Please Pass (over) The Nuts (3) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

I, along with many others, watched (in my case overwatched) the inauguration of a new President on the 20th. (Yes, I was still watching at the 10th Presidential dance! If their feet didn’t hurt, mine certainly did!)I was hopeful that a new beginning might signal a new start in areas where so much has been lacking. As a gay and fundamental Christian, I believe I have a Biblical obligation to pray for my leaders, even those I disagree with. As an American, I feel I have an obligation to hope and pray for the best from my leaders, and to “hold their feet to the fire” if they are not doing their best.

The cynicism that I posted about last, had even gotten into that area where I could no longer even look at any of the governments – federal, state and local – with any degree of objectivity or hope. In the amazing book “Language In Thought And Action,” the author talks about when we have cast someone in the role of the “enemy” ALL communications/actions by them are immediately suspect and are filtered through the lens of how I view the “enemy” regardless of the truth.

So, I began to climb out of THAT hole and back to the level playing ground of attempting to see what was truth and what was not. And based on the last several years of watching government, not an easy task ~ not an easy task at all.

Over the last couple of days, two instances of people working on the premise that someone is the enemy and all communications are to be dismissed as lies and deceit have really hit me. Both are disturbing in many ways, but most disturbing to me as to their own lack of humanity and belief in people. Both would claim that is not true, but sadly both would be wrong.

The first came from a supposed christian (small c) self-appointed leader. Joseph Farah is the founder of a very conservative web-site WorldNet Daily. It has a number of contributors who echo the views of the founder. That’s not a problem for me, as I will defend their right to say what they think, just as I will defend my right not to read it. I will also defend my right to comment on it, and give my view of it.

Back in August, I posted about christian hate and christian witchcraft. Christian witchcraft to me is asking the Almighty (however you regard that) to do something “to” another rather than “for” another. It’s charging into the Throne Room ~ demands in hand and expecting that regardless of the Person on the Throne’s attitude/statements/desire we will get what we want, when we want it and, “oh yes, make that yesterday” because I say so. In this case Joseph Farah does something a little more insidious than that. He cloaks his witchcraft in a seemingly nice Christian outfit, with a few well chosen verses thrown in for good effect. He is asking ~ Well, here’s the article. . .

Joseph Farah Pray Obama fails
Posted: January 19, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

Many American Christians believe, as an article of faith, that we are to pray for the success of our leaders.

It has become a sort of conventional wisdom among soft-minded believers. The biblical proof-text for this misguided way of thinking is Romans 13:1-4:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

What could be more clear-cut? At face value, it would seem the Bible is telling us government is a God-ordained good and that we are not to resist its terrors.

Many a coward has been bolstered in his conviction against challenging tyranny by not reading too deeply into the Scriptures. Yet, nowhere does the Bible ever suggest evil rulers are to be obeyed. When the rule of men conflicts with the commands of God, the Bible leaves no doubt about where we should stand.

That’s why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state.

It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign.

I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God’s. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God’s straightforward Commandments.

So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.

Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

And please don’t tell me about “rendering unto Caesar.”

It’s important to consider the circumstances and the audience behind Jesus’ instructions to “render unto Caesar.” The Sadducees were attempting to trap Jesus into advocating open contempt for Caesar. He recognized their wicked and hypocritical little game and answered them with a totally truthful response that astonished everyone.

But think about it. There are two components to Jesus’ words. We are to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” but we are also to “render unto God the things that are God’s.” Well, everything ultimately belongs to God. But, most of all, this injunction by Jesus instructs us that government laws cannot trump God’s laws – ever.

If government commands you to do evil, as a Christian you must resist. There is no alternative. Citing the “render unto Caesar” line is an apologetic for accountability to God – nothing more, nothing less.

Furthermore, it needs to be pointed out that in America we don’t have a Caesar. Never have, never will. You see, our system of government is called a free republic, and it is based on the concept of constitutional self-government. We have no “rulers” in America – except ourselves and our God. We believe in the rule of law, not the rule of men.

This is an important distinction, not a semantic one.

