Archive for September 2014

EQUALITY vs. OPPORTUNITY

September 26, 2014

What would you do if you were really poor?   Poor and getting older?

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There’s been quite a bit of discussion this week about the words spoken by the poor benighted young teacher  who protested not being allowed to teach her middle school children about the evils of America and of capitalism.     “How can we  teach that America is all about guaranteeing our equality if we can’t explore the . . .”  evildoings of America, or whatever.

She was quite sure that America is “all about equality”  and that this country should assure the equality of all people.

Sounds like a nice slogan,  but it happens to be not true.

Equality before the law, yes.  The law applied to all equally,  yes.   But our immigrant forefathers did  not  come here so they could have what everyone else has;  those “huddled masses yearning to be free”  came here so that they could freely pursue their own idea of a fulfilled life (also known as “happiness”).

They didn’t want equality,  they wanted equal opportunity.  America is all about opportunity.  To succeed.  To fail.  To try again.

So that’s why I posted that photo up above.   I took the photo this morning when I was grocery shopping at  our local Meijer store.  I understand they’re spreading around the Midwest  now.  That’s good.  They’re a decent store with customer-friendly policies and pretty low prices for their giant selection of household goods and groceries.

Meijer store

The story of Mr. Meijer, a legal immigrant from Holland, is told on that sign.   His family circumstances faltered and failed during the great economic depression of the 1930s,  but he believed that America gave him the opportunity to “try something.”    And try he did, and he succeeded.    I am one of the beneficiaries of his success, and I wouldn’t dream of taking away his money to “make it fair” for me.   He is entitled to every penny that he has earned, and I hope he earns more so he can expand the number of his stores and employ thousands more people and make thousands more customers happy.

This is the land of opportunity, not the land of equal outcomes.   That poor young, uneducated teacher of our children was trained with the wrong ideas about her country and she is training our next generation with those wrong ideas.

Full disclosure soon came:    As it turns out,  she was told to say these words by her Union, which is very angry about the school district  (the school board, the parents)  instituting Merit Pay in the school district.   How dare they interfere!!!    How dare anyone critique a teacher’s value to the school district!!!    How dare they expose to the parents what they are actually teaching our children!!!  *

Mr.  Meijer rose to his position with courage,  honesty,  hard work, taking a profit and giving much of it back to the communities where he has his stores.   Thank goodness he was a man of solid Judeo-Christian values.

 

* (This post written by a former public school teacher.)

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NUTS!

September 25, 2014

Nuts!   . . . . as in pistachio nuts.    A favorite of mine.

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And apparently a favorite of the mice army which invaded this house two winters ago.

That’s Son in the picture,  Dyson-ing out the stash of pistachio nuts that the mice put into my subwoofer.

Big events coming up this weekend at The Spruce Tunnel!!   So we’re working very hard, non-stop, to try to put the house back in  order after our carpeting event.

We ARE working hard,  but you never know what little complications you’re going to run into (“oh, no, this doesn’t fit anymore”)  or how long little repairs will take (“might as well fix this now while we have it apart”)  or what other “charming”  little surprises you’ll find tucked away in your house.

Well, the subwoofer works just fine now, even after all the  shaking, rapping,  and twirling to get the pistachios to fall down from out of the wiring and into the place where we could vacuum them up from the tiny little slot.   The new TV/sound system booms out high definition bass without any nutty rattling.

Just in time for the football games this weekend!

A big thanks to Son.

 

DATE DEFEAT

September 23, 2014

I give up!

 

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I bought a pretty little calendar gadget for a friend a few years ago, and I liked it so much I bought one for myself.    It’s ceramic and I like the delicate feel of it, and I thought it would be nice to change the date each morning,  kind of a way to step into the reality of each day.    There are three little ceramic rectangles with the names of months on all four sides, and then the cubes have some sort of combination of numbers that allow you to display every  date of the month.

Unfortunately it doesn’t have any indication of where the time flies away to.

I once brought our class discussion to a screeching halt when I asked the question:  “Does anyone have a good working definition of Time?”    No one did.   No one could explain what time actually is.  My Friend-With-The-Camera, who was in that class,  kindly offered to research the question.   He presented the results to us the next week — and no one was any wiser.

We all could talk about the effects of time and the changes that it brings, but we couldn’t catch up to its coattails and hang on while Time whirled away from us.

I know I’ve been very busy these past few weeks, but I usually have a good sense of time passing.   Lately,  I’ve been wrong every time my “inner clock”  came into contact with the outer world.

So I give up.  It’s just September 20-dash.   By the time I set the calendar to September 30-dash,  it will be well into October.

“. . . .vita brevis. . . .”

“…puff of smoke. . . .”

Kronos in fire

Kronos eats his children as soon as they are born.

 

 

 

 

IN A TANGLE

September 20, 2014

I’m “not blogging” today because all my possessions are tangled up together.

