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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Seventh-Inning Stretch In The Colosseum

Storm clouds gathering ! :
The debate over exactly how many Christians were persecuted and martyred may seem irrelevant centuries later. A scholarly consensus has indeed emerged that Roman persecution of Christians was sporadic, and that at least some Christian martyrdom stories are theological tall tales.
But a new book by Candida Moss, a New Testament professor at the University of Notre Dame, is bringing that message to the masses...

I am already bored with this. I was bored before I finished the article, mainly because it was so predictable: ... everyone seeking to change the interpretation of history to fit their world view and politics.

Later, someone else says:
If the first Christians pictured themselves as waging war against the world, the martyrs were their version of the Navy SEALs. They were the elite Christians who inspired and united others of their faith.
Navy SEALs !??  You have got to be kidding.

The Age of Tedium


Easter Invades Earth 2

Someone said that I put them in mind of Saint Jerome. Of course, they meant "in the worst possible sense of St. Jerome", and not the best sense; they meant that based upon the evidence of my poem for Easter, I loved Cicero more than Jesus.

Heavy-duty observation and condemnation, what? Doth knock the old scales from the previously closed eye sockets,  and makes straight the crooked, and finds the up-until-now obscurely and thoroughly lost to be found like a bright penny.

Well, it is not my job to inspire anyone; that job belongs to them.
Furthermore, I think one would have to have walked a couple of milia passuum in Jerome's sandals before one could jump to an understanding of the meaning of his vision, its relation to his classical scholarship, and just in general all kinds of neuron-and-synapse type things involved.

I could say more, but I would be talking about myself, and I do enough of that as it is.


Easter Invades Earth !

The Rubicon Engorged By Spring Rains

deep set eyes of pompey Winter
retreat to their last stand;
Spring invades italy, 
like green caesar riding
upon a rubicon of rain. 


I think this is what poetry is:  a "making" and "putting together" of joy and enchantment, for the spectre of  "Pompey Winter"  -  Pompeius Hiems - and his defeat are indeed stark;
the "green" Caesar  who crosses the Rubicon is marvelous potent with his army of veterans whose every step germinates the soil....
Hints of April showers bringing whatever in May....

There is a "caespes" which makes one think of Caesar, caespes meaning"a grassy field", "a bed of plants", and "sod" and "a sod hut".

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Christina's World: Fukushima

Modern day Fukushima:
Corporate and Government in harmony for profit,
ignoring the human costs involved.


Binding and Loosing

Peasant Woman Binding Sheaves After Millet

Matthew 8:18
King James Version

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
I read this as applying to the Law and how it governs the actions of mankind:  whatever actions you make mandatory will be seen as mandatory in heaven, and whatever actions you make free of the Law will be seen as free of the Law in heaven.

That is quite a lot.

Ever since Francis I washed some feet the other day, traditionalist Catholic bloggers have been at odds with the fact that there were 2 women washees involved (2 perhaps for Mary and Martha... the RC Church is very big on symbolism, using it as an enormous crutch to wend its way through life's mysteries)

Pope's Foot-Wash A Final Straw For Traditionalists
by Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

..."The pope does not need anybody's permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him," noted conservative columnist Jimmy Akin in the National Catholic Register. But Akin echoed concerns raised by canon lawyer Edward Peters, an adviser to the Vatican's high court, that Francis was setting a "questionable example" by simply ignoring the church's own rules.
"People naturally imitate their leader. That's the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples' feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them," he said. "Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example."
The inclusion of women in the rite is problematic for some because it could be seen as an opening of sorts to women's ordination. The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men, arguing that Jesus and his 12 apostles were male.
Francis is clearly opposed to women's ordination. But by washing the feet of women, he jolted traditionalists who for years have been unbending in insisting that the ritual is for men only and proudly holding up as evidence documentation from the Vatican's liturgy office saying so.
"If someone is washing the feet of any females ... he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics," Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog....
If I were to affix a RC label to myself, it would say "traditionalist". However, it would not say "traditionalist who thinks his personal history has a unique validity."
It is my own tastes, bred from years in choir singing Latin hymns, that makes me intransigeantly refuse to sing "hoottenany" type modernistical hymns, not some misplaced apprehension that old ways are best ways, or more exactly, old ways that form part of the History of Me are the best ways.