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to obey evil rulers. Nowhere.

This is a time for principled biblical resistance, not phony Christian appeasement.

If, indeed, Mr. Farah is the Christian he claims, and not the christian he seems to be representing here ~ there’s a very strong disconnect from the reality of Scripture. I’m not going to head into a theological argument here, that will be for another time. But I will say time and again The Bible makes it perfectly clear that indeed we do have leaders and we have an obligation to pray for them.

He also conveniently ignores the number of instances where Biblical characters not only DID support what Mr. Farah would consider to be evil, but actually in some cases ruled WITH them.

Yes, there is a time for resistance – but this is not one of them.

And a final thought on this man ~ if, indeed, the President WERE to fail would he stand on his cyberspace rooftop and shout that God had answered his prayer? I rather doubt it. . .

Then, today ~ I ran across this gem from someone who should know better, or is so desperate for ratings or sell his material that he would grasp at straws to accomplish his ends. Rush Limbaugh (remember him from the prescription addiction/pharmacy shopping episode). had this to say about being asked for a 400 word article on what he hopes from an Obama administration:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

Again, this from the man who indicated a number of years ago that dissent was equal to terrorism ~ I suspect echoing the press secretary right after 9/11 who warned that “Americans…need to watch what they say, watch what they do.” They were chilling words back then and became even more so during these last years.

I’ve discovered I’m not as young as I used to be ~ my body keeps reminding me of that daily and going out and about reminds me of that as well. One of the things it has done is allow me the luxury of looking at things with very different “eyes” and outlook. These people are sad in different and similar ways.

I’m not joining the “cast them into the fiery pit of hell” crowd because dissent is a natural and important part of the American political process. What I, and I hope others, will do is to point out the hypocrisy and errors of their dissent.

And, alas, to pray for them.

It’s That Time Again ~ Early Evening Thoughts

It started in New Zealand

– followed about an hour later in Sydney.

The New Year is being celebrated around the globe – and each area hopes that this year will be better than the last, and not worse!!!

But behind the fireworks, cheers and cheery drinks is an amazing combination of hope and fear. I have to agree with a commentator I heard last night that this combination is almost 50-50 in people. It will be interesting to see which side gains strength in 2009.

The most amazing part – it’s up to each of us individually and collectively to decide whether fear or hope will rule. There’s an intersting verse in the Bible that talks about “men’s hearts will fail for fear” . . . I have NO intention of letting mine go that route. I already went down that road once before, and am NOT going down it again.

Am I doing resolutions – no. Am I making commitments instead – yes. I’m convinced I will have better luck with that then resolutions. Of course, if I really want to make sure I continue on with the commitments/resoltions – I could use the services of –>this web site<– to keep me on the straight and narrow!!

I am going to continue to blog, with a lot greater frequency and relevancy this year. I’m going to continue to loan money to individuals around the globe through –>Kiva<– and challenge each of you to take $25 and put it to good use through them AND you get it back . . . it's a loan program after all. Welcome to the New Year

Hey, my lad, ho, my lad!
Here’s a New Broom.
Heaven’s your housetop
And Earth is your room.
Tuck up your shirtsleeves,
There’s plenty to do-
Look at the muddle
That’s waiting for you!

Dust in the corners
And dirt on the floor,
Cobwebs still clinging
To window and door.

Hey, my lad! o, my lad!
Nimble and keen-
Here’s your New Broom, my lad!
See you sweep clean.

– Eleanor Farjeon

This is probably one of my favorite New Year Videos ~ ABBA around the piano is what it is normally called – and is usually played in Sweden around midnight!!

New Year’s Resolutions


Each year I resolve with the strongest intent
To be better this year than the last.
And I work very hard; the rules hardly get bent,
But this discipline gets old so fast!

But with this new year I just know I’ll win out,
Just watch how I do and you’ll see!
I’m not going to have yet another blowout;
I’ll be good as I know I can be.

But, if wicked things beckon, and I’m not so strong,
If I weaken and fall on my ast,
I’ll be thankful again that you’ll help me along
As you have during all new years past.
I’m so glad you are all my friends!!!

