead balloon.

The kindest commenter called me an idiot. It got depressingly interesting from there. In some cases the commenters actually threatened me after calling me a, well you get the picture. And that may be part of the root of the problem. There's a cancer of violence in the American psyche that shrugs at first person shooter video games and goes into hysterics by a millisecond long view of a woman's nipple on an otherwise almost fully clothed body.

Remember Janet Jackson’s wardrobe “malfunction” a few years ago. Folks swore up and down they actually saw a nipple. Hey, I looked at the video too and all I saw was a blur. It sure wasn’t long enough to scar anyone. Unless they were already scarred.

And how in the name of all that’s holy and several things that aren't do we cure that?

Although given the breakdown between men and women committing the crimes, maybe we should just mark any gun bans "men only" and be done with it. 


I wish there was one. I couldn't even find the lyrics online. Had to copy it out of the the book, A Treasury of Christmas Songs and Carols. Apparently the tune is old, 3/4 time and has been used for more than this carol.

I will keep looking just for the heck of it. But it appears that this is a lovely, obscure carol that I really wish i could find out that someone had recorded.

An English poet Eleanor Farjean did the paraphrase of the lyrics if that helps at all. As I said. It's a lovely little piece especially if you have a great imagination.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Text of an old French carol. The words are at least five hundred years old. The tune, if you could listen to is at least as old and has been used many times over the centuries.  The carol can be sung, but parts can also be parceled out and the carol presented as a small play. Information from A Treasury of Christmas Songs and Carols. 

I have a copy of an on and off diary kept by a lay missionary working in El Salvador during the civil war. Over and over he tells the story of those with almost nothing sharing with those who had less. It seems that those with little find it easier to share than those who have much. Curiouser and curiouser. 

IN THE TOWN (yes, that really is the name of the carol)

1. Joseph
   Take heart, the journey’s ended: I can see the twinkling lights.
   Where we shall be befriended on this the night of nights.

    Now, praise the Lord that led us so safe unto the town,
    Where men shall feed and bed us, and I can lay me down.

2. Joseph
    And how then shall we praise Him? Alas my heart is sore
    That we no gifts can raise Him who are so very poor.

    We have as much as any that on the earth do live,
    Although we have no penny, we have ourselves to give.

3. Joseph
    Look yonder, wife, look yonder a hostelry I see,
    Where travelers who wander shall very welcome be.

    The house is tall and stately, the door stands open thus;
    Yet husband, I fear greatly, that in is not for us.

4. Joseph
    God save you gentle master, your smallest room indeed,
    With plainest rooms of plaster tonight will serve our need.

    For lordlings and for ladies I’ve lodging and to spare,
    For you and yonder maid is no closet anywhere.

5. Joseph
    God save you, Hostess kindly I pray you house my wife.
    Who bears beside my blindly the burden of her life.

    My guests are rich men’s daughters and sons I’ll have you know!
    Seek out the poorer quarters where ragged people go.

6. Joseph
    Good sir, my wife’s in labor, some corner let us keep.
    Not I, knock up my neighbor, and as for me I’ll sleep.

    In all the lighted city where rich men welcome win,
    Will not one house for pity take two poor strangers in .

7.  Joseph
     Good woman, I implore you afford my wife a bed.

     Nay, nay I’ve nothing for you except a cattle shed.

    Then gladly in the manger our bodies we will house.
    Since men tonight are stranger than asses are and cows.

8.  Joseph
     Take heart take heart dear Mary the cattle are our friends
     Lie down, lie down sweet Mary for here our journey ends.

     Now praise the Lord that found me this shelter in the town.
     Where I with friends around me may lay my burden down.

I’ve only found this carol in this collection. Doesn’t mean it isn’t in others but I’ve never heard it performed either. It’s not exactly one that the Palins, Limbaughs, and Becks are thinking about when they push for carols to be performed in public schools.

I’ve run across a couple of personal blogs that argue that the family wasn’t that poor. Biggest argument? Joseph was of the  royal house of David. Well, seeing as how David was born about a thousand years before, just how many descendants are we talking about here? Joseph is described as a craftsman, probably a carpenter of some kind.