Referring back to the quotation from Matthew, when Jesus says that anything may be loosed, what does that mean?
This quotation is loaded with dynamite. I have always heard it handled in the sense that laws made by the Church receive a rubber stamp of approval in heaven. In other words, the sermons always were telling our tender minds that the Church was right, the Pope infallible, and all was well with the World.

However, that approach misses the verb "loose", "...whatsoever ye shall loose on earth..."

Consider now, what is it that may be loosed? What portion of the Law may be rendered null and void?
The quote does not say "...whatever non-essential, extraneous, superfluous bit of fluffery ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." It says "whatever", period, full stop.

So just as weighty matters are bound, so also may weighty matters be loosed.

All who bend their necks to the binding of the Law as a unbroken and unbreakable chain are mistaken, and they view the days of change with the same horror that the Orthodox heard the views of St. Paul that the uncircumcised were justified by the acts of their faith.


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Man Who Was Maundy Thursday

 Walking to the Sanctuary of Chimayo During The Easter Pilgrimage

Nuestra Senora de Chimayo ! Senora de la Cruz !
Maundy Thursday has come and gone. I got up in the middle of the night and did my Maundy Thursday prayers, thus proving once again that I, at least, could spend a few moments in the Garden of Olives. They were a few minutes, not great minutes, not shattering minutes, just some time.
Whenever I think I have really seen and talked to God, He never has had much to say.
I did not used to pray so much in the hours between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; I used to totally ignore it, until one Maundy Thursday , after having passed out on the bed, I was rudely awakened about 3:00 AM by what seemed to be a shining within me, asking whether I could not spend at least one hour in the night watches with the uncanny source of the shining sound ....

Of course, I was a bit befuddled this morning as usual, and I did not know what prayers to say, so I started with a rousing "Our Father" and backed it up with an "Ave" or two.
I always expect something divinely profound, but I am not rudely shaken and "thrust down from my horse", like St. Paul was. 
I see happy people think that God is the happiness, or I see joyful people and they think God is the joy, or I hear people in love and they think God is the love.
He is, but He is also the long time between highs. God may give me the heights, but He also supports me in the valleys. We speak of God and joy in a very different sense than we speak of God and tedium, or -worse yet - suffering. There is God, there are the heights, there are the valleys, and I'm walking... yes, indeed.
God does not intend one more than the other; it is the path chosen.
In the one sense, we identify;  in the other sense, we set up a contradiction...
One is Attraction, the other is Flight. These categories have nothing to do with the Holy.

Last year I was under anesthesia for the first time in my life.
I woke up staring at the clouds, and I knew something was eternal; not eternal this or that, just eternal. Not the clouds, not the sky, not the air, not me... nothing necessarily, but all things necessarily
And I was very happy.
I saw that God is Silence but not Nothing.
God is the Fullness beyond speech, beyond imagery.
Once I try to say one word, the spell of infinity shatters: the clouds go back to the sky, the sun hides again behind the Michigan clouds, the quanta of the windows form up into rectangular arrays surrounding the outdoor sights..., I am myself, and all is well with the world, and we are back to the humdrum miracles of living our lives...

This morning I heard "O, Sacred Heart Surrounded" and it stuck in my head, and I have heard various renditions of it since then in the Carnegie Hall Cavern of my cranium, all of which tend to the distinctly irreverent, and I think that that's a fine how-do-you-do for Good Friday. All the Tre Ori in the world cannot save me, I fear.

Leona's Restaurant, Chimayo, NM

We are making plans to go to my Aunt's memorial next Saturday. It is in Holland, about 3 1/2 hours from here. She was in her 100th year, and passed away 3 days after my father's funeral. Since things happen in threes, my first cousin Bob suddenly passed on March 20.
All the bugs have been ironed out of the process by now, however, and we are moving about ship-shape and Bristol fashion. We have it down to a science... , a mortuary science...., as my cousin's wife's cousin - the mortician - calls it with a twinkle in his eye.

Our relatives on the East Coast have sent more condolences and are seriously wondering what the heck's going on in Michigan. I am sure they have made up their minds to steer clear of the place.

I'm doing OK.
A close friend's mother passed away in her 101st year. I was all over that.
Then his brother passed away last week; I was emailed and I promptly forgot the entire thing happened.

My Mind is Maundy.


Decriminalize or Legalize?

The Decriminalization of Drugs gets Society off the hook it hung itself on, a hook which forces it to pay for the long-term incarceration of people convicted of minor drug offenses.