My last post was entitled “In suspension” — and when you try to stuff the contents of six rooms into your kitchen, bathroom, and garage (and cars),  then there is nothing else you can do but live in a state of “suspension.”

My theory is that no matter how methodical and deliberate you are,  the more time given to dis-organizing an organization,   the more chaos is likely to develop.   I think this goes for the breakdown of a society (the longer a society begins to come apart, the less likely it will be that it can get back on track again);  it goes for a healthy physical body (the longer the body breaks down because of disease or abuse,  the more difficult it is to recover);  and for a house —  for a house!! —  no matter how carefully you take your house apart, even  if you are very methodical and attentive,  you’re going to have no idea how to put it back together again.

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I lived in a jumble of furniture and  books and  the contents of all my closets and drawers — and wires!     If these wires held my life together,  I’d be in big trouble right now.

I carefully took things apart, taking notes,  taking photos:

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That used to be my “everything” center —  sound, video, computer . . . .study, entertainment,  information.

Think I can remember how all the components had related to each other?

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Nope.

The carpeters have come and gone now, and they were pretty happy with the six empty rooms,  but  I’m alone again, and I have to try to reassemble this house.   This is my “kitchen” —  still unable to walk a straight line in my own kitchen!

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I’ve managed to find the router and the Ethernet cord, so I can visit The Spruce Tunnel.

I am, however, still without football this weekend . . . .

 

IN SUSPENSION . . .

September 18, 2014

I know important things are going on in the world,  but for now I’m in a state of suspension:

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That would be my “office.”    My study room.     It’s where I study and learn and prepare for classes.     It’s usually overstuffed with books and notebooks, pens and papers, and all kinds of interesting stuff.      Now it’s as empty as a tomb,  or so it seems.

All my “stuff” is displaced in this and four other rooms.     I’m living out of my garage, my kitchen, and my car —  anywhere where I can store things temporarily.

Thanks to this guy (and his partner) —

SAMSUNGReally, really nice guys.   They sure know what they’re doing.

What they’re doing is laying down my choices.

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These are the colors that are replacing the old, old, old carpeting.       Nothing too exciting,  but I’m told that carpet colors ought not to be “exciting,”  just good “background.”      This is my first foray into  house decorating, so everything seems all new to me.

It’s going to take a couple weeks to reassemble the house.    Meanwhile,  normal life has been “suspended.”

(But not blogging!)

TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE – TO OUR PAST

September 16, 2014

It’s Tuesday,   time for a tribute to the hithertofore unimaginable,  but I think I’ll take a different tack today.

Rays from Cloud

I took this photo sometime this summer when I was on the road out West.   I took it because it was “pretty,”  but when I  saw it on my computer screen,  I really didn’t know what it meant.

The cloud was between two storms,  heavy rainstorms as only the Great Plains can give them to us.    It’s a heavy cloud at sunset, so is this a portend of the sun setting on us?  The ending of important things?

Or is that bright sunbeam a portent of things looking up?   God is “up there”  and in control,  and if we keep our minds on Him,  then all will be well through the coming night.

But for God  the human race is doomed.   Left to our own ways,  the default position of the human race is a self-seeking state of rebellion against all that is good.    We seek to have Power Over others for our own benefit.  We see to rule, but most of us are ruled.   We tyrannize but most succumb to tyranny.

This brings us to politics.

Historically speaking,  Christianity gave to us the possibility to break that pattern of relating to other people:   to dominate or be dominated.  Good Christian kings — and there were many — knew  they were subject to the same laws of God that everyone else is,  and we all must account for how we carried out our duties..

Both king and peasant stand before the same stern judge.

The Founding Fathers of America seemed to understand this,  that Christ is King over All.
Free S  nation's duty

The Founding Fathers had some concept of the dignity that Christianity offers to all men, and they knew that a government governs best under the laws of God, equally applied to both ruler and ruled, governor and governed.

The American colonists perceived that they were not being treated with dignity, and they were not safe under the tyranny of the court of King George III.

Geo III DC Occupier
The wisdom of the Founding Fathers together with the courage of the colonists created a new nation which, at the outset,  intended to throw off a foreign dictator and be guided by the principles of Christianity which keep a nation safe and strong.

Bar wavy

 

Historically speaking,  when  kings were bad (Christian in name only),  then the people were not safe, and the laws of the land were subverted for the needs of the king.   Heavier and heavier taxes are levied because a corrupt king is inefficient and wasteful.   Revenue is diverted away from the needs of the kingdom.  The people suffer, and often live in fear.

Kingly arrogance is costly.  Dishonesty is costly.    Corruption, bribery, and cronyism is costly.   Immorality is costly.  Ignorance is costly.  Etc.

To reject God is to pay a heavy price, both personally and publicly.

WHAT’S IT #19

September 15, 2014

I need a diversion.    I totally trashed this day;  accomplished nothing;  got all gloomy with the dark skies all day;  got seriously alarmed with some developments in the news;   ended the day with a three-hour power outage.     These are the kinds of days that diversions are for!