What I find mildly amusing is that one blogger claims to take the bible literally. At least until it’s inconvenient to take it literally. After the birth of a child (forty days for a boy)
the mother was supposed to make an offering at the Temple of a lamb and a turtledove.  If she couldn’t afford the lamb, then two turtledoves or pigeons were allowed. The yes, that’s what the Bible says, but is kind of sad really.

What nobody really wants to admit is that most people then, as now were not that well off. Between flood, famine, rebellions, wars, rumors of wars they were probably lucky if they had four or five good years in a row.

Too many of us don’t want to be reminded that then as now there was no room at the inn, the street corner, the store. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


Back in college I found a very nice, big collection songs and carols. And I dug it out when I started playing with melodica. It might be fun to post at least the words, to some that I really liked. Considering the news lately I can use a break. The notes with the carol suggested it could either a solo piece. Or three voices singing one verse each with all three joining in on the last verse.

The song of the three wise men

In the early morning as I went on my way,
I saw a fallen tree fallen into decay;
But a little violet had found its shade,
And in its coolness there its home had made.

As I journeyed onward in the noon day heat,
A great rock blocked the path before my feet;
But from its shade there gushed a cooling spring,
And it quenched out thirst and made our hearts to sing.

Then I saw a bush that bore many a thorn;
By its cruel points my bleeding hands were torn;
But among the thorns the sweetest berries grew,
And we ate with joy, and did our strength renew.

When the night seems darkest and our hope is gone,
In the east we see the signs of coming dawn.

Words by one Wyllis Peck Kent set to an old French Melody

Funny, I've been hearing this melody for the last couple of weeks. Too weird. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


50 dumbest things right wingers said in 2013 numbers 10-1.  From Rolling Stone.

The final ten. Eddie Munster, sorry Paul Ryan strikes again. I wonder if Steve King has any idea how much space seventy five pounds of pot takes up. Frankly I think Stutzman should be at the top of the list. And if Jeb Bush thinks he has a snow balls chance in hell of being elected president I'd like to know what he's been sniffing or which reality he's living in because it isn't mine. Yoho the yahoo on how tanking the US economy would "stabilize" world markets. Better go back to taking care of kittens and puppy dogs at your vet office. 

And the last three are pretty priceless. Rep. Young. You do know that it's against the law to knowingly hire illegal aliens. IE daddy dearest was part of the problem, not the solution. Rick, oh Rick. The concept of a classless society is supposedly the Marxist's unrealized ideal. What alternate reality did you pop in from this time. 

And the winner is - Nevada's Assemblyman Jim "if my constituents wanted to bring back slavery I'd support it" Wheeler. If your supporters decided that the Biblical three score and ten was a long enough life span for anyone and that folks should be "encouraged" to commit suicide when they hit the big 7 0 would you support that? 

Where do they find these people? And the voters who elect them? 

10. Rep. Paul Ryan – Wisconsin – “We’re not preaching austerity” on a budget that would slash $4.6 trillion in federal spending.

9. Rep. Steve King – Iowa – “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert” on immigration and why he apposes the DREAM Act.

8. Rep, Marlin Stutzman – Indiana – “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is” on the aims of the GOP’s government shutdown.

7. Rep. John Boehner – Ohio – “We’ve done our work” on the track record of the least productive congress in modern history.

6. Jeb Bush – “I don’t think there’s any Bush baggage at all” possible 2016 contender on the political consequences of the family name. (sound of me laughing hysterically)

5. Rep. Tim Walberg – Michigan – “Society itself is at risk and cannot continue” on the apocalyptic consequences of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decisions.

4. Rep. Ted Yoho – Florida – “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets” on the hidden upside of forcing America into default.

3. Rep. Don Young – Alaska – “My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes” doing his turn to aid the GOP’s Hispanic outreach.

2. Former senator Rick Santorum – Pennsylvania – “the middle class. Since when in America do we classes? That’s Marxism talk,” (where do they find these guys)

And the winner is…or is that loser? Depends on your point of view I guess.