Once this has been accomplished, the social costs of drug addiction yet remain as a cost to society, and the treatment of any addictions will be usually handled by government agencies of one sort or another.

The Legalization of Drugs, however, creates a situation wherein there can be legislation establishing and regulating the economic activity of such drugs, and the proper assignment of social costs connected to drug use can be made; that is, the companies which wish to provide drugs will pay for drug treatment programs.

This will reduce their profits in the exact same way that Clean Air laws reduce the profits of coal burning energy companies.


An Adventure in Art (3)

Banana Still Life 

Fred Bell
Fred Bell Paintings


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Who's Fighting In Syria?

Following up my post on Tattooed Muslims, there was another story on CNN about an ex-US Army soldier arrested for fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria.

Very interesting, very interesting.

Just a note on the tattoos, the soldier was obviously posing to show them off for the photographer. The photographer, who may have been from a Islamic background, may have very well known about the status of tattoos in Islam.
I am very surprised that such things would be a focus of a story about Syria. I mean, you would think no one would want to show off the tattoos, which are forbidden in the Hadiths of the Prophet 

It is very mysterious.


Tattoed Muslims... ?

 AP Photo of Syrian Rebel

Associated Press   (link)
Muhammed Muheisen
In this Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 file photo, Syrian rebel fighter Tawfiq Hassan, 23, a former butcher, poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria. America's Arab allies have dramatically stepped up weapon supplies to Syrian rebels in preparation for a push on the capital Damascus, the main stronghold of President Bashar Assad, officials and Western military experts say, with one official saying airlifts to neighboring Jordan and Turkey have doubled the past month. The U.S. and other Western governments are involved to channel the flow toward more secular fighters, they say. The influx appears to be boosting a rebel drive to seize supply routes from the border with Jordan to Damascus.

My Muslim friends, some of whom are from Syria, were surprised to see this picture; they were no more surprised than I was. I saw it early this morning and thought, "What in the world...?" as I fell off my chair.
There is a sequence of photos, each purporting to be some every-day Ahmad, who used to be a butcher, baker, or barber, who has taken up arms in the cause of freedom.

The man identified as Tawfiq Hassan has tattoos !
Tattoos are  haram  in Islam; they are forbidden.

Not only does this man have tattoos, but the tattoos picture animate creatures: two women crowned with doves, one on each shoulder blade.
The depiction of animate creatures is also haram, forbidden, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on one's school of the law.

It is, in other words, a double whammy... or haramān   (two forbiddens)... if you will.

I can imagine a good deal of serious discussion given in Muslim forums about tattoos and about the depiction of human beings, but I think it would take a long stretch of the imagination to think that anyone would look at these tattos and think anything but haram.

If this guy is anything but a mercenary, I will be very surprised.

If they are non-Islamic, who are they? Perhaps they are Middle Eastern, but they seem to have no religious roots. Perhaps they are the sociopaths being groomed to rule the future Syria.


3D Movies !

They fly right at you.

pix: Capt. Geoffrey Spaulding

An Adventure in Art (2)

Sudoku Puzzle

Claudia Hammer
Claudia Hammer, A Painting A Day


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Time Kandinsky

Kandinsky #1

Friko's comment on the post Easter Time about  Mr. Kraft's Easter tree trimming made me wonder where I had seen similar apparitions of color before: what did that tree remind me of?

Of course, early paintings by Wasily Kandinsky!

 Kandinsky #2


An Adventure In Art (1)

I have a love for Toronto, and I am very partial to the paintings of Toronto by C.A. Jeffrey ( ). I have posted many of C.A. Jeffrey's paintings here. (I always refer to her as C.A.Jeffrey..., it is a habit I got into when living in Botswana. It seemed as if we wished to inflate reality, so we used every possible nomenclature available, and to omit any was to commit a deflation of life.)

I have also posted art, mostly of old and established Art. I think the old and established have enough venues, so I shall start posting art from artists less well known.

I shall start at C.A. Jeffrey's list of blogs, and grow outwards from there:

Sunflowers in Red Vase

Karen Margulis
Painting My World


Easter Time

In Der Spiegel:

Each year, Volker Kraft decorates an apple tree with more than 10,000 colourful eggs in Saalfeld, Thuringia, to celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring. The former comes early this year, but the latter could still take a while.

