Saturday, November 04, 2006

Don't forget to Vote next Tuesday, November 7

One of the first things I did upon arriving in New Mexico was register to vote. I also have my New Mexico driver's license and just received my first property tax bill. Well, two out of three were exciting!

In addition to absentee ballots, New Mexico also makes provisions for early voting to avoid the rush or meet personal scheduling needs. So I voted two weeks ago. Now I am free to remind others to vote and, possibly, encourage people to vote for a change in Washington, DC.

Many have commented that this may be the most critical vote in our lifetime, and I believe this may be true. I do not believe it is any exaggeration to say our constitutional democracy is under threat from within.

While groups from without can do great damage, such as that wrought on 9/11/2001, I do not fear their destroying the United States. What can undo the grand experiment begun when this nation was formed is the dismantling of the checks and balances written into the Constitution. The founders were very conscious of the threats posed by power concentrated in one person or one small group.

We have seen one political party control both Houses of Congress and the White House, with little restraint from the Supreme Court. Within that framework, a very small group dedicated to (1) expanding the power of the presidency, (2) retaining one-party control, and (3) enriching their cronies has been hard at work undermining any structure, process, or person that would lead to constraint, review, or accountability.

We have watched rights to privacy, habeas corpus, trial, free speech and assembly--all be threatened, diminished, and reduced. We have witnessed the granting of unusual and, I would say, completely unconstitutional power to the executive by the Congress. We have stood by as a wall of secrecy has been built around almost everything the White House does.

All this while efforts to deal with the perpetrators of 9/11 were siphoned off into an unnecessary and illegal invasion and occupation of a country that was not threatening the United States; while concrete steps toward enhancing security were neglected; while incompetence and corruption have not only allowed the excessive destruction seen in Katrina but also done little to deal with the aftermath; as employment and wages have not kept up with population growth and cost of living (especially health care).

We have listened to platitudes about supporting our troops while sending them needlessly into danger without a plan, providing inadequate armor, cutting their pay, and reducing their benefits, then standing by and letting them die or return home maimed and injured, all the while making a bad situation worse without making America or the world any safer. We have listened to sermons about moral values and family values while destabilizing the world, taking advantage of the poor, holding back minimum pay, reducing child care and educational funding, doing nothing about those uninsured, watching health care become increasingly difficult to find or pay for, and seeing the number of families in poverty grow. Ignoring the warnings of Amos, we have seen the gap between the extraordinarily rich and the vast majority increase obscenely. Our government has subsidized the wealthy (e.g., energy companies) while burdening our grandchildren with colossal national debt. Talk about tax cuts has obscured what are really only tax deferrals.

The President behaved as though unconcerned about imminent threats to the nation yet flew back from his vacation "ranch" to sign a bill, of questionable legality, over the unfortunate Terri Schiavo. Instead of following the example of Ronald Reagan who vetoed a critical bill because it had 600 earmarks (pork barrel items) in it, he has passed spending bills with 6,000 earmarks, then vetoed only one bill, and that was one supporting stem cell research. This was supposedly out of respect for life, protecting blastocysts that are almost always destroyed in any case, while callously having no regard for the lives of our troops and the lives of the Iraqi people. He has allowed, and in some cases actively spread, death throughout the world and our nation.

So, if the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the response to disasters such as Katrina, the blowing off of education, the increase of general poverty contrasted with the growth of wealth for the few, rampant corruption (I have not even discussed the K Street lobbyists, sex scandals, outing of a CIA agent, and the environment), secrecy, and violation of basic rights aren't working well for you, vote Democratic this November 7 and send to Washington a Congress that will hold hearings, issue subpoenas, and demand answers and accountability.

Thank you.

The BB

The beauty of Albuquerque

I tend to have a distinctive way of viewing nature. My eye is caught by both vast sweeps of landscape and by small details. This becomes evident when I take walks with my a camera in hand. Since I was working in ABQ at this time a year ago, and at the same place, much of what I enjoy now is revisiting the familiar. I look forward to seeing and exploring new things too. Here are some tidbits.

Leaves filtering sunlight against the autumn sky
The Sandia Mountains viewed from Sun Plaza
I never tire of the trees. The cottonwoods and ashes (alamos y fresnos) are now golden

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Big River Bear

Yes, friends, I have made the move and am now resident in New Mexico, La Tierra Encantada. The California Bear now takes on a new aspect, living as I do near the Rio Grande. So now I am the Big River Bear.

I begin a new job next Monday (hooray!) and for the first few weeks here was busy unpacking and trying to solve the puzzle of what is in which box. Yes, we tried to label well, but life has little glitches. Things are mostly functional.

Have been busy working on The Deed of Ian, a tale that is rapidly taking form as a novel. Over 80,000 words so far and this is only the half-way point. Huge cast and huge territory, a classic hero quest, fictionally based on an epic poem of Mithernesse. Currently into roughly day 38 of the journey. Lots of fun imagining another world, its culture and customs, its spirituality and values. I'm loving it. Revision will be a beeyotch, since the tale almost flows onto the keyboard. Let's just say the first draft is coming along swimmingly.

OK, time for pics. --The BB
The Sandia Mountains

Desert Farne, my new home
Looking south from two blocks away
Eureka, I found gold!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Experiment in YouTube

I ran across this music video from Iraq, essentially a slide show, through a post by the compiler's mother on dailyKos. My first video post.

Still learning, folks, be patient with me.