Here’s the Rule for my What’s It series:   it will be a photo of something that no one knows what it is;  not even me.  I won’t trick you.   No one knows what these What’s Its are.   A real photo of an unknown something.

Ready?

what's itIt’s a rectangle carved into the surrounding rock or soil.   It seems to have a pool of liquid.blue something  in its “floor,”  and there are little streams of blue liquid running down into the pool, maybe leaking out from the bottom of that back edge.

Is there a structure leading the liquid down into the pool?

Is this a flooded mining operation?

If you have any ideas,  I think NASA would like to know,  because this photo was taken from a Mars orbiting satellite (I forgot the name just now),  about a year ago in 2013, and it’s looking down at the surface of Mars.

I will try to put all the What’s Its on a page of their own some day here, but the search engine at the bottom of the right-hand column will lead you to other What’s Its.  Just type in What’s It.       The natural world is so much bigger than we are!     The created universe makes us humans seem like just one tiny family, with very small  differences between us.

And I just now checked —  this photo was taken from the Mars Express,  a robotic orbiter sent up there to take photos.

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REAL CROSS ?

September 14, 2014

cross taken down

Well, last post was the foreshadowing of the real Cross,  and then we know what happened on the real Cross, but when I asked my class last Friday “Then what happened to the Cross after the crucifixion?”  I was met with silence — and hopeful glances at me.   Maybe there is an answer?

What happened to the Cross after Jesus was taken down?  
Well, we can fill in the blanks with reasonable stories of what happened immediately after the Crucifixion, but what we know for sure is that it was found around three centuries later, deeply buried under layers of rubble of what used to be a pagan temple built deliberately over the hill of Calvary.  It was a construction site now, because now that it was no longer a criminal offense to be a Christian,  Christians could build shrines and churches to mark sacred sites.

finding of the cross
Constantine was the emperor who had decriminalized Christianity, and although he wasn’t a Christian at the time,  his mother Helena  was, and it was through her perseverance that the True Cross was found under that rubble in Jerusalem.    Shortly after, historic writings dating to 338 A.D.  show that the Finding of the True Cross was a day honored yearly by joyous Christians.

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Very small portions of the True Cross were distributed occasionally around the Empire.  And as the city of Rome fell and the eastern portion of the Empire centered itself around Byzantium, Christianity grew.

battle medival
And then. . .    War came.    The Persians struck the Byzantine Empire and won battles at Jerusalem. They pillaged and burned and stole anything that seemed to be of value — including the True Cross.

For  fourteen years the war between Rome and Persia continued until at last, 627 A.D. under King Heraclius, the Christian empire defeated Persia, bringing the True Cross, among other things, back to Jerusalem.

Battle

And then . .  .  War came.   Within a decade, Islam began its warrior-conquest of the Middle East, and the True Cross was brought to the great city of Byzantium for safe-keeping.

And then . . .   War came to Byzantium  again, and Islamic forces under Saladin, the great Muslim warrior,  conquered the city in 1187, destroying  beautiful Christian symbols,  art work, churches, and sacred objects.

The True Cross is lost to us once again.

We have left only the few fragments of the True Cross that had been distributed around Christendom earlier,  and we have the great feast days  commemorating the Finding of the Cross and the Exaltation of the Cross.

And, of course,  we have the Truth of the Cross, independent of any physical remnants,  in the end, conquering all the conquerors, healing the nations because it will always be the altar of the Lamb of God.      This is the inspired use of wood in the days of Moses to bring healing and life and hope to the people of Israel.

Sign In Hoc Signo Vinces

And now  we make the sign of the cross frequently – as St Paul says:  “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”     (Galatians 6:14)        The Truth of the Cross,  the reality of the True Cross,  is Christ on the Cross.

FORESHADOWING THE CROSS

September 14, 2014

Not much consolation in the desert.   It is arid, bitter with alkaline, and deadly to human life.

life is a desert

My plans for writing about the Cross all weekend met with “technical difficulties”  common to all Internet users at times, so I won’t complain,   but it’s important to repeat that the Cross of Christ is a real object, and this is the time of the year when the Cross itself is “exalted.”

dry desert

The Cross “began” in the desert, the hot, dry inhospitable desert, and Moses had just led the people of God out into that desert where they were safe from Pharaoh’s army (which had been destroyed anyway) but where many other dangers awaited.

Thirsty!  Thirsty!  Thirsty!   “Moses, did you bring us out in the desert here to DIE?”    With inspiration from above, Moses led the group of people to a pool of water.  It was a pool of bitter, undrinkable water.   The natural world had produced water for the people,  but it couldn’t quench their thirst.  (Note:  nothing in the world can’t ultimately satisfy us.)

marah

Another inspiration,  and Moses was led to a small wooden tree;  it was cut down; it was thrown into the pool of bitter water.   Miracle, then, as the water turned sweet, the bitter water was healed,  the people’s thirst was met.  (Story found in Exodus 15)

This event entered into the historic conscious of the Jewish people.
fiery serpent

The journey into the wilderness continued, conditions were hard, the people faced hunger, thirst, and enemy attacks.   Miracle after miracle saved them,  helped them through the bitter circumstances of life in the desert, but still the people complained.