More On The Justice Systems of the World

... the case of Rachel Hoffman, a 23-year-old college graduate.
In 2008, she was caught with marijuana and ecstasy in her apartment. To escape charges that could have resulted in a five-year prison term, she agreed to become an undercover informant for the Tallahassee Police Department

The police sent her out on a sting operation with $13,000 (£8,600) in cash to buy cocaine, ecstasy and a gun from two convicted criminals.
But despite the presence of 19 undercover officers, and a surveillance plane circling overhead, police lost track of her.

"She never had any police training, they never did a dry run of this, there was no tracking device in her car," says her father, Irv Hoffman, a mental health counsellor.
Rachel Hoffman was murdered with the gun the police had sent her to buy when the suspects found a police recording device in her purse.

Surely by this time the Police have seen enough Law and Order or Matlock to be able to run their "investigations" without sacrificing their "snitches".


Immigration Point Of View

State Rep. Ponka-We Victors, Kansas

Ponka-We Victors (D-Wichita), a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the only American Indian in the Kansas State Legislature, offered her reading of the situation to Kris Kobach, Kansas' Secretary of State.
The encounter takes on added significance when one considers the man Victors was addressing. Kris Kobach is known around the country as an anti-immigration hawk, and had a hand in such controversial measures as Arizona's SB 1070. As Mother Jones puts it, "if there's a controversial new anti-immigration law that's captured national attention, chances are that it has Kris Kobach's imprimatur."
"I think it’s funny Mr. Kobach, because when you mention illegal immigrants, I think of all of you," Victors said...


The Group of Seven (1)

Vancouver Ferry

Frederick Horsman Varley  1881-1969


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Yves Tanguy

 Painting by Tanguy

Yves Tanguy, photo by Man Ray


The Justice Systems of the World

I suggested the Justice system might be crap... worldwide crap.
That was sort of heated and unfortunate, but what I meant was things like the following:
...The practice known as "walking down grain" is illegal. Federal penalties for employers who permit or require it, however, are routinely pared. Since 1984, OSHA has cut initial fines for grain-entrapment deaths by nearly 60 percent overall, an analysis of enforcement data by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR shows. And even in the worst instances of employer misconduct, no one has gone to jail.
Twenty-six people died in entrapments in 2010, the worst year in decades. At least 498 people have suffocated in grain bins since 1964, according to data analyzed for the Center and NPR by William Field, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University.
At least 165 more people drowned in wagons, trucks, rail cars or other grain storage structures. Almost 300 were engulfed but survived. Twenty percent of the 946 people caught in grain were under 18.
“At some point we’re going to have to decide whether these incidents are just accidental … [or] somebody’s really making horrendous decisions that approach a criminal level,” said Field, who has studied entrapments since 1978 and served as an expert witness in grain-death lawsuits and as an industry and OSHA consultant. “It’s intentional risk-taking on the part of the managers or someone in a supervisory capacity that ends up in some horrific incidents. The bottom line is if you ask them why they did it, it was because it was more profitable to do it that way.”

When we make up our minds that something as blatant as this is a crime, it was criminal and blatant before while our society acted as enablers, letting the crimes continue.

Why should we put such emphasis on crossing the t's and dotting the i's when there is no guarantee that this intense focus gives us a better and "juster" outcome than before, and the legal professionals obviously are remedying things... maybe, because obviously there is no "perfect" outcome.

But, sometimes a great thing happens; sometimes justice is done; sometimes the good guys win, sometimes not.


Retrial for Amanda Knox in Italy?

One would think that legal professionals should be able to actually have a legal trial without endlessly dragging things out. Is Justice so difficult to chivvy from its burrow? Or is the Legal system crap?


Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" As Manitou

And the Wikiup as a symbol for the Holy...

I used a still from the film Melancholia, and it reminded me of how powerful the film was to me.
Consider the following review:
...Von Trier’s statement that Melancholia is the first of his films with a happy ending further reveals the whole film as a cruel trick on the audience: couched in the language of what is considered “serious film” today is a fantasy as romantic to its maker as a vampire drama to teenage girls. I can just imagine Lars smirking up a storm in the dark while critics ooh and aah over this emptiness.