1. Assemblyman Jim Wheeler – Nevada – “Yeah, I would,” when asked if he would vote to reinstate slavery if his constituents wanted it. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I received this request from an individual with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Apparently he dips into my blog often enough to notice that I comment on the environment and asked if I would post some information about asbestos. I did not realize that asbestos, dangerous as it is was still being used.  There's a link to the website and it looks legit.


I accidentally deleted the original post. Blogger has been wonky and I usually end up with multiple copies of my drafts Oh well. From Rolling Stone. I probably won't remember all the kind comments I originally put in. 

Rep. Johnson. If you don't believe in the system why did you run for office and my are my tax dollars helping to pay your salary. Louie Gohmert strikes again. Must have missed the sections in the Bible about Abraham and Jacob, their wives and the wives maidservants. Sen. Paul must have slept through the third term of English Comp. The one where your write a research paper and learn how to make footnotes and a bibliography. If you didn't already have to do in high school like I did. Maybe Rick Perry should use a teleprompter. At least then he might remember which state he's speaking in. And good ol Joe the Plumber. In case you haven't noticed Americans come in all shapes, sizes, ages and COLORS.

50 dumbest things right wingers said in 2013 numbers 30-21.

30. Rep. Ron Johnson – Wisconsin – “When I hear politicians talk about restoring faith in government…No, no, no, no, no. That’s the wrong solution” revealing the depths of his hatred of government.  (yet he has a government job, hypocrite)

29, Steve King – Iowa – “It’s not event the government’s business now much money you make. That’s a part of freedom” channeling Mitt Romney’s accountant.

28. Rep. Louie Gohmert – Texas – “when you say it’s not a man and a woman anymore, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal” on marriage equality.

27. Rep. Frank Lucas – Oklahoma – “Is this a conspiracy to buy all the bullets so they’re not available to us” questioning whether Homeland Security is trying to create false scarcity by hording ammo.

26. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee – “Holy matrimony is formed into an unholy pretzel” on same sex marriage.

25  Sen. Rand Paul – Kentucky – “I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters” on critics of his serial plagiarism, including from a Wikipedia entry on the 1997 sci-fi film Gattaca.

24. Gov. Rick Perry – Texas – “There are many other states that embrace those conservative values, the approach that we’ve taken over the years. I’m in one today, in Florida” delivering a speech in …Louisiana.

23. Gov. Chris Christie – New Jersey – “I am tired of you people” yelling at a school teacher.

22. Sen. John McCain – Arizona – “My friends, it’s a cover-up” on Benghazi.

21. Failed congressional candidate Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher – “Wanting a while Republican president doesn’t make you a racist, it just makes you American..”


From Rolling Stone.  Man, it just gets better and better (actually worse and worse.) I keep running across commenters who claim that even the great RL doesn't believe half the bullshit he cranks out. I'm not convinced. And in any case too many of the people who listen to him, do believe what he says. No matter how outrageous. 

Pat Robertson needs to be kept on a leash or least kept on his meds. 

Michele B. The end of her term in congress can't come soon enough. And suppose it's been safely gerrymandered. 

Rep. Cramer. So abortion is responsible for school shootings, not the fact that the country has almost as many guns as people and no way to track who has them or how sane they are. 

And the report on the Maine governor came not from disgruntled democrats but shocked Republicans. Actually LePaige reminds be a lot of Rick "all hat no cattle" Perry. Only this case I guess the butter has dripped off his lobsters. 

20. Rep. Jeff Miller – Florida – “It wasn’t just a few years ago, what was the problem that existed? It wasn’t global warming, we were gonna all be ice cubes. We’re not ice cubes.

19. Supposed evangelist Pat Robertson – “You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing…To me, I would punch ‘vomit,’ not ‘Like.’ They don’t give you that option on Facebook.”

18. Rep. Michele Bachmann – Minnesota – “President Obama can’t wait to get Americans addicted to the crack cocaine of dependency” on Obamacare.