Does God not come through for them each time?  Does God not care for them as a father would care for his children?   Did they not trust that God is good?   A chastisement was needed:  “fiery serpents,”  or venomous snakes overwhelmed their campground, biting and filling their bodies with bitter poison, killing some, sickening some, making them all feel very vulnerable.

Again, a remedy is needed.  But what a strange one!    Moses was to make a brass image, like a little statue or figurine of one of the snakes and mount in on a wooden stake.    The people were to look upon it, and more than look — to gaze upon it, to meditate,  to wonder at it, because as they did so,  their bodies were healed and the fiery snake things dissipated.  (Story found in Numbers 21)

Again this event entered into the historic consciousness of the Jewish people.

moses striking rock

Another experience with long days of finding no water, desperately needing life-giving water.  Another command by God to use the wood, this time the wood of Moses’ own staff, to strike the huge dry rock before them.   The wood touched the rock and the waters that give life and strength poured out for the people.

Again,  it was wood that participated in the healing miracle that manifested out from God’s “mind.”

It may seem strange to remember these three events on the Weekend of the Cross —   but each one presents to us the image of wood as the instrument through which salvation for humans came.    Each of these events are a foreshadowing of the central importance of the wood of the Cross and the remedy we need after we succumb to the bitterness and poison of this world.

Some day the Jewish Messiah would come,  some day the Jewish people would reject the bitterness of what the world offers and choose the sweetness from the Cross;  some day the Jewish people would understand the image of their Messiah, presented as a curse on a stake, that heals the wounds of that Cursed One who leads the human race astray;  some day the Jewish people would recognize their Rock,  struck down by the wood of the Cross.

Some day that understanding would be open to the Gentiles too.

Lift high the Cross!

 

 

 

 

TITULUS CRUCIS: THE HISTORICAL RECORD

September 12, 2014

This is “The Weekend of the Cross.”   (Not an official title,  just my name given to this weekend, because there is much to think about that refers to the Cross.)

And here it is,  the historic Titulus Crucis,  dated by modern scientists to the first century, A.D.

Titulus

From its name you can probably tell that this wooden object is the “Title”  that was placed on the Cross of Jesus.    Or most of that sign anyway.   It’s made of olive wood, unlike the cross which was made of pine.    You can see it at the Santa Croce en Gerusalemme,  in Rome.

The  Christian faith is based on historic events and on the responses of people subsequent and relating to that history.      Although faith is required of us (faith:  knowledge with assent and trust),   once in a while it’s nice to see an actual artifact from those times.          (“Seeing is believing,” we like to say.)

On Sunday,  Sept. 14,  Christendom will recognize the feast day called The Exaltation of the Cross.   (Exaltation, not “worship,”   for my evangelical friends.)      This exaltation was triggered by a very real historical event, which I’ll tell you about later, but for now just think of the Cross as a metaphor:    Christ had His Cross to bear, he was brought low and was an outcast, but rose triumphant, according to historic eyewitness accounts.

The significant “metaphor” part of this is that the Church, as Christ’s Body, will also have to reprise the events that occurred in the life of Christ — including being brought to its Cross.   False accusations,   deliberate misunderstandings,   revilings,   expulsion from the public square, and persecutions are a natural part of this life, and as the world’s time runs out,  so will the persecution become worldwide and more intense.

The Church will have to undergo the same sufferings as Christ, whom the Church follows!

And then comes the end,   the vindication,  the victory –  which belongs to the real Christ,  the real Jesus,  because it is He who obtained it.

The victory comes through the Cross.

This is a good weekend to think about it.   

Recent headlines from Nigeria

Recent headlines from Nigeria

Many will go to their churches this weekend.   Some of those churches will be surrounded by enemies of the Cross;  they will have guns and machetes and fire bombs,   and Christians inside those churches will be injured, captured, enslaved, or killed.   Why do those Christians persist in their faith?

Enemies Triumphant

Enemies Triumphant

Many other Christians will continue to endure the “soft persecution” by their culture, by people in their own societies,  chipping away at their faith,  suppressing Christian teaching, mocking them, reviling them, labeling them with nasty names,  making false accusations,  and preventing them from expressing their faith in public.

Commanding, by new laws,  that the cross be hidden.

A PARABLE: WHAT’S IN A NAME?

September 11, 2014

I got fooled.    I will admit it:

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I “won’t mention any names,”  but . . . I got fooled by the “organic”  word on the label.