 I saw the final scene, depicted above, as a spiritual transformation; the stick structure strikes me as a naked wikiup, and its perimeter defines a sacred area wherein people find their last refuge.
(When I first saw the film, I saw a wikiup with 3 sticks, obviously a trinity. A wikiup is usually covered by mats of brush or foliage; a naked wikiup is a metaphor for bare Faith, the covered wikiup is establishment religion under which we may still discern the original "sticks" of inspiration.)

Von Trier finds his happy ending in this structure of meaning beyond death.

I can see why people who are obsessed by material things would find it a cruel hoax.

This is the Age of Cruel Hoaxes. It is good to see memories of the Great Spirit.

Paradox of Parables 2: Cooking

We posed the question:
How could Jesus give power to a small group of leaders and send them forth to convert the world, since He must have known full well that one of the biggest fruits of a church of many believers would be worldy possessions and riches...
those very material things which would make it difficult if not impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven?
and gave an answer:

but the answer was a bit long and tended to wander around the things cluttering up my own private Idaho mind space.

So, the answer is that the command was to preach, but not to amass, accumulate, and consolidate. Indeed, we might wish to assume that if the preferred business model consisted of 12 equal individuals who did not gain wealth nor did they gain even immunity from persecution, that the way things were to go was to be sort of a guerilla campaign of the spirit...

instead of having fortified hamlets, the word was to be spread by hit and run campaigns.

Now, once a Christian community was established, it already probably inhabited a geographical locus, so we now would have consolidation. However, consolidation of a group of the faithful by the accidents of birth and geography is not the same thing as consolidation of the proselytizing effort into a Mega-Church.

Religion is all what you make of it; it is a recipe of so many parts you and so many parts of the Holy. Sometimes the cooking has too much you in it.

Science and Religion: Unconscious Intuitions of "Melancholia" and "Take Shelter"

As we already noted:  

Large asteroid heading to Earth? Pray, says NASA
By Irene Klotz
Posted 2013/03/19 at 8:55 pm EDT 
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, Mar. 19, 2013 (Reuters) — NASA chief Charles Bolden has advice on how to handle a large asteroid headed toward New York City: Pray. That's about all the United States - or anyone for that matter - could do at this point about unknown asteroids and meteors that may be on a collision course with Earth, Bolden told lawmakers at a U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on Tuesday...
Mr. Bolden has underscored the irony of the present:
we have Science;
we have Prayer;
they only come together when we are on the edge of destruction.

There is a time for all things under the sun: a time to pray, a time to develop technology, ... , and a time to use the gifts of God to preserve the planet.

Are not all the images and films and stories of comet and meteor impacts intuitions of God's gift of technology to move mountains for the spiritually inept? And the disaster of those who see only Science, or those who see only Religion?
Is it not the discomfiture of the Obsession of trying to preserve one side of a gold coin, while attempting to throw away the other side?

The films Melancholia and Take Shelter are but the most recent and accomplished Harmonious Concerts of Art, which depict the absolute tragedy of Life which lives with Science and Spirit divided in two camps.


The Iraq War Metaphor: Nous Sommes Tous Coupable!

We are all at fault, and we are feeling our way to the end of the tragedy...
Oedipus wandering to Colonus.

Unexpected and overwhelming, a shattering clarity, as was that fate of Cesar and Ugolin in Jean de Florette.


Multi-tasking Null Tasks

 A quote today:

Veteran observer of his nation's way of life, Oxford-based French writer Theodore Zeldin agrees that a business-style culture has made huge inroads into France - the bane of all those who prefer to take the time to savour things:
"Companionship has been replaced by networking. Business means busy-ness, and in that way we are becoming like everywhere else," he says.


Monday, March 25, 2013

A Personal Violation: The Iraq War

In The Economist:

The Iraq war 
Anniversary of a mass delusion 
Mar 18th 2013, 16:41 by M.S.

...[It] obviously, was all a fever dream. There were no biological or nuclear weapons; there may have been a few rusty chemical shells lying around, just as there had been for decades. Iraq was not an important sponsor of Islamicist terrorism... [which] was fueled not by fascist dictatorships such as Iraq, but by non-state actors in failed states such as Afghanistan and Somalia; and our invasion of Iraq promptly turned it into precisely the sort of failed-state sectarian war zone that does fuel terrorism. Thousands of American soldiers died in a war in Iraq that only exacerbated the danger of anti-American terrorism... In the name of pre-empting a non-existent threat, America killed tens of thousands of people and turned Iraq into a breeding ground for terrorism. And we spent a trillion dollars to do it.