17. Rep. Kevin Cramer – North Dakota – “Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court sanctioned abortion on demand. And we wonder why our culture sees school schootings so often” on the hidden connection between Rove v. Wade and gun massacres. *

16. Rep. Pete Sessions – Texas – “Everything we do in his body should be about messaging to win back the Senate. That’s it” on the solitary purpose of the GOP’s House majority.

15. Sen. Ted Cruz – Texas – “We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the US Senate.” (Helm’s if you’ll recall resigned in disgrace)

14. Gov. Paul LePage – Maine – “He hates white people” according to two state lawmakers (both Republican) who heard LePage say this.

13. Rep. bill Johnson – Ohio - the president ought to reimburse the American people for any cost that’s associated with fixing or replacing this website” suggesting that Obama take personal fiduciary responsibility for the failures of healthcare.gove.

12. Mayor Michael Bloomberg –New York City – “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little” on the controversial policing tactic eknow as stop and frisk which was ruled unconstitutional by a district court judge.

11.  Rush Limbaugh – “there’s a movement to normalize pedophilia…What is their objective/ They want to all think that pedophilia is just another sexual orientation. You know who is going to fall right in line is college kids, just like they have on gay marriage.”

* Me: Cramer also quoted scripture “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” as he supported cutting the SNAP program. Gotta get them five year olds down the mines and following the south end of a north bound mule. Ooops wrong century. I believe the verse is from Timothy.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


At least to many of us in this country. Especially if we rely on the so called mainstream media for our information about anything outside corporate America. 

Yes, I’ve mentioned an interest in finally reading the Bible. At least parts of it. I will cheerfully admit to practicing what the Darwin (Charles) family called “skipibus” through most of the first five books. I have no real interest in the dimensions of the portable Temple, how it was decorated and the mechanics of the sacrificial offerings. Except to say this. Once a permanent temple was built I hope they figured out how to deal with the inevitable mess. Who wants to pray in what amounts to a slaughterhouse?

And I’ll probably be skipibussing along until I get to the prophets. Who I realize were shouting into the wind trying to remind the people what they told to do in the first place. And aren’t doing. Just as a certain traveling rabbi attempted to do several centuries after that. With about as much success as the modern prophets are having. Heck if we really followed the commandment about coveting the advertising industry would be out of business overnight.

There is absolutely no danger of me turning into anything resembling a fundigelical. My list of “do you really expect me to take these literallys” is getting longer and longer. To those who natter on about so called “traditional marriage;” you do remember the story about Abraham, his wife and her maid servant don’t you? Then there’s Jacob, his TWO wives (sisters no less) and THEIR maid servants.

There’s even a passage in Deuteronomy that deals with husbands who fell out of love with the first wife, married another but the unloved wife is the mother of the eldest son. Sorry bub, the oldest son still gets the first born’s inheritance even if you don’t love his mother any more.

And we won’t even get into the murder and mayhem of the conquest of the so called promised land. “God told us to do it” gets real old, real fast.

There was one little entry that made me smile. It was customary to use donkey or oxen to help thresh the grain by having them walk over it. Masters were commanded to NOT muzzle their oxen when they were threshing the grain. Nice touch that.

There is another church. One that’s all but invisible and unmentioned in the MSM in this country. It was born out of the proxy wars in Central and South America from the sixties to the nineties. Alive and kicking in spite of the efforts of the new Roman Empire. If I want to understand them I have to understand their foundation. And that foundation is firmly grounded in scripture. Scripture that recognizes the least among us. The poor, the brutalized, the marginalized, the martyrs. They won’t be ignored any longer and if the traditional church won’t recognize them? Tough, they’ll do it anyway and they’ll build from the bottom up not the top down.

The Christians, true Christians of the south have much to teach us. I’d like to believe that the fundigelicals fears about the nonexistent persecutions, the so called War on Christmas are fueled by the fear that the theology of liberation will find a home north of the Mexican border. I’d like to believe that, but I doubt if the Limbaughs, Palins and O’Reilly’s even know it exists. In my gloomier moments I find myself wishing that the whiners in this country would be subjected to a fraction of the real persecution endured in the south. Anyway, more fools they. How shocked they’ll be to find that southern flowers might just thrive in northern gardens.