It was hot up here in the Far North, about 77 degrees,  and so humid!    Son and I – still working on the trees and the branches that lay scattered all over our yard —   were hot and tired and thirsty and we needed food and drink.    I don’t usually shop “in the center aisles”  but this time I was too tired to hand-squeeze juice or even use the juicer,  so I decided to buy some ready-made juice.

It didn’t cost very much — that should have been a clue —  but the words seemed right.   It says “juice,”  and it says “organic.”       “Honest” !

I even read the label, but I think my eyes just blurred over the words.  I was too thirsty!     The label said:  organic white grape juice from concentrate.   I should have remembered what’s in “concentrate.”     Sounds like they just take the water out, right?     Then do you know what they do with that “concentrated” juice?    They store it.   They combine it with other juices,  store it, and they have to add chemicals so it doesn’t get moldy or full of bacteria.   They have to “stabilize” the juice.  It can’t ferment.

Same with the concord grape juice from concentrate.

And “natural flavors.”    As long as they start with one molecule from the natural plant, no matter what other chemical substances they add to enhance the flavor,  they can call it natural.   This is where they add the three and four syllable substances – including monosodium glutamate and aspartame, if they want to.

Later in the label there was organic natural flavors .  . . .  uh-huh    After a couple of nasty-tasting swallows, I wasn’t buying that either.

And then:  filtered water.  Sounds nice that they filter it, but this is where you get your fluoride poison … they usually use fluoridated city tap water to reconstitute the juices,  filtered or not.

I thought it was just me,   just my mouth —  but no,  this really didn’t taste right.   The modern world strikes again — using all the right words to create an illusion.

So that is the parable.    It was a prologue to several news stories this week, all reminding me that “they” are playing mind games with us, and they’re so very, very good at it.

The Health Control Bill that we will all suffer under is labeled  “Affordable.”     But a study reported on today estimates that this year small business employees, as a whole,  will give $26.2 billion to the national-federal government  bureaucracy.    Not that they can “afford”  it.  That’s about $827 per employee.     But next year that amount increases.    And the next year it will increase again.    (the American Action Forum)    And that’s only one small example of the many ways we are paying so much money to be able to “afford”  this law.

And then it’s not “medical care”  or “health care”  that you’re getting;  it’s medical insurance redistribution.   With way fewer doctors.

I understand there was a “speech” given to the nation last night in which it was stated that the Islamic State is not of Islam,  and just because they have declared war on us doesn’t mean we are “at war.”   Well,  I guess we don’t have to worry about “winning”  then.

It’s like a game:  see how many words used in the media have the opposite meaning from how the word is implied.    Read the title of any bill our legislators are trying to pass.   The title will indicate just what effect the bill will have, which is the opposite of the words used in that title.

Net “neutrality” ?    The people in positions of government, of whatever party,  will tell you what they think is “neutral.”    The Fairness Act:     When governments control the content and quality of the Internet,   who will they be “fair” to?   How about the U.N.  in charge of our Internet?    They’ll tell us what “fair” is.

“Hope and Change”  and the “Transformation” of America?    These good words may just put us in a “trance”  so that we don’t see what someone else’s idea for “Change” really means.

Watch those words!   Watch those labels!    If you’re really thirsty,  and if you’re told you really, really want this something to drink,   you may not be understanding what the label is really offering you.

 

 

1 + 2 + 3 = 12,000

September 10, 2014

1.   That sentence I wrote in the last post has been echoing in my head:  When the people fear their government,  it’s called tyranny;  when the government fears the people (who vote for them),  it’s called democracy.

2   I thought of that today when I heard excerpts from the hearing that the Senators are conducting as they look into “the militarization” of our police forces.   I’ve known of this process for several years now, but I don’t know what to make  of it.     Over the past several years, our own local police force, our own local police officers,  have been required to accept “gifts” from the national government of tanks, armored personnel carriers,  heavy assault type weapons  (above and beyond riot gear) even to the point of ridiculousness.

I saw a photo of a sleepy little town in Iowa, with one main intersection, few people, but the police force there had just received an armored personnel carrier along with other equipment usually used in big wars.    The local paper tried to see the humorous side of it.   Everyone was perplexed,  but the reporter noted that this is going on all around the country.   Unasked for “gifts”  from the national (federal)  government.  (If you’re interested,  you can just Search:  “Iowa town with population of 7,000 …”)

3.   And those first two points called my attention to two photos that I’d been saving on my computer for some reason.   The first takes place  —  I think — in a European country  or someplace where there needed to be a checkpoint.       A citizen is stopped:

head notNow, this second photo happened somewhere in the United States, a traffic stop.

head yes

According to the accompanying story,  the driver was not arrested or even searched.      It was uploaded for our information,  showing  one of many complaints of overreaction, overmenacing police work.    Just notice the position of the American officer’s gun compared to the other gun.    First rule of gun ownership:  ”   You don’t point a gun at someone unless you intend to use it!”    That’s the first thing a child learns!!!