How did America's policymaking community ever commit itself to such a catastrophic delusion? I don't truly understand it now, and I didn't understand it then. I found the developing consensus for an unprovoked attack on Iraq in late 2002 absurd. But I had an advantage: I wasn't living in America at the time...

...Large numbers of otherwise intelligent people had ended up supporting the war...
the malign influence of intellectual conformity, the fear of being branded anti-patriotic or a foolish apologist for dictators, the nervous self-hatred of an intellectual class cowed into submission by an anti-intellectual president's popularity also all played a role. I remember spending a week in the offices of the New York Times's Outlook section...,  the anxiety to self-police against anything that could be perceived as liberal bias was palpable. Smart, serious people convinced themselves to accept the most spurious claims.

I remember it so well, and shall never forget it: the compulsion to get-in-line was like a serious violation of one's mind and body; it was an unrestrained and dirty process which can only find metaphors in the most prurient and debased types of sadistic pornography.


Standing Guard

Super Duck Maintains His Lonely Vigil Over Metropolis


Variations on a Theme of Extended or Other-Directed Minds

How Natural Selection Can Create Both Self- and Other-Regarding Preferences, and Networked Minds

and a brief discussion at Science Daily:

'Networked Minds' Require Fundamentally New Kind of Economics

 Networked minds and extended minds and group minds.... not quite the same concept now, but as time goes on, we shall clarify this, working together.
Obviously, to be "other-directed" does not have the notion of the continuity that "networked mind" or "group mind" ... yet.

pix: Science Daily

Mozart the Egyptian

Mozart L'Égyptien, or Mozart the Egyptian, was a congress of influences in 1997 (#1)and 2005 (#2), and the waters of Europe commingled with those of the Nile.

Sayyed Emam at Mozart L'Égyptien


The Muslim Brotherhood of Al Jahaliyya

Morsi Misriyy:  Morsi the Egyptian

I have had some good words for the Muslim Brotherhood recently after Tahrir Square and the events in Egypt.

Time having passed, I must say they are a disappointment. However, I am not an Egyptian, and it is the Egyptians who are stuck with them; it is the Egyptians and those citizens of other countries in the area who seemingly are trading one oppressor for another.
...the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt issued an extraordinary, and extraordinarily disturbing, rejoinder to the draft of a declaration calling for an end to violence against women that was eventually passed at the annual session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. In an official statement responding to the draft, the Brotherhood argued that, if approved, it would “lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.”
I cannot agree with this in its entirety.
However, it is not individual arguing points that I care about, rather it is the tone of the statement: it is the Voice of the Oppressor, which claims that the subordinate status of women is a Moral Imperative, and that this Moral Imperative is the basis for Islamic society.

It may be the basis of these societies, but it is not a Pillar of Islam.

It is an element of the Jahaliyya, the Time of Ignorance, when women were second and third class citizens and little more than chattels in many areas of Arabia.

Time For A Nuclear Discussion

pix: Shan and James/ Bloomberg
It is time to deal with nuclear weapons in a thoroughgoing and rational way.

Niels Bohr warned us even before the Trinity test showed that atomic weapons were possible and real that those weapons had a complementarity: they were a two edged sword; atomic power can bring benefits and destruction.

This complementarity of atomic power is the reason that mankind will find themselves compelled to institute a rational process of negotiated agreements about atomic power in order to survive.

We have ignored this, just as we have ignored the mounting public debt, just as we have ignored the nuclear waste at Hanford, Washington where the small community was depopulated to make room in 1943 for the production of plutonium for the Manhattan Project.

Rational approaches do not usually include "pretending" that one of our allies - Israel - does not have any such weapons. It's a small thing, but it indeed is part of our process of self-deception.

Modern Nuclear-War Deterrence Begins With Nuke Locks
By Tim Weiner


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Caligula and Congress


Let's see..., sequestration treats everyone the same and swings a broad sword, which cuts things indiscriminately.
In essence, it is as if everyone's problems are the same, and everyone can bear to lose equal amounts; everyone will be treated the exact same way, even though not everyone may have benefited previously. That is, various segments received great doses of money before, and they will be cut by the same percentage as folks who received little or nothing.

So, where in the history of Rome are we with all this?