Thanks to the late Penny Lernoux and the very much alive and kicking Phillip Berryman to introducing me to a remarkable group of faithful, caring courageous men and women, Although. that's not entirely true. It started in a brief scene in a biopic about John Paul II played out between the Pope and Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Curiosity awakened I've been slowing piecing together what can only be called a miracle in the south. Lernoux and Berryman have been a fountain of background information. And if much of it not kind to the US and its policies. Too bad. 

Monday, December 9, 2013


Continued from the Rolling Stone Article. But, there's still almost three weeks to go. Ted Cruz now has his own coloring book.  I could be tempted to get one. I might kindling for the hibachi one of these days. this would be perfect. 

50 dumbest things right wingers said in 2013 numbers 40-31

40. State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin – Alabama – “When a physician removes a child from a woman, thit is the largest organ in a body.” Now that was a real whopper.

39. Rep Trent Franks – Arizona – “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” Rep. Franks was “mansplaining” why abortion bans don’t need rape exceptions.

38. Rep. Tom Cotton – Arkansas – “To have women serving in infantry could impair the mission essential tasks of those units. And that’s been proven in study after study, it’s nature.”

37. Reince Priebus of the Republican National Committee  “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.” I’m sure that’s news to every African American and Latino in the country.

36. Don Yelton member of the GOP Executive Committee – North Carolina _ “If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it” on his state’s voter ID law.

35. Rep. Steve Stockman – Texas – “He’s even using children. It reminds me of Saddam Hussein when he used kids” on the president’s push for gun control after the Newtown shootings.

34. Rep. Tom Coburn – Oklahoma – “It might be a wonderful experiment” on whether the US could avert default after hitting the debt ceiling.

33. Rep. Saxby Chambliss – Georgia – “Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur” on the military’s rape epidemic.

32. Jack Gerard president of the American Petroleum Institute – “The oil and gas industry gets no subsidies, zero, nothing” whose industry gets $4 billion a year in tax breaks.

31. Rep. John Boehner – Ohio – “I need this job like I need a hole in the head.”

Well, this ten is certainly interesting. Let's see, a baby is not an organ in a woman's body. There's no magic that keeps a rape victim from getting pregnant. I think the guy who make the "lazy blacks" remark had to not only eat crow but resign. And then there's the mope who claims to be totally unaware of the tax breaks his industry receives that the rest of us have to cover. Of course simple compassion keeps us hoping for health and long life for most of our fellow beings. And if compassion doesn't keep you praying for the president and vice president the fact that Boehner is next in line certainly will. 

Love the claim that the days of racism are over and just a fading memory. And there were flying pigs shivering in the treetops at dawn this morning. 

This just keeps getting better and better. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Article from the comment pages of the Eugene Register Guard this Sunday titled "Today's divisive political climate has racism at it's heart."  I suspect that the Guard would prefer I go with a link, rather than posting the entire column. And with a little patience you can read the whole thing on the website. If they ask you to sign in try the refresh button. If that doesn't work, leave a comment and I'll e-mail the text. I did copy it for my own library. This is too good to lose.

This is the first paragraph. "Save the babies (especially the white ones), read the sign held by the anti-abortion picketer. It got me thinking. Far too many old white guys (and more than a few women) are running scared. The communities they've inhabited are changing in ways they don't understand, no longer the America they once knew. And it has much to do with race.

Which ties into a Think Progress piece  on a Fox (faux) News presentation featuring one Suzanne Venker. She's the latest in a long line of women who preach that a woman can only be fulfilled if she's married, has kids and doesn't work outside the home. Odd how many of these gals don't follow their own advice. And I purely hated to actually go to her website but nobody has done a Wikipedia article on her so I guess I have to put up with adding an extra "vote" to her counter. There was another link to one of her articles. Only a buck ninety nine to get access to a 2500 word article.

I suspect that her advice is aimed at upper middle class, upper class pigmentally challenged American women. This is thinly veiled eugenics folks. As the racial demographics shift in this country, obviously the "wrong" people are reproducing.