I remember once, long ago,   I had just driven my Grandma to her home and was about to return to mine.   It had been  a 450 mile trip.    Five miles from her home was a long steep hill,  a 55 m.p.h. speed limit,   and with my very loose and warmed up car,  I was going down that hill at 59 m.p.h.    Hubbie had told me often “never brake when you want to slow down,  just let the car coast to a slower speed.”    Silly me,  I was saving the brakes.

I’m not happy that I got a ticket for 4 miles over the speed limit,  but what sticks in my mind is the fright I got in that encounter.     As I handed over my information to the officer,  I noticed in the rearview mirror that his partner was at my back bumper, crouched down,  with his hand on his holster, really, really watching me.    I froze, hardly daring to move in case a movement would be misinterpreted.

Answering my question,  the first officer said, no,  they were not on any assignment,  not searching for any escaped convict,  they were conducting a routine speed trap at the bottom of that hill  (in the middle of a forested road, mind you,  no houses or intersections around) — he stated they were looking only for speeders,  “nothing to worry about.”

So today, during those Senate hearing excerpts,  I’m  hearing that the national-federal government  has distributed, so far,  12,000  BAYONETS to local policemen all over the country.

Have you ever been up close to a bayonet?   Maybe at a museum?     They are frightfully efficient instruments of death.

 

(Does this come under the Category of “Driving Adventures”?)

 

TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE – A CANADIAN ADDENDUM

September 9, 2014

One of our Founding Fathers said that when people fear their government,  it is called tyranny.   But when the government fears the people,  it is called democracy.    Fear might mean merely respect and listening to and accommodating yourself.     So I don’t plant to cover this topic on Tuesdays anymore,  but I did find an interesting further discussion that was aired on Canadian TV recently, this weekend, I think..

Here is part of an article reporting on that TV show –

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I read the comments following that article,  mostly Canadian commenters, it seemed.   I took a few notes on the comments –

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There seems to be a lot of freedom to discuss things openly there.

Can Americans really be so bullied and ridiculed and mocked and cowed into polite silence?

Or is there something else at work here?

 

TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE: DIGITAL BOOK-BURNING

September 9, 2014

Sometimes the Tuesday Tribute concerns our Rulers’  influence on all our American elections,  but today I’ll  be more focused (11-06-12) on the one that started the Tributes.

How about a little Digital Book Burning for your consideration:

Published  April 3, 2007  –

April 3   2007

OOOPS !!!   How about  April 21, 2007   –

April 21 2007

Somebody must have checked the American Constitution.   (If you see the familiar name of the state,  remember that a certificate of life birth does not equal a birth certificate, as some people have found out when they’ve tried to get their driver’s license or other official papers using their certificate of life birth.   Also,  birth announcements can be and often are placed in the newspapers of the grandparents’ home town or of friends or any interested parties’  home towns, wherever.

In casual reading over the past several years I’ve come across dozens of published articles concerning the African-born,  Malaysian-raised young Sunni,  brought to the United States and later given funds (aid-to-foreign-students)  to attend Occidental University, where many promising foreign-born students were educated.     From there, a “promising resume”  continued to be  created.

Some of the original articles and interviews can be found on the Internet,  but some have been scrubbed.    You’ll have difficulty finding the original versions of the National Public Radio interview and several Associated Press articles as they were first published.

I could give you one publication,  I think by the literary agents, again,  Dystel & Goderich,  and reprinted by Breitbart News.   (You know what happened to Mr. Breitbart, right?     So it’s much safer not to believe this.  I’m only a little old lady.  What do I know?)

Here you go:

O TUESDAY Original clipping

 

 Don’t make too much of this though.   This is not PC.  This is not kosher.   This is not allowed   (in the U.S., although it seems to be well-known elsewhere.)

Remember what happened to poor Mrs.  Fuddy, of Hawaii, (as the eyewitness stories go).

A PAUSE (13th SUNDAY P.P.)

September 8, 2014

Too much is swirling around in my life right now, so I needed to take a break.  I don’t want to  write too much, though I fear I will.

Karlskirche Austria

I took my break here today  (in a way);  Karlskirche, somewhere in Austria.  It was built for all of us, for everyone in the whole world.  That’s what “universal” means – for everyone.  You can enter freely, sit in the back, if you want,  let other people do their own “thing” in there too, while you enjoy the beauty and experience the immense space that quiets your mind and enlarges your own personal perspective.
So I didn’t exactly go to Austria today.   Not exactly.   I went down some steps into a “basement”   where the air was stuffy,  the carpeting was old, and the chairs were of the “folding”  variety.     But in the front, front and center,  the altar was beautiful, as beautiful as we could make it, because our attention would be focused on the exact same thing as that beautiful Austrian cathedral, front and center.

water  I went to my familiar place today and knelt while others were coming in and kneeling too.  I composed my mind.  I read a familiar Psalm,  Psalm 62 * and treasured these words:   “O God, thou art my God;  earnestly  I seek Thee;  my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh longs for Thee like a dry and parched land without water. . . .”