— Karl and Joanna Fuchs

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!

O Wonderous Night ~ Early Evening Thoughts

‘Tis Christmas Eve. It’s been an interesting season, one of some sadness, much joy and continued exploration of what life holds. And so, on this Christmas Eve I offer to you one of my absolute favorite stories of all time, just as it was written.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!! ~

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house.

But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest.

O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.

Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Helping The Gene Pool ~ Early Evening Thoughts

I have to admit I’ve been watching a lot more “news” television than I should over the last several days. I’ve reached a stage of “You have GOT to be kidding me” over what the talking, frothing heads are choosing to be talking and frothing about. I really was needing something to make the day(s) better – something to offer some kind of hope.

Even though it’s too early for the official “Darwin Awards” – they will come probably in January, there are some nominations that I thought I might share. The published purpose of the awards is stated quite simply:

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of
the human genome by honoring those who
accidentally remove themselves from it…

These stories have been verified and are not urban legend. . . .

(July 16, 2008, Italy)
Ivece Plattner, 68, was queued at a traffic light in his Porsche Cayenne sportscar. Before one reaches the light, there is a railroad crossing. As you might imagine, given Murphy’s law, a train was coming.

The man did not let the queue progress forward far enough before he crossed the railroad. The safety bars came down, leaving the Porsche trapped on the rails. It took the driver awhile to realize he was stuck, according to witnesses. Finally, he jumped from the car and started to run — toward the oncoming train, waving his arms in an attempt to save his car!

The attempt was successful. The car received less damage than its owner. He was pushed hard enough to land 30 meters away, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.



(8 March 2008, Czech Republic)
Steel is valuable, especially the high grade alloy used in steel cable. Scrap metal dealers do not ask questions. They pay in cash. And a good supply of cables can be found in elevator shafts.

This particular goldmine was a towering shaft inside an empty grainery near Zatec, 40 miles northwest of Prague. The cable was tightly fastened, and the far end of it disappeared into the shadowy distance above.

After substantial wear and tear on a hacksaw, our man finally cut through the strong steel cable. At that instant, the counterbalance, no longer held in check, started to move silently downwards, accelerating until it reached the bottom of the shaft.

Result: one proud winner of a “terminal velocity” Darwin Award.

R.I.P.

The telephone company was replacing above-ground telephone lines with buried lines. In one sparsely populated farming area, if lines crossed a country road they would dig a trench halfway across, so rural traffic could continue through. Then they would fill in the trench, and dig a trench on the other side.

One morning, local farmers called the sheriff to report a smashed-up pickup. Inside were two ranch hands who were last seen the previous night, heading home after last call. You see…

On their way to the bars, the men had decided to play a prank. They stopped their pickup, and moved the flashing warning signs from the trenched side to the good side of the country road. Crime scene analysis later confirmed that they were the culprits who moved the flashing stands. Investigations also revealed that at the time of the accident, they were driving at an excessive speed with an impressive amount of alcohol in their systems.

No crime scene analysis is capable of determining whether the ranch hands forgot their prank, or chose to see what would happen if they hit that trench at a high rate of speed in the middle of the night.

No good prank goes unpunished.

Snowmobiles and alcohol are a dangerous mix. Then came the rabbit.

After a day spent partying and racing snowmobiles in the wilderness, a group of snowmobilers were headed back to their cabin, when up popped a jackrabbit! They gave chase. Several collisions were narrowly averted, and so all the snowmobiles backed off… except one.

This snowmobiler kept his eye on the quarry and rapidly closed in. The rabbit darted aside to save itself. The snowmobiler closed in again. The rabbit ran toward the road, where there was less snow. Trying to ram his rabbit before it crossed the road, the man accelerated to Mach 1.

But the rabbit had other ideas. It darted into the culvert beneath the road. Witnesses stated that the snowmobiler never even braked. There was a metallic crunch as the accelerating vehicle rammed into the culvert, followed by a blast that shattered the snowmobile into a thousand bits.