A couple of years ago the truth finally shined a flood light in my eyes. If the people crossing our borders without visas were white, blue eyed, Presbyterians there wouldn't be near the whoop ti do over immigration reform.

Which also ties in with the 50 really weird, where did I put my brain utterances of mostly Republican right wingers of 2013 posts over the next few days. I think Rolling Stone should have waited until January 2014. After all, there's still THREE WEEKS  to go. Plenty of time for more switch off brain, insert foot in mouth tweets, pronouncements, sound bites and whiskey tango foxtrot moments.


There's fifty entries. I'll take them ten at a time. 

per the Rolling Stone Magazine.   If you do take the time to go into the website each person has a link to the original story. Some are just tweets. Some are more substantial news stories. But the first think I thought of was; you could only find fifty? And the state with the majority of the off the wall statements? Starts with a T and ends with an S. Although to be fair, some of the commenters made the list more than once. And they didn't include what I consider Louie Gohmert's most insulting statement. He told a woman who chose a late term abortion because the baby was facing a diagnosis of a fatal birth defect that she should have carried to term. Reason? Doctor's have been known to make mistakes. I made the mistake of looking up the condition just before going to bed. The fetus basically had no brain above the part that controls autonomic functions. You can't miss it on the scans and THERE IS NO TREATMENT. Of everyone on the list I believe Louid Gohment takes the cake. 

Just fifty? Anyway here’s the countdown 50-41.

50. Rep. Steve Stockman – Texas “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil  gas come out.”

49. Sarah Palin – “Let Allah sort it out.” On the Syria conflict.

48. Rep. Jim Bridenstine – Oklahoma “Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional”  on the legal status of Obamacare.

47.  Rep. Joe Barton – Texas  “The Great Flood is an example of climate change. And that certainly wasn’t because mankind overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.”

46. Sen. Rand Paul – Kentucky They’re coming after your donuts” after the FDA said it would phase out trans fats.

45. Rep. Louie Gohmert – Texas “We know Al Qaeda has camps on the Mexican border. We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.”

44. Rep. Ted Yoho – Florida “it’s a racist tax” on the civil rights consequences of taxing tanning salons, which supposedly discriminates against pale Americans.

43. Rep. Virginia Fox – North Carolina “It is not the role of the Congress to make college affordable and accessible.” Voting against regulating for profit colleges and universities.

42. Justice Antonin Scalia _ I even believe in the Devil. He’s a real person.”

41. Rep. Paul Broun – “Obamacare is going to destroy everything we know as a nation.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I came across this on the Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented website. It was originally printed on the website's blog. The original author is unknown. You may not agree with all of the theology but it does make you stop and think. I especially like this line "Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself."

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I wasn’t actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn if all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actual spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks was. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1-8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need. Spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile’ it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary – especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one, There are individuals  and whole families in your town who knot only will have no “Christmas” tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifrs and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that your are one of mine.

Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is hsort. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:



Wednesday, December 4, 2013


A different look at that first Creation story. Part of Heschel’s interpretation is echoed by John Crossan. Crossan began his career as a Dominican priest. He’s not a priest anymore but that didn’t shut him up.

“Yet my father’s approach to the Sabbath did reflect some of the political concerns and language of the day; the themes of liberty and freedom recur in the book. He writes that we need the Sabbath in order to survive civilization: “Gallantly, ceaselessly, quietly man must fight for inner liberty” to remain independent of the enslavement of the material world. “Inner liberty depends upon being exempt from the domination of things as well as the domination of people. There are many who have achieved a high degree of political and social liberty, but only a very few are not enslaved to things. This is our constant problem - how to live with people and remain free, how to live with things and remain independent.” From Susannah Heschel’s introduction to Abraham Heschel’s The Sabbath. Which I’m going to have to reread say three or four times.

I was raised a Methodist Protestant. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what makes a Quaker different from a Methodist. With some small success. So what do I do to make my life even more interesting? I decide to take on a Hasidic rabbi. Why do I insist on coming in during the middle of the story all the time? 