Caligula once was heard to say, "Utinam populus Romanus unam cervicem haberet!
Or, "O, that all the people of Rome had only one neck!"
The idea here was one neck would be easier to strike off the Roman shoulders than thousands of necks and their top-heavy appurtenances called brain cases.

Would that the American People had but one head, so that we could give all of their benefits a buzzcut right now!




Secretary of State John Kerry went to Iraq to ask them to help in preventing arms to Baghdad. There was no mention of arms to the other side of the conflict.

As a way to measure how successful the policy of the USA has been in this area, the Secretary's visit was unannounced.

Every time an American high official goes to Iraq, they have to sneak in the back door.
I do not think it speaks highly of American policy in the 21st century.



Old Man Nietsh

Nothing against Nietzsche, but why are we still so interested in him?
Are we still such dullards and is the air we breathe still so stifling that the rants and ravings of an oppressed genius from almost-antiquity are like a cool breeze to us?
Are we still so compulsively obtuse that Nietzsche is always fresh and new, and his tirades never lose their edge?



I personally am bright and shining only when I am writing.

All other times I am muddy and obscure.


Fish, and House Guests

Fish and House Guests

Catherine of Siena said that when we do what what we are supposed to be doing, we will set the world on fire.

A similar way of saying it is to paraphrase the old maxim:

Fish, house guests, and people who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing all begin to smell after three days.


Designers for Fabulous Monsters

designer for the Pacific Northwest Sasquatch Community.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

What's New?

In the near time, using our extended understanding, we shall live together in our differences: we may have many religions, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu, and anything else, for religion is not given to create a schism between the intelligences that make up this creation.

Oneness does not mean one religion, one nation, one politics, one philosophy: it means Unity in Difference. That is the great task confronting us in the near time: to see one in many.

We had thought that the Spirit of the New World and the freedom of America would accomplish this, but it has not been successful in all respects.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blah, blah, and blah

"...Too often the science-religion debate has been allowed to remain the province of a special-interest group, rather than being challenged and stimulated from other parts of theology..."
 Science and Religion debate because they are Matter versus Spirit, and both seek to establish systems that are - at least in the minds of scientists and theologians - Complete and Consistent.

A Complete systems covers all pertinent phenomena, a Consistent System contains no internal contradictions that by their very nature must remain contradictory.

Truth in both systems is Logical Truth, which carries Truth from the basic assumptions all along wherever their experiments and theories and mishnah may lead them.

Science and Religion are The Jets and The Sharks, fighting over the very same turf.

If such systems were seen as self-destroying, that is, the object of such systems is freedom from all systems, they would see things very differently, rather than searching for their Grand Unified Theories of Everything.

Sinum Conservate... Omnia Conservate !

reprint in part
The House of St. Paul, Oikumene, Tilghman Island, MD

Spring is the time to think of working the soil and conservation. I always think of the Chesapeake Bay, because it is a paradigm to me of the "human cycle" of Good and Bad, of Paradise and East of Eden, of Sin and Repentance...
For what is it all but a continual flow in the spirit, an emptying out (kenosis) which creates hunger and thirst, and a filling up, which gives satiety and sleep of craving (pleroma): we turn to God and yearn for Eden, and once having come close, we allow ourselves to be deceived by the abundance, only to discover how quickly everything goes to heck once we let our guard down.

So it is with Ecology; so has the Chesapeake Bay been trashed and polluted, and turned into lands east of Eden where there was plenty of the old sweat of the brow available; yet so has the Chesapeake been cleaned up, over and over again, and made that wonderful spot where four divine rivers meet.

I have a high school friend who joined the Order of St. Paul Oikumene, which is actually an abbreviation of "St. Paul of the Oikumene and the Antioikumene, which literally means "St Paul of the Inhabited Lands and the Uninhabited Lands".  Their monastery is down on the Chesapeake on Tilghman Island on highway 33 west and south of St. Michael's on the Outer Shore of Maryland.

Their monastery is actually an aggregation of individual houses that had been built during the bubble by a developer who had declared bankruptcy. They had sat empty for a few years, but had been minimally maintained by Mungo Reeves, a County employee, who had scoured the neighborhoods about for money to keep the development from falling into ruin, and thereby destroying surrounding property values.

Then the Small Brothers came into the picture. ("Small Brothers" is a trans of "Fratres Pauli" which could mean both "brothers of Paul" or "small brothers" in Latin; it is short for Fratres Pauli Oikumenes kai Antoikumenes, a combination of Latin and Greek that is pretty uncommon for the Bishop of Rome and his pals.)