This brand of snowmobile had a fuel tank mounted in front. The culvert admitted the tip of the snowmobile, then cut into the cowling, spilling fuel over the hot engine. The body of the snowmobiler was blown twenty feet back into the field.

The rabbit’s whereabouts was unknown.

—Rare Double Darwin!

Three hale and hearty young men had finished their basic training. Before heading out to their respective assignments, they decided to spend their few days of leave with one’s grandmother, who lived in the town where they had completed basic training. The privates descended upon Grandmother, who filled them with home cooking and gave them soft beds to sleep in. Grandmother had a swing job to make ends meet, so the privates were left alone late into the night.

How could they repay her for her kindness?

Grandmother had three children. To commemorate the birth of each child, a pine tree had been planted in the front yard. In the fifty years since the last tree was planted, the pines had grown considerably, and the middle tree now blocked the view from the living room window. The privates decided that they would cut down that tree, letting the sun and the view into the room.

A case of beer went into the planning.

To keep the 50-foot tree from crushing the house, the privates reasoned that they would tie a rope to the top of the tree and pull the rope away from the house as the tree was cut.

The middle pine tree, the doomed one, was slightly closer to the house than the other two. The privates climbed an end tree, wound a rope through its upper branches, and threw the rope to a private in the middle tree. He tied the rope around the trunk. By this device, they could pull the rope from the ground. The middle pine tree would fall away from the house, and the privates were also clear of the path of the falling tree.

Climbing a pine tree is very sappy work, and scrapes and gouges are infliced by the natural roughness of its bark. But the hale and hearty privates completed the preliminaries without complaint. The middle tree was lassoed and levered by the rope running through the end tree.

So far, so good.

Two privates were situated on the ground, each straining to pull the tree away from Grandmother’s house. The third private revved his 20 HP chainsaw and started to cut. Lo and behold, the tree actually fell away from Grandmother’s house! However…

The rope-pulling privates had wrapped the rope around their waists, not considering that the falling pine weighed several tons. As the middle pine tree fell, both privates were ripped off their feet and smashed through the branches of the end pine tree. At the height of their acceleration, they broke through the top branches of the tree, and were briefly airborne before being jerked toward the earth when the middle tree hit the ground. The privates entered into Darwin history, either on the way up through the branches or on the way down to the cold, hard ground.

The event spoke for itself.

Somehow not being able to get the garland hung outside today seems to pale in comparison.

A Tardy Celebration ~ Early Evening Thoughts


In my last post (oh so many weeks ago) I teased about an important celebration that was coming up. That date ~ the 27th of August ~ is very important to me. Actually, all days are now important to me. On the 27th of August, last year, I began a journey back from the edge of having no edge at all.

So – the announcement? On the 27th of this month I will be celebrating one year and four months of sane(r) and sober life. As those who have followed this blog (through its ups and downs) will know that each of these dates represent a real milestone. I’m enjoying my life, considering I almost didn’t have one ~ and waking each day with a sense of renewal and hope.

I’ll be talking more about the recent journey, such as the fun of the knee replacements, the JOY of hurricanes and learning that no matter how young my mind is convinced I am – the body wants to tell me a very, very different story.

So, welcome back! To me and to you!! Pull up a chair, and we’ll continue to talk about it all.

Please Pass (Over) The Nuts ~ Late Morning Thoughts

Christian Hate And Christian Witchcraft

Christian Hate:
This week the Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Everyone Except Us) founded by Fred Phelps (Godhatesfags.com) tried to go into Canada to hold a hate-filled protest at the funeral of the innocent man who was decapitated on a bus trip. Quoting from Paul Gackle,Winnipeg Free Press as published in the National Post:

Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean’s death as God’s wrath.

Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church – an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers – announced they would picket Mr. McLean’s funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.

But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church’s founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.

“They won’t let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot,” she said. “They’ll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won’t know who we are. They’ll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts.”

The resistance to the planned funeral protest started on Facebook yesterday morning when Jim Cotton, a resident of Winnipeg Beach, launched a page asking city residents to help protect Mr. McLean’s funeral. . .