 

Then everyone had come and things began, and soft male voices rose gently in song,  prayers at the altar began,  and then the Asperges  for us –   cool water, fresh air comes our way,  but more than just a refreshment,  a spiritual presence, a spiritual cleansing;  not just “water” but water joined with Intention:  God’s intention to cleanse,  our intention to receive his cleansing.

“My soul thirsts for thee…like a dry and parched land….”    Things change with the cleansing Asperges, things change and become sharper and crisper, cleaner and brighter,  and as we continue, everyone there — on their knees, sometimes standing,  sometimes sitting —   is one in the same intention.

We were reminded today of the Ten Lepers who were cleansed  (healed)  by Jesus, when they sought Him (earnestly I seek Thee)  and He agreed:  they needed healing,  and He did heal them.    And then, as the familiar story goes,  they left to go find their priests who would declare them ritually clean.  But one came back.    That one had experienced the cleansing and was so full of gratitude that he came back to express his thanks to Jesus, the Great Physician.

Today,  amidst the sights and sounds, the young torch bearers walking in so solemnly, the incense,  the singing,  the bells, the intense silence,   the Elevation . .  .   I closed my eyes and saw that cathedral in Austria and felt myself become part of the universal Church, trying my best to give adequate thanks in the most beautiful way I could think of.

Those lepers of long ago, healed,  would return to their busy lives with all the cares and joys of living humans,  but first,  one of them  returned to give thanks.

Deo gratias.

 
*   (or Psalm 63 in the Jewish numbering used by Protestants)

 

 

 

 

 

GETTING THE JOB DONE – THE VIKING WAY!

September 6, 2014

axe silh

 

Son can have his blue chain saw (yesterday’s post)   — but I found my own weapon today!

SAMSUNG
Well,   that’s a garden tool.   At least it was in my hands.

Sometimes Life gives you overwhelming challenges, daunting tasks that you’re not sure you even have the resources to get through.     Sometimes it’s physical challenges, when you know the task at hand requires possibly more than you can give it.

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This was my mission today,  the aftermath of our tree felling.   The brush is actually taller than it looks in the picture.   And bigger.   And a lot more than it appears.   I had no idea what to do with it,  where to put it,  or how to begin,  but I knew I had to do something, because I live in a neighborhood, and people would . . .   not like this idea for new landscaping.

Son had begun sorting out the pieces of the tree he had taken down, so that gave me an idea how to proceed.

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Then I remembered the Blue Axe that I had bought when I was out West this summer.   For the next four or five hours I cut and chopped and sliced and hacked and cracked the bark and splattered the sap all over….

And my imagination took me back to Viking days when every Viking had his own special battleaxe: carried it with him wherever he went, slept with it, ate with it… sliced, hacked, cracked and splattered things with it.

I enjoyed using my axe.  At the end of the day, I was hot and tired,  every joint in my body had been jolted, when one hand got tired I used the other so both hands have blisters,  but I’ve got all my fingers and toes tonight,  so I think I got pretty good with that axe.

My mind was busy too,  but I’m not going to draw any lessons from this day’s work for you.  I’m usually rather “bookish”  —   five hours is more commonly spent with a really good difficult book in front of me, learning many things  — but today  I learned by stretching myself, physically,  and practicing something new.

blue axe

I got in touch with another part of me and learned some other kinds of things.   Something else in my blood.

 

 

 

 

2. “LET THE SUNSHINE IN” L EH EH T THE SUNNNN SHIIIIIINE . . . .

September 5, 2014

Hats off to the Fifth Dimension for the title of this post, and that’s just what we’ve been doing.

Pine blue max

Son appeared at my doorstep yesterday afternoon,   chain saw in hand, (just about) — and a plan in his mind.    We  had to open up the property as I explained in the last post, remove some trees, and “let the sun shine in.”     He started with one side of the yard,  and  in a very short time it seemed like my property was twenty or thirty feet wider.

This was my apple tree.

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It’s okay.   It gave me one apple this year and about ten spring blossoms.  It was old and really didn’t have any room to grow up through the taller trees.

And then Son chose the next one:

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In person…. in real life…   it truly looks dead.    Even my next door neighbor gently suggested it could come down.    That’s Son tying cord around the tree trunk – the better to pull it down on top of him. . . .

SAMSUNGMaking the first cut.

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And with this small cut we heard the first  “c r a c k”!     The pine wood is dense and heavy.

Almost before anyone was ready, it continued to come down on its own:

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Right across our not-very-busy street.

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But the race was on.    Inevitably there would be cars, and it was Son’s job to get that tree off the road!     (He was the only one with the chain saw.)

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We caught the attention of our neighbor.   Son cut the branches off the main trunk and our neighbor and I pulled them out and across the road and into our driveway and lawn.     We built a mountain of branches!    And we all felt pressure to hurry.

