Saturday, February 07, 2009

Darth continues to emit toxic miasma

"THE UNITED States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected." So declared former vice president Dick Cheney in an interview this week with Politico. Mr. Cheney is right -- which is why he should be apologizing rather than defending the extreme Bush administration policies on detention and interrogation that he championed.
--Washington Post editorial today


Think The Hague.
--the BB

Don't divorce us

I found this on Susan Russell's blog.

From the Courage Campaign:

"Fidelity": Watch the video and sign our letter to the state Supreme Court

Tell the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr's case, and let loving, committed couples marry. DEADLINE: Valentine's Day

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Here is the letter you may sign by going here.

We, the undersigned, share President Barack Obama's view that "for too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It's time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect."

Yet, on December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the 18,000 same-sex marriages conducted between May and November of 2008.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on March 5, 2009, with a decision expected within the next 90 days. We, the undersigned, ask that the Court invalidate Prop 8 and recognize the marriage rights of these 18,000 couples -- and all loving, committed couples in California -- under our state's constitution.

As Americans who believe in the rule of law and fundamental civil rights, we know that Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund's shameful attempt to nullify these unions will not be vindicated in the eyes of history. We know that, ultimately, love will prevail, no matter how hard they try to fight it.


I signed. Care to join me?
--the BB

Friday, February 06, 2009

For safety down under - updated (3x)

Just a quick ask if the team could pray for us: it’s bushfire season here in Oz and the national park our place backs onto is currently in flames. I’ve been out in the yard hosing down the cinders raining on us (sky is dark with smoke), with dogs & baby packed in the car ready for us to escape – we’ve just been told to get ready to evacuate, and a few kind thoughts from everyone would be much appreciated!

Thanks heaps!!!

Alcibiades Caliban
Updated to correct typo in headline.


Fourteen people have been killed in savage wildfires burning in southern Australia, and police fear as many as 40 people may have perished. The deaths occurred at four towns in Victoria state, state deputy police commissioner Kieran Walsh said.

Firefighters are battling dozens of fires in parks and bush land, amid a heatwave, with temperatures set to reach 47 C (117F) this weekend. Aircraft are dropping water bombs and thousands of firemen are on standby.

More than 100 homes have been destroyed in nine major blazes in Victoria.
UPDATE (3) - Sunday, 8 February:
HEALESVILLE, Australia (AP) — A government official says the death toll from Australia's worst wildfire disaster has risen to 108.

Authorities counted more victims overnight Monday as they reached further into a huge zone scorched by blazes that ripped across Victoria state at the weekend.
At least 700 homes had been destroyed in the fires that in some cases have razed entire towns.

State Department of Sustainability and Environment spokesman Geoff Russell said Monday that 108 deaths had been confirmed.

Australia's previous deadliest fires were in 1983, when blazes killed 75 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes in Victoria and South Australia.

--the BB

Just because

Railroad tracks
Hercules, California
17 January 2003

--the BB

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ah, it wasn't the Republicans in Congress

It's the Anglican Primates.

I really did not expect anything good to come from their gathering. Call me a pessimist, a realist, or someone bitter about church hierarchies. I will accept any and all of these labels without argument.

I am also a native of the United States with some rather strong views on government of, by, and for the People.

You may thus conclude that I don't think archbishops should even be allowed to gather without deacons, presbyters, and lots of the non-clerical laity also present. I see no reason that they should be able to deliberate or pontificate in not-very-splendid isolation.

I don't know if the Buddha really said this but I rather like something written on one of my refrigerator magnets:
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
To this I might add "obey no dictum unless it agrees with your understanding of justice."

Now, I will readily concede that my own understanding of justice, like my understanding of anything, is exceedingly limited. But frail a thing as it it, it is the light I must live by.

Note: I did not write the Light I must live by. That is Jesus, and I think he would kick the purple-dressed twits from here to next Tuesday.