Heschel was a Polish Jew. A brilliant scholar who managed to make it out of Europe ahead of the Nazi extermination machine. He was descended from a long line of rabbis and he was a mystic. I suspect that English was his fourth language. At least. But, you’d never tell it from his writing. He handled the language better than many native writer’s I’ve read. But, he was a teacher and rabbi. It was his business to make the message as clear as possible. But, he was a mystic. And better read in small bites than big chunks.

He argued that we live in a world of space (and the things that take up room in that space) and time. God spent six “days” creating the universe and He pronounced that Creation to be good, even very good. Then he rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath which He set aside as holy. Special, a time set aside to keep our spiritual house in order. I covered part of this in an earlier post.

There are pundits, politicians, even churchmen who go on endlessly about our political liberty to the point of paranoia.  The Tea Party, the NRA and anyone who has swallowed the Ayn Rand koolade are at the top of my list. But when was the last time anyone pointed out that we can be just enslaved to the things that crowd our “space” as to any dictator?

 In fact the last Black Friday proved that some of us are willing to resort to violence in order feed that monkey on our backs. How many of us are willing to stand in line for hours so we can boast that we have the newest cell phone, video game console or whatever is “cool” at the moment. And what would happen to an economy built on “gotta have the newest whatever to prove that you are, damned if I know.”

Are we buying these things because we really need them? Or is it to try to quiet the gnawing void where our soul should be?

Oh and this from someone lives in a house that’s relatively low tech. However…we do have ten bookcases. I think it’s ten. I hope it’s just ten. LOL  I have yet to find a book with ALL the answers. However, there are a lot a books with one or two pieces of the puzzle.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


A detour on the journey through Genesis. Maybe not a such a big detour after all. And me stuck in Springfield with no fundies to torment. 

There’s a dirty little secret at the foundation of the fixation many of our economic and political leaders have on hyper individualism. It’s only really tolerated in the economic sphere of our lives. It’s ok to make as much money as you can, any way you can. No matter who or what gets hurt along the way.

Good jobs get outsourced to India or China? Ok, as long as my dividends and stock options survive. Another oil pipeline breaks and oil leaks out destroying habitat or farm land. Just the costs of doing business. And if we work it right we’ll stick the taxpayers with the clean up costs. Which means it won’t get done any time soon. Another gas pipeline breaks and explodes. Another train carrying cars full of oil and blows up. Well at least we didn’t kill anybody this time. Again somebody else probably get stuck with the clean up costs.

But, just try to carry that individualism over into our private or social lives and you might just come a cropper. Abortion on demand is the logical outcome of that individualistic philosophy. Just try to tell that to the true believers. They’ll give you chapter and verse about the “Right to Life.” At least until baby is born and then you are on your own. Have a couple of kids when times were good, fall on hard times and need a hand up? Tough, you should have consulted your trusty crystal ball, saw this coming and not had the kids in the first place.

And we’ll just belly up to the tax money fountain and ask for financing for pregnancy crisis centers staffed with counselors  that will outright lie to their clients. For their own good of course. No outdated, largely unverified information is too off the map to used to convince scared young women to keep their babies. Again for their own good. Too bad about the cuts in food stamps and other help; it’s never to soon to teach little Joey or Joanie that they’ll have to pull themselves up by their own bootie ties.

The right to decide how many children you have and when to have them? Same thing.  Just don’t step into one of our counseling centers believing you’ll get the same information as the Planned Parenthood clinic that closed down a couple of months ago. Not going to happen.

The right to marry person you love whether it’s Adam and Eve, Adam and Steve or Eve and Louise. Under that hyper individualistic philosophy it’s nobody’s business but yours. Not your neighbor, not the pastor down the street or groups like the American Family Association and their clones.

Yep. How you make your money is your business. How you live the rest of your life is the business of every Nosy Parker with a megaphone, a website, a Face Book page and a 501 whatever the designation is group with a good donor list.

You can’t have it both ways. Either it’s unfettered individualism in all parts of our lives or it isn’t. If you have the right to question how your neighbors live their private lives, they have the right to question the full costs of how you run your business and make your money.