Ever see a man running with a chain saw buzzing?

SAMSUNGBack and forth,  on the run,   with our dear neighbor yelling, “No, no, no….”    That’s about the third time that day he found reason to say that.   He cares about us a lot.

Eventually we cleared the road, and Son kept working on the branches.    He said he was removing the “fluff”  and it was amazing how all that volume disappeared:

SAMSUNGWell, I was doing more than just taking pictures.

I did my share of branch dragging, and then it was time for the woman’s work —

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That’s the street in front of my house.    There was only one way to clean all that up – with a broom.   For about an hour!

Then, as it got dark,  while the chain saw was still going,   I got to do more woman’s work – thank goodness!    I managed to make pitchers of iced tea,  put together some salads, and grill some hamburgers and steak. . . .

. . . .   all of which had to go unphotographed —  no more strength in my arms to hold a camera up.

One big tree down.

Four more to go.

 

 

1. “WHEN THE SUN DON’T SHINE”

September 5, 2014

Yeah,  that’s  “when,”   not “where.”  (Trying to keep it ladylike here.)

SAMSUNGWell, anyway,  I guess there is a  “where”  —  my front lawn.   And “when the sun don’t shine”  is high noon.  Hot sun blazing down –  just not much  shining on my lawn.

You’d think that would be a good thing, lots of shade,  keeping cool. . . . But here’s the reality:

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Looking like a UFO landing site is one of several large circular patches of lawn fungus,   like a Fairy Ring without the mushrooms outlining it.

But the mushrooms were busy creating their version of a starry sky on a  green background:

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Just overnight, these mushroom sprung up all over.

Here are the culprits:

SAMSUNGThat’s not my house, but those are my trees.    The trees are tall and old;   old beyond “mature.”     And if you notice,  three in this photo have a decided   l e a n  to them.   There are so many other trees nearby that they have to grow up leaning over to reach a bit of sunlight.

Son has a remedy for these three.    It’s called a Chain Saw.

SAMSUNG

The three leaning trees were leaning away from my house,  but there is one more big thick oak tree that is leaning right at me.  Its diameter is somewhere between two and three feet.   More like three.

So I haven’t been blogging this week because I’ve been busy  being a homeowner.   Still working hard to remove everything from the main rooms of the house before the new carpeting comes.   Still working on emptying the big planters that held the poor blighted tomato plants.     Big heavy planters.

And then this tree problem came up, and it’s proved to be a very, very big task.

Remember that “UFO landing site” photo above?

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Found this old cartoon clipping while I was moving the contents of my filing cabinet….

And this “removing the trees”  project might just be a little bigger than I thought!

 

A TRIBUTE TO TUESDAYS – IN QUOTES

September 2, 2014

On Tuesdays the Spruce Tunnel often pays a rather sarcastic “tribute” to the outcome of  the every two-year Tuesday national elections held in this country.      That a nation can  appear to “elect” such harmful leaders at all levels is astonishing.    Are we willingly deceived by the candidates?  willingly hoaxed by them?    Or is it out of our control?     Is there some sort of irresistible and inevitable downward spiral at work?

I  go to the news source called The Telegraph from Great Britain to explore a little bit of  why a nation chooses servitude over freedom and responsibility.   Here is the beginning of that article:

More laws are needed as religion declines, top judge says

“One of Britain’s most senior judges said the rapid rise in the number of laws in recent years had been necessary as other modes of social control such as religion and old fashioned morality declined.”

By Miranda Prynne, News Reporter

You can read the entire article here — if the link is still active — and I’ll put most of the article below, in the “More”  section.

But to further explain that quoted sentence,  it’s the Wisdom of the Ages that a society, whether nation or kingdom or tribe,  get the leaders that they deserve.  Thousands of years ago, in the time of  Isaiah, people were told that  if they remained  immoral and pleasure-seeking, driving God out of their lives,   that God would grant them leaders who are   immature,  inexperienced,  greedy, and power hungry.   Their leaders would be unqualified men or  effeminate men,  or women,  or   “children”  — none with the character and capability of leading wisely.

And then into this power vacuum at the highest level would come forces of tyranny and despotic control over the people.     As the judge said,   “social control”  is needed,   imposed and enforced by a powerful system.    This is inevitable because if the nation, as a whole,  does not fear God  (properly understood),  then there will be much to fear!

Tyrants and despots, then, play on those very real fears, offering themselves as the Solution:
“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
– Plato

And  if there is “not enough” for the people to fear,  then reasons for fear can be created.    

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
– U.S. President James Madison

“A history of false flag attacks used to manipulate the minds of the people! “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin

So there it is:  the matter is complex and complicated and far bigger than any of us can entirely understand.    And yet it starts with our individual conduct, based upon our seeking God and His ways, inevitably and always rewarded by His movement towards us, often called his grace.

And this individual moral living multiplied by the majority of the population saves the nation.

Bar wavy

(“MORE” follows) (more…)