This conversation will include continuing the Listening Process, and the "Bible in the Church" Project. It is urgent that we as primates, with the rest of the Communion, directly study the scriptures and explore the subject of human sexuality together in order to help us find a common understanding.
The "Listening Process" has hardly begun in most of the world and been roundly rejected by some primates. If they are going to take the Bible as a serious guide to sexual ethics we can start with reinstituting polygamy and concubinage and stoning adulterers tomorrow. I personally want to preside at the defrocking of the first primate with a chimere of blended fabrics or caught noshing on shrimp. You know some of these gits are not going to even consider scientific evidence on sexuality.

Yes, I have my own serious bigotry. I was not prepared to give any credence or obeisance to a word that might eventuate from the primates' meeting. Is it because I think they are always, by definition, in error? No. Is it because I do not think the Holy Spirit might surprise or challenge me through them? No. But it does have roots in their track record.
If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offence, misunderstanding or hostility cease. While we are aware of the depth of conscientious conviction involved, the position of the Communion defined by the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its entirety remains, and gracious restraint on all three fronts is urgently needed to open the way for transforming conversation.
["We are quite distressed that Jesus caused offence, misunderstanding, and hostility and we rather wish we could forget he did so. It is just so... un-English, and likely to startle the horses, you know."]

I just want to say, as someone who used to read Lambeth resolutions dating back to the beginning and is not unaware of the tradition, that a gathering of bishops at Lambeth is not the same as "the position of the Communion." You see, being a Communion and not a Church, there is no transnational body that can speak FOR us all. None. Never has been and, IMNSHO, nor should there be. The bishops may speak TO us all, but not FOR us all. It's not really that tricky a distinction. I wish these asshats could grasp it.

It might go a long way toward shoring up their credibility if they worked on speaking to us and profoundly realized they do not speak for us.

You may read more at OCICBW.

OK, Susan S., you're waiting for it, I know.

I really don't give a flying fuck what the primates say. I do value what could, and sometimes has, come from a gathering of bishops, but the introduction of expanded and glorified roles for archbishops just smacks too damn much of hierarchicalism à la Rome and I'm having none of it.

+Clumber was not amiss in selecting a quote from this tick on the Body of Christ.
--the BB

For Justice Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery Thursday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the court said.

With gratitude
for her years
of faithful service
and wishing her
all the best

h/t Joe Sudbay

--the BB

Heart thread - evening 2/5/2009

My friend Teddy's second grade teacher has entered, as we say, the nearer presence of Christ. Teddy will be a pallbearer at her funeral tomorrow.

May Gay rest in peace and rise in glory.

--the BB

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States

h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog
--the BB

G'wan, just enjoy the music

John Aravosis at Americablog observes that Matt Alber sounds very much like Rufus Wainwright. I quite agree. And this is a nice piece of music (with a touch of romance to make a gay man's heart flutter).

You can see and hear more of him here.

(That playful smile. I think I have a new crush.)

--the BB

It has been suggested that I check again

Susan S., my fellow pottymouth, hinted that I should check the cuss-o-meter again. So here are the results.

Around 87.4% of the pages on your website contain cussing.
This is 77% LESS than other websites who took this test.

I'll try harder. I'm sure the assholes in DC will get me riled about some damned thing or another.
--the BB

MIsguided criticisms

President Obama speaks out at the Washington Post today on "The Actions Americans Need." Read it all here.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We've seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

As I asked last night, why does he seem to be the only Democrat doing the lifting?

h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog
--the BB

Heart thread - 02/05/2009

My coworker Steph's mother learned yesterday that she has colon cancer. It is operable but I know prayers and thoughts and best wishes are in order.

--the BB

More from 17 January 2003

-the BB

Gratuitous herb photo

Pinole, California
17 January 2003

--the BB

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Republicans in Congress don't give a shit if this nation is destroyed from within so long as they can circle the wagons around the plutocracy

Paul Krugman on Brainless Broder's bipartisanship:
You see, this isn’t a brainstorming session — it’s a collision of fundamentally incompatible world views. If one thing is clear from the stimulus debate, it’s that the two parties have utterly different economic doctrines. Democrats believe in something more or less like standard textbook macroeconomics; Republicans believe in a doctrine under which tax cuts are the universal elixir, and government spending is almost always bad.