The BB

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How's your BS detector?

If you would like a refresher in basic logic—say, for the sake of dealing with all the distortions and untruths floating around in the political arena these days—then you may find a lovely summary by Liberal Jarhead at Bring it On! I highly recommend it.

Here is one of Jarhead's introductory paragraphs:
There’s nothing wrong with disagreement, and a good debate leaves everyone involved better off for having had to consider other points of view and reassess their own. But for that to be true, the disagreement has to make sense. What I’m talking about here has nothing to do with honest, reasonable debate and everything to do with substituting ugly emotions and closed-mindedness for thought and real argument.

—The BB

Thought I'd disappeared?

A reasonable inference. I have been doing other things than blog of late. Transition is the keyword.

My Monday-to-Friday life has been full of transitions, assisting an office as its functions were split between two entities and two locations, traveling with the smaller portion, and providing continuity and cross-training.

My weekend life has seen me say goodbye to my dearest work in the Bay Area and end a position I had held for 10.5 years.

I have just completed my sixth course at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley as part of a postgraduate program.

I have been writing fantasy fiction in the past few months, picking up a thread I laid down 31 years ago. Four full stories are emerging from this and I am at the halfway point in the one that launches the entire series. It has only been in my head for over three decades and is finally coming into text. A huge challenge and great fun.

And on the larger stage, I have celebrated my sixtieth birthday by purchasing a new home in Albuquerque, after a lifetime lived in my native California.

All right, "transitions" is an understatement.

I am excited and have dubbed the sixties as "the decade of adventure." T. S. Eliot said that old men should be explorers.

That's the news in a nutshell.
The BB

Saturday, March 04, 2006

It must be springtime

With the red-breasted robin (Turdus migratorius, or migratory thrush) perched outside, spring must surely be here. I ignore the vernal equinox as the announcer of season because in the San Francisco East Bay more certain signs are the blooming plums and Magnolia tulipifera which blossom by my feast day (Conversion of St Paul, January 25). The robin may be seen through the blinds in this shot I took this morning.

I noted this as several robins have been showing up lately and I do not recall seeing them outside my window in prior years.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Church, State, and Theocracy

I have been posting an essay/extended meditation on the way of Jesus versus the way of Caesar on the church blog for St Cuddy's (St Cuthbert's Episcopal Church, Oakland). Rather than crosspost--because I am a technopeasant and have no idea how to do it--I am simply linking the installments here.

Satan's Throne
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Part 5
Part 6

Sunday, February 19, 2006

'Shrooms on the lawn

These seem to have popped up in the past couple of days.

Speaking of the last couple of days....
Yesterday a great egret flew by in front of my place, a sight I had never seen from my office window before. I used to see them all the time when I worked next to the Aquatic Park in Berkeley, but not it is rare. They are such beautiful birds. I have no idea how to interpret such a sign but I know I was blessed by it.

The BB

Saturday, February 18, 2006

January 29, 2006, Sunset

Northumbrian Pilgrimage 1997

During the Summer of 1997 I was blessed to spend two weeks in Durham, England, for a seminar on Celtic spirituality and modern mission. We stayed in the Bishop's Castle, which is now a dormitory for University College of the University of Durham. Across the green from us sat Durham Cathedral, site of the shrine of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne and the tomb of the Venerable Bede. The entire complex has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

We had day trips to Lindisfarne (Holy Island), Hexham Abbey, Wearmouth and Jarrow, Hadrian's Wall, and other sites related to Northumbrian history and the Celtic and Saxon saints who flourished during a rich age of cultural and spiritual cross-fertilization.

The timing of posts related to this extraordinary pilgrimage is related to my having a new scanner and being able to scan the photographs I took back then, along with having a bit of down time to do it. The posts themselves are at the blog for St Cuddy's and I am merely providing links here, but I wanted friends of the Byzigenous Buddhapalian to have easy access to them.

May blessings from the Creator abound in your lives and the prayers of St Cuddy support you.

The BB

Lindisfarne / Holy Island

Lindisfarne Priory-Part 1

Lindisfarne Priory-Part 2

Hobthrush Island

Lindisfarne & Durham Architecture-Part 1

Lindisfarne & Durham Architecture-Part 2

St Mary's Parish Church-Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne / St Mary's

The Chi Rho Page of the Lindisfarne Gospels

St Cuthbert foretells a death

Cuthbert becomes a bishop

I will update this if and when I have some more. Happy journeying to all weblog pilgrims!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Retrograde Metronome

Gnus and views
and baby Kangaroos;
Fillets and skillets
and soldiers in very odd billets.

There once was a bearsy named Boris
Who questioned a tree in the forest,
"Can a teddy bear fly?"
"We don't know, silly guy,"
Replied the required Greek chorus.

As the rain still continued to drizzle
And the bull dribble piss from his pizzle,
The wind softly soughed
As the cannon was stuffed,
But when lit, all the fuse did was fizzle.

With that we conclude today's intro
Thought we're not really sure what we meant, so
We will quit while ahead
As the ungrateful dead
Haunt the vacuous spaces al dentro.

You've been great! Thank you all! Good night!

18 February 2006

Well, I just thought my whimsy output had been way too low of late and this bubbled up while sending an e-mail to a friend.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Light Perpetual

Lois Barloon, my beloved stepmom-in-law, passed into larger life today. May her soul and the souls of all the departed by the mercy of God rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon them. I shall miss her.