The order bought the development very cheaply and the structure that had been intended to function as a club house and community center was turned into a chapel and refectory and library, the rest of the units becoming domiciles for the members of the order.

The "Small Brothers" of St. Paul  in Clean Up The Bay Day in 2010 At Neavitt, MD.

Their function as an order is to maintain the ecological quality of the Chesapeake Bay along the Outer Shore and the Inner Shore of Maryland. The Small Brothers are the first ecological order of workers that I am aware of. Their goals are the maintenance of the Bay and the lower reaches of the rivers flowing thereto, which covers an enormous territory which is presently beyond the abilities of the twenty one brothers and their helpers among the laity, but eventually they intend to reach their goal.

When I visited last year, Brother Bob (my old friend, Robert Patterson III from high school) showed me around the grounds. He showed me things you don't expect at a monastery:  outboard motors and run-abouts, working scows, testing equipment... I was amazed.

The State contributes some money, but it is far less than it used to spend on clean up in the area the Brothers can effectively maintain.  In my life, I seem to remember three distinct eras of "The Chesapeake is dying! Let's clean it up!"  Flurry of money and activity, then everyone would forget. That's when the Small Brothers entered the picture. They have but one goal and no other distractions. Most of their monies come from appeals they make at churches around the Chesapeake, not only RC churches but churches of other denominations - and temples and mosques - that want to hear them preach the word of Good Husbandry of Nature.

I understood that the order would be establishing a womens' arm, Sorores Pauli. Where their place would be no one seemed to know as of last year. There were ten women interested, and that would be a welcome addition to their force. I don't know the status of that right this moment.

God bless the brothers and sisters of St. Paul of the Sown, the Settled, and the Empty Lands!

James Neil Hollingsworth

Sunbeam Mixer No.2


Phil Starke

Church in Socorro, NM

Phil Starke


Our Syrian Allies

Muhammed Al Buti

Mr. Buti, a senior Imam, was among the killed in Damascus when a suicide bomber set off a blast in a  mosqueThursday that killed 42 people, and wounded 84. 
No one seems to want to claim responsibility for setting off a bomb in a mosque, but whoever did it is probably counted among the people we and NATO are supporting, and who will eventually be among those whom we will "guide" along the path to govern Syria.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

More Puzzlers

First, my post on photos of Pope Francis I: there were some photos that were he, and some that were not. No one so far has pointed them out.

Second, Gil wins for finding the person who said "Cathedra mea, regulae meae."; Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper.

Now, thirdly, who said " It was the only way to keep you from being such a huge Dickensian! "


When The Growth Phase Ends

The growth phase of Walmart is long over. I have often written about the one near me: my Walmart ! It is a dump peopled with odd entities. The greeters particularly are like the Sand People.

Let's find the country's worst Walmart.
Start in Michigan and read the reviews. The one on Mound Road in Sterling Heights sounds unusually awful.

After we get done with this sophomoric humor part, why is it that our system has these cycles? This is not "creative destruction", rather it is "planned obsolescence" in the sense that as much has been milked from the system as is possible.

In the meantime, the small town stores have disappeared.

Well done!

Republican Budgets and Aztec Politics

 Budget Badda-Bing !

At least the Aztecs' victims died quickly...

The victims of the deficit lemmings will endure a long death...

Hill's Thistle

 ...To the untrained eye, the plant in these photographs may look a bit like Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare), but you can see at the bottom of the above photograph that the stem below the flowering head is not winged and spiny, as it would be in Bull Thistle.  In addition, this thistle would be dwarfed by Bull Thistle, as it grows to just over half a meter tall at the most. 
No, I didn't make the hour-plus drive to see a weed; I was visiting a known site for one of the rarest thistles in North America, a Great Lakes endemic, Hill's Thistle (Cirsium hillii).  I had planned my trip for early July because Hill's Thistle should have been in peak bloom, but as a result of the weird weather year that was 2012, all but one of the plants in the small population had finished blooming, and the one that still was flowering was well past its peak.  Hill's thistle was first collected back in 1890 by Rev. E.J. Hill, not more than a few miles from the location where I saw it in 122 years later.

Снег тает

Я взял опий и я курил сигареты -
Русские сигареты -
и я почувствовал сильную,
так что я отправился в Киев