Obama may be able to get a few Republican Senators to go along with his plan; or he can get a lot of Republican votes by, in effect, becoming a Republican. There is no middle ground.
If there were ideas to be contributed - ideas with some kind of proven value, not tax cuts, which we know don't stimulate growth, and trimming inconsequential spending - that would be one thing. But more of the same bad thinking and faulty fantasy economics that put us in this mess just do not constitute a valid contribution. There is no value added.

Dicking around with the whole thing for the sake of posturing and trying to safeguard those tax cuts for the wealthy (as in trying to make them permanent) is not sound economics, not clear thinking, and not patriotic action in a time of crisis.

So, as the poster says, How about a nice cup of shut the fuck up?

Where's my chainsaw?

And why are we doing such a lame-ass job of getting actual facts out to the American People? Why are Republicans and Villagers on the airwaves with hardly anyone else out there framing the debate? Why isn't as technically sophisticated a team as the Obama crew not blanketing the public with a clear presentation of what we stand to gain or lose? And why, oh, why is anyone listening to such economic dim bulbs as McCain, Limpbone, and Broder? The treatment in the media of our global economic crisis and attempts to address it constitutes another layer of disaster.

[Yes, I know one reason we have this problem is that virtually unregulated, overly consolidated media tend to suppress anything that would upset the applecart of the corporatist plutocracy that controls access. And in a situation like that you don't really have a free press, do you? Into that vacuum step things like blogs and because of that vacuum we tend to get shrill.]

As BarbinMD writes: "It's pretty sad that President Obama seems to be the only Democrat making the case for the economic stimulus and pushing back against the GOP attacks against it."

Bipartisanship only works when both sides play the same game. That has not happened in so long that it is really delusory (= stupid) to think it will work in today's climate. It is itself a wedge issue designed to defeat any attempt to serve the common people, to maintain the pretense of a conservative social agenda, to crush unions, and to keep the powerful in power and the rich unhampered in maintaining and increasing their wealth, the rest of us be damned.

It is appropriate for the President to attempt to work with the opposition. It is also clear that they are not going to return the favor. It is not the President who is not collaborating; it is the obstructionists. Their ability to project is stunning - and sickening. The louder they shout that Democrats are not being bipartisan the more you know it is they who are guilty. The louder they shout about ethics, morals, corruption, fiscal responsibility, or any other topic, the more certain you can be that they have serious problems in these areas. The track record is clear and the hypocrisy is patent.

This is class warfare and it has been going on forever. Folks, rise up! Fight back! Do not let them screw us over!

h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog
--the BB (who was raised in a Republican anti-union household)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's somebody's saint's day!

Porfi and Schmitty join Fr. Anskar to party on this feast of Saint Anskar, Apostle of the North. you may read about him at Mimi's (as noted in the post below).

Fr. Anskar was an ordination present. The day I was priested he came to live with us, in an alb, cincture, maniple, and a stole and chasuble of Pentecostal red.

I don't really know where all his vestments are (they were in the move from California but I'm not sure which box). That is why he currently wears purple all year round.

I know, time for daddy to start sewing again.

When I went to St Cuthbert's I told Elfie, one of the dedicated members of the Altar Guild and a good Swede, that she had just gotten two Swedish priests for the price of one. I then introduced her to Fr. Anskar. Elfie, a retired first-grade teacher, was delighted.

He is a rather dashing blond Viking, isn't he?

Schmitty Bear, btw, belonged to a neighbor. When Mr. Schmidt died, my mother took him in. When mother died, he came to live with me. I assume he must be a centenarian, the elder bear in our home.

Greetings to one and all on this festal day. I think I shall have another bite of maple fudge.
--the BB

Heart thread - 02/03/2009

A blessed feast of St Anskar to you all. (Cf. the wonderful post chez Mimi.)