. . . Mr. Cotton was outraged and asked Winnipeg Facebookers to circle around the seven picketers tomorrow and pray for Mr. McLean’s family.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, Mr. Cotton’s page had over 100 friends. Rodney Taylor, an Ottawa resident, found the page and pitched in.

Mr. Taylor phoned the Prime Minister’s Office, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office and border services, asking them to keep the Westboro group out of the country. He also created his own Facebook page urging other offended Canadians to follow his lead.

“These people are callous, vicious and shouldn’t be let into our country,” he said. “We have freedom of speech, but they are inciting hate.”

Mr. Taylor’s plan worked. Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls yesterday from angry Winnipeggers.

“These people [from Westboro] are almost as crazy as the murderer,” he said. “If they are here to disrupt the social order, that constitutes grounds to deny them entry. There is no redeeming virtue in the message they are bringing.”

According to Mr. Martin, Mr. Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets that fit the hateful messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.

“In the opinion of his office, coming up here with the message they’re articulating constitutes hate speech,” said Mr. Martin.

Members of the Kansas-based fundamentalist sect were already planning to picket in Canada prior to last week’s bus slaying. The group was scheduled to protest in Toronto Thursday night at the opening of playwright Alistair Newton’s “The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret”, which satirizes their leader’s fervent anti-gay stance. . .

. . .In 1999, the Canadian government said it was powerless to prevent Mr. Phelps from entering the country when he was planning a protest in Ottawa over a Supreme Court ruling extending rights to gays and lesbians.

At that time, the government said the minister could only make exceptions at the border to grant people entry who might otherwise be denied, not deny people entry who would normally be admitted. . .

. . .The Winnipeg Police Service said they were not planning to block the funeral protest if the group successfully crossed the border, but they were prepared to be on hand if necessary.

This hate group was a no-show at the funeral ~ citing concerns for their safety – but in actuality they must have realized that they lost the opportunity for publicity as 250 Winnipeg residents were on hand to protect the funeral and the family.

What troubles me so much is that this group – while spewing hatred for everything and everyone that doesn’t believe in them are now trying to export this brand of hatred. Adding insult to injury, they are also spewing in the name of God, that God has already decided who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell, so it makes no difference what you do – (unless you’re a Westboro church member – which automatically grants you access through the Golden Gates). I’m not going to get into the murky waters of predestination and/or pre-ordination. But rather the manner they are going about it.

The church itself (as a non-profit organization) is supported by the donations of its members and those who share their perverted view of God’s law and God’s attributes. And without publicity, their donations would, in fact, start to dry up. Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had “little regard for the ethics of his profession.” Which says a lot to me.

Once a group moves from sharing what they believe and trying to beat people into submission of ONLY what they believe ~ they have moved into being a cult, not a belief. But to this group of hate-mongers it makes no difference. They have become publicity whores and donation driven. How else could he and his family afford all these trips to perform at “20,000 protests” (their claim) and put fairly well done videos on the web? Being non-profit gives them incredible tax advantages which helps fund their activities.

But here’s what troubles me the most. What is it within people that makes them believe in this kind of activity and speech? Is it within each of us to fall into this kind of trap? Is there something within me that festers and decays that would allow me to live in that kind of hate and fear? That’s the troublesome question. I have some very strong held beliefs, could those turn into a driving force pushing me “over the edge?”

–thus endeth part one of today’s meditation

Please Pass (Over) The Nuts (2)~ Late Morning Thoughts

Christian Hate and Christian Witchcraft ~

Christian Witchcraft ~

As I grew up in what would be considered a fairly conservative family, church was always present in the schedule of our household. There was Sunday School where I argued with my teacher over the length of the days in Creation. Church services where I watched the church split one Easter Sunday morning.

But often there was the prayer meeting/Bible Study night. which was very interesting to me growing up in the 40’s – 60’s. There were the ladies that looked as if they hadn’t smiled in 20 years – much less laughed – announcing that they were so glad they had the JOY down in their hearts. There was gossip disguised in request form to make it legal ~ “Let’s pray for Sister Thomas to have strength as her husband has been seen with another woman.” As I was somewhat young to really understand this, it was later in my own struggles with what I would believe that I came to these realizations. And it was late in the struggle that I came to understand the last of these ~ Christian Witchcraft. “And let Sister Abigail’s husband be stricken with a disease that will keep him from drinking every again. Let any mouthful of alcohol make him deathly sick.” “Do what it takes to turn Sam around – be it disease or even death.”

Later I was to realize the audacity of those kind of statements. The sheer impertenance of the approach and the fact it was simply practicing witchcraft ~ of a Christian kind. This was moving beyond asking God to do something FOR someone and into asking God to do something TO someone. And it was a minister who labeled that Christian Witchcraft.

Recently – Stuart Shepard, who produces videos for Focus on the Family and hosts a video segment titled Stoplight, –> released a video <– asking people to pray. Not a bad thing in my opinion, but it was WHAT was being asked that really bothered me. He is asking for everyone to pray for rain the night that Barack Obama speaks outdoors at the Democratic National Convention.

We’re not just talking a little rain either. This man would have us ask for a torrential, flooding downpour. Something of epic proportions . . . that would, of course, destroy the theatrics of the evening. Talk about asking God to do something TO someone. So, somehow, we are being asked to perform a rain-dance prayer of some kind in order to ruin someone’s time in the limelight?

Regardless of what you believe, the Bible is quite firm ~ that kind of behavior is a real no-no. And in the Old Testament (and the Torah) the penalty for it and participating is rather profound and life-ending. (Of course, tacking Christian in front of it makes it perfectly acceptable right?)

Before the e-mails start coming, let me say this – I am NOT against prayer ~ I am not against prayer. What I am against, is using it as a weapon to hurt or damage someone. I know all the theological arguments, and I’ve used some of them. But, in this case and using prayer this way I am saying is wrong – wrong – wrong. What I am against, is using prayer as some kind of weapon against someone who is innocent or has not wronged in any way.

So often, we barge into the Throne Room with our demands in hand, often based on very shaky ground to demand from the Creator something we feel we have a right to or should have . . . handing the Almighty (of any religion) a contract that has neither been signed nor seen.

Mr. Shepard tried to pass off his video as “boyish humor” – but it seems to me that both he and Fred Phelps have forgotten on of the major tenants of the New Testament mainly ~

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.Matthew 5:43-45

–thus endeth the 2nd rant

F.Y.I. ~ The Return ~ Early Evening Thoughts

I’m sorry that I have been “missing in action” for these last months. I would like to say upfront, everything is fine, I’m fine and what is now going on around me is fine as well!!
It was just important that I take some time off and solidify what’s been happening with me, and to get to the point that I actually wanted to write something that wasn’t in my journal.

So, even tho’ I have NOT been:

And I certainly have not been under a storm of any kind:

I am glad to say that in the next few days I shall be back, and be back to stay!!!

It’s about time ~ Early Evening Thoughts


It’s about time that I climbed out of my writer’s slumber, my ~ whatever it’s called and get back to writing here.

For those whom I know from the blog, I apologize for the delay. Just know, that life actually has gotten quite nice and ~ being me ~ not without it’s humorous adventure side.

Starting tomorrow I’m back in the saddle and ready to continue blabbing sharing what’s been happening and what is going on…

First up, I’m going to finish the story of what brought me to this point and I’ve also got a new collection of Elegant Timewasters …

warm valley —
countless geese
seeking refuge

moonrise —
the dark night of a soul
lifts

Biting off
more than I can chew —
a broken wisdom tooth.

chanting canyon streams

Opening bell
echoes from the canyon walls —
raindrops on the river.

The sounds of rocks bouncing off rocks;
the shadows of trees traced on trees.

I sit, still.
The canyon river chants,
moving mountains.

The sermon spun on the still point:
dropping off eternity, picking up time;
letting go of self, awakened to Mind.

—Above the Fog ~ Short Poems by Michael P. Garofalo
Selections from Cuttings

—more tomorrow