We have new prayer requests:
  • for Frank living with leukemia
  • for Dorian with a recent diagnosis of MS and for Huguette, her mother
  • for David as he looks for work

In these times we especially remember the unemployed, the underemployed, the overworked, and those who struggle with desperation and despair.

Y'all know what to do and you do it well.

Descend, Holy Spirit of Life!
Come down into our hearts, that we may live.
Descend into emptiness, that emptiness may be filled.
Descend into the dust, that the dust may flower.
Descend into the dark, that the light may shine in the darkness. Amen.

—Frances Caryll Houselander

--the BB

Monday, February 02, 2009

Doing the math

SusanG at Daily Kos picks up on Josh Marshall's radical act: doing the math. As in looking at the items Republicans in Congress have been quibbling and caviling over.

Josh "grabbed a representative list of bogeyman programs cited by Rep. LoBiondo (R-NJ) and did the math."
Set aside whether you think these line items are worthwhile. (And it seems obvious to me that it's good for the economy to buy more vehicles for the government fleet, when our auto industry is cratering and demand for cars is flatlining.) But just add those up and you get a total -- $3.51 Billion -- out of $819 Billion.
Well, all right then. I have spent not quite half of my life working in accounting. I know how to let a spreadsheet do the calculating for me. So, with the help of Excel, I offer you this:

3.51 divided by 819 gives us 0.4286%. LESS THAN HALF OF ONE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL.

I have included a pie chart for the graphically inclined. The blue sliver represents that half a percent.

If that's all they have to gripe about then it's time for them to STFU. In accounting, amounts like this are commonly referred to as "ant turds" or "mouse nuts" (you have to love technical terms) or, in more formal parlance, as immaterial. You really don't need to worry about them. They are the equivalent of a SMALL rounding error.

I know that a billion dollars is A LOT of money, but you have to consider scale and proportionality. You don't screw over the American economy over a very small part of the total picture.

So pass the damn bill and get on with it already.

Did I mention that David Broder is an idiot and the Goopers have absolutely no ideas left to contribute other than the crap that's gotten us into this mess in the first place? I have? Good. And why the hell does anyone listen to - or provide a forum for - Grover Norquist who hates government and the People it represents?

SusanG concludes:
And this is exactly the kind of information that needs to be out there as the president tries to explain his program to the American people: All those "high-principled" no votes cast last week were about 1%-2% of the recovery plan.

Spread the word. Because it's looking more and more like the traditional media won't.
Now you know.

"Tag, you're it," as Thom Hartmann likes to say. " Democracy begins with you."

You are now responsible to spread the truth.

--the BB

Tossed into the deep end

Postings on Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg

If you know me at all you know I love languages and learning them. It is play and delight (though also work). I study Russian for fun, if you will, though it is daunting.

Since Russian 2 did not have sufficient enrollment it was suggested we take conversational Russian. This was a bureaucratic, not a pedagogical, suggestion - in other words, please let us keep your registration fee, we don't want to refund it. Fine.

Tonight I went to conversational Russian Half the class are old hands who have been taking this class for at least a couple of years. Two of us had studied only one semester (2 hours a week class), two others knew no Russian and have wisely redirected themselves to Russian 1.

Do you recall when you were learning to swim and not too good at it? You tried always to be able to touch bottom with your toes, just in case. If you drifted too far down the pool you found yourself without that concrete assurance beneath you, just water. You had not yet learned to trust the water, your body, your own buoyancy. You managed to get back to the shallows but not without a frisson of terror.

I think I have just wandered into the deep end of the Russian pool.

There were numerous moments when I had the deer-in-the-headlights look. "You know this," the prof would say while I was thinking, "De ningún manera, Señora, no me recuerdo de eso. What are all these people saying? What was that word? I can't write fast enough! Say what?"

The professor is very good, very patient, and also a good taskmistress. It is evident that I will need to use the resources I have been acquiring over the past year and teach myself grammar. She will explain what I don't understand and drill us, but I must deal with the concepts and the formation of word endings myself.

Thank Godde I know how to do this (as it ain't my first time around the linguistic block).

I did not know a good half of the vocabulary used tonight. There were case endings I have not yet studied. We touched on perfective and imperfective verbs (and I am so glad I had read about those on my own before tonight). My head is swimming. My brain is flailing.

I know I will be OK. I will probably know grammar as well or better than most in the class (because it's what I do, I can't help myself). But it is a challenge.


[We all know that "pride goeth before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction." I was feeling really proud of all the studying I've done since my last class at the end of April. Tonight took me down a peg or six. Serves me right.]
--the BB

Eric Holder confirmed as Attorney General

Let the rule of law return to this land.

One law.

One standard.

One set of rules.

Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 24:22)

No double standards.

No one above the law.

No one beneath the law's concern.

--the BB

Is David Broder an idiot?

Or just living on another planet?


Simple answers to simple questions.

h/t to Atrios for the meme

See Neiwert on Broder here.
--the BB

Welcome visitors from Mahablog

Freight cars and Christmas tree
Pinole, CA, January 17. 2003

I am an admirer of Maha's writings (as I've said on more than one occasion) and rather humbled to be blogrolled on a political blog. I believe that is a first. Those who come here are most welcome.

For those who wonder how this blog gets its name, it is a combination reflecting spiritual influences: Byzantine (i.e., Eastern Orthodox), Indigenous (Native American), Buddhist, Episcopalian. The last of these is my "home" but like a banyan tree I have come to have multiple roots.

When doing political rants that allow me to vent I am not being very spiritual. I have a long way to grow, so you will find intermittent compassion and equanimity.

This, like most blogs, is very personal so you may find anything from reasoned reflection to total silliness to bursts of passion (nostalgic, irate, joyous, all over the map). When unemployed I used to put up a summary of daily world headlines from Google but lack that leisure now. The internet helps me keep a larger perspective and I am interested in events and movements that are likely to have longer-term effects as opposed to minor political flurries or the sort of non-news that afflicts cable TV. I also enjoy sharing photographs.

Browse, enjoy, feel free to comment.
-the BB

Sunday, February 01, 2009

4237 - updated

Latest Coalition Fatalities

MNF: Soldier dies from non-combat related injury
A U.S. Soldier died as a result of a non-combat related injury in Kirkuk, Iraq Jan 31. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Darrell L. Fernandez, 25, of Truth or Consequences, N.M., died Jan. 31 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle accident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division...

34 GOP Senators Oppose the Recovery Plan - updated

I borrowed the headline from the choice is yours at Daily Kos. Choice lists the senators with quotes on their cavils and quibbles about the stimulus plan.
Just as House Republicans did, GOP Senators are now pretending they'll vote for the economic recovery package if only those unreasonable Democrats would toss them a bone or two. For the most part, they are lying. They will kick and scream for every concession possible, creating a new faux outrage every few hours. Foolishly, Democrats will likely cave to some of these demands. Then, Republicans will vote against the bill overwhelmingly. It is difficult to imagine anything more sinister than this. They are essentially weakening the bill as much as possible, making it less likely to work. Then they'll bail at the last second, in case it does fail, so they can point their fingers and assign all of the blame to Democrats.
I retract my earlier repentance for using imagery such as "they ought to be sodomized with chainsaws and dipped in a vat of their own bile and vinegar." Every time they pull this shit I feel it more strongly than ever.

They are awful people, willing to put the entire nation at risk in order to play games and posture, raising the most hypocritical objections (where was their fiscal responsibility in the past eight years, for instance?).

Legitimate questions would be fine. Suggestions that might improve bills would be highly desirable. Putting the citizens of their own states at the forefront of their concerns would be most understandable. But they are obstructing for the sake of obstruction, trying to booby-trap the entire effort so they can point fingers when (they hope) it fails. All so they can return to power.

Is this serving the People of the United States?

I think not.

Digby weighs in on the ever-delusional David Broder (what planet DOES he live on and why do people read him?) and the "wisdom" of village elders, the Republican obstructionists, the desperate governors (including Republicans) who are counting on this stimulus to save their states, Barney Frank's pointing out that the biggest spending bill is called IRAQ, and other matters. Check her out here.
From what the congressional Republicans were saying on the gasbag shows this morning, they have been sent out with talking points that say that whatever is done must be a "shovel ready project" or a tax cut. Helping the states deliver necessary services and keeping the money flowing doesn't seem to be on their agenda. Indeed, I heard more than one complaining about the amount being spent on extended unemployment because that isn't "stimulus" either. (Apparently, the only money that spends is money that one gets from a tax cut. It has magical properties.)

The Republicans should, by rights, feel tremendous pressure to sign on to the popular president's bill. They should be cowed by the fact that they just got their asses handed to them in the election and are barely even hanging on to their power to filibuster. A normal American, who believes in democracy, would believe that they should probably adapt themselves at least somewhat to the will of the people, which the elections since 2006 has clearly been a repudiation conservative governance. But they don't really believe in democracy.They see politics purely as a power game in which their only job is to leverage whatever power they have to attain their partisan goals. Obama can try to unilaterally declare bipartisanship to be inoperative but it won't work if the other side doesn't sign on.

--the BB

Seeing my brother in Christ in action

You've all heard of Daniel Gutierrez' ordination to the priesthood on the Feast of la Virgencita.

Today he presided and preached at the Eucharist at San Gabriel Mission. It was a great joy to witness.

Padre Daniel y Diácona Karly
con los dones de Dios
para el pueblo de Dios.

The mission reminds me a lot of Good Shepherd in Berkeley, California. Lots of clergy hanging out there. We had at least five priests present today (and it seems a visitor is a priest too, which brings it up to six). Scary, no? Actually it means this a place we enjoy hanging out. We also take turns preaching.

We share a lot at San Gabriel. The colorful retablo panels in the background and the crucifix in the larger cross are loans from one priest and the chasuble Daniel is wearing is from my vestment collection. The banners were made by a parishioner who has also made a couple of other chasubles. A lovely Russian-style icon of Gabriel the Archangel adorns the worship space. The Altar was made by another parishioner. And there is so much more that has gone into creating a community and the physical means to make Eucharist together with faith and love and beauty. It's a good place to be.
--the BB

Sunset last night (with gardening update)

I don't have a fancy camera like TCR (and wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with it if I did), but here is a shot out my office window of the eastern sky at sunset yesterday.

Today began as another beautiful winter day, though feeling a bit colder than yesterday. By the time I got out of brunch it was gray overhead and cooler. By the time I got out of Lowe's with more mulch (and another clematis and some honeysuckle), it was very gray, very chilly, and very windy.

While my digs on the far south end of town tend to be warmer and milder than the north end of town, this is not a yard day, so I'm staying inside. This means I hope to plant next weekend. With bare root plants this should be no problem.

Thus, no planting reports for today.
--the BB

Mother of the Godsons in town - with shout out to Godson Jack and his brother Evan

After church it was time for brunch - la Nancita and the goddads.

Here I am with Nancy, mother of my godson Jack (whom you've met before). Yes, that's a Christmas tree behind us but Candlemas isn't until tomorrow.

And here she is with the hamming-it-up goddad of her other son Evan. (His smile came a fraction of a second after this picture was snapped, something I wished I'd noticed when I had the chance to shoot again.)

Doesn't she have a radiant smile? She is heaps of fun and it was a real joy to see her today. Lots of catching up stories.

And here is a shot of the venerable goddads for the godsons:

Hi, guys! Love to you both from the wilds of New Mexico.

I won't tantalize Jane R with a description of the Russian dinner Bill served last night - I wasn't there but I know the dishes well enough to visualize it all.

На здоровье!
--the BB