Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why would I type such hateful things? - updated

Like wishing for Dick Cheney and his daughter to burn in hell?

Let's just call it a visceral reaction to the evil they are trying to defend. Sort of like a certain Psalm verse (137:9):
Happy shall he be who takes your little ones, *
and dashes them against the rock!
Let's just say I am coming to understand (not justify, but understand) the sentiment. If I even so much as see his photo or hear him on TV or radio (and now her as well) I start to scream "Burn in hell!" It's really not having a very good effect on me, nor am I resisting that anger. Because that anger energizes me to fight against such an evil, to oppose their lies every chance I get.

Try reading a real description of waterboarding (here) and I think you will get the picture. Do not read this if it is likely to trigger traumatic experiences for you.
There is no excuse for this, there can be no extenuating circumstances for these acts of torture. We received no intelligence that saved lives from the 186 times we tortured Khalid Sheik Mohamed or the 83 times we tortured Abu Zabaydah. Even if we had there can be no acceptance of this kind of completely inhuman acts. Former Vice President Cheney is a War Criminal. Everyone who participated and ordered theses acts must be investigated and tried for their State Sponsored Torture program.

Just saying.

UPDATE from Psalm 10 - Ut quid, Domine?:
5 Their ways are devious at all times;
your judgments are far above out of their sight; *
they defy all their enemies.

6 They say in their heart," I shall not be shaken; *
no harm shall happen to me ever."

7 Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression; *
under their tongue are mischief and wrong.

8 They lurk in ambush in public squares
and in secret places they murder the innocent; *
they spy out the helpless.

9 They lie in wait, like a lion in a covert;
they lie in wait to seize upon the lowly; *
they seize the lowly and drag them away in their net.

10 The innocent are broken and humbled before them; *
the helpless fall before their power.

11 They say in their heart, "God has forgotten; *
he hides his face; he will never notice."

12 Rise up, O LORD;
lift up your hand, O God; *
do not forget the afflicted.

--the BB

Because we all need to know this

Just read Devilstower's article today. It's not icky poo in details (just in morals) and it trashes a lot of the Dick the Dick talking points (may he burn in hell and his little girl too). It has comments from people who actually have tortured. This needs to be general knowledge.

That's the real effect of the dry memos and furtive phone calls to the White House. That's where it really came down. Men and women who had already volunteered to put themselves on the line for a nation they loved found themselves trapped by orders that they they were told were legal, but which they knew to be immoral. It was a torture as painful as any being used in dark cells. People who put on the uniform of the United States were then ordered to dishonor everything that uniform stands for. It's hard to imagine a deeper betrayal.

What did we get in exchange for our honor?

HOST: one of the points of contention in this debate is whether the techniques actually yield useful information. Vice President Dick Cheney has been very insistent that the information obtained using these methods was important to American safety.

TONY: In my experience they didn't yield any useful information. Even if it did, you couldn't separate it from the information that wasn't useful. You can torture somebody into confessing to any crime you want. I could torture you until you confessed to murdering JFK, but that doesn't mean you did it, and it's certainly not intelligence.

--the BB

Not your usual birthday present

I could not post these photos prior to today. Doxy commissioned me to make a purple stole for Dear Friend for his birthday. Now that he has seen it, I can share. It is almost entirely Dupioni silk in three shades of purple plus contrasting bands of aquamarine, emerald green, turquoise, pale metallic blue, magenta, intense yellow-green, etc. Basically cool colors. It is lined in a pale lavender satin. Right at the back of the neck is a strip of tomato red. I thought of Doxy when I put that in since she is the extravert to Dear Friend's introvert. When I met her she had on a dress of just that bright, vibrant red. Good guess, eh?

I just wish my camera could really capture the colors, but this will give you an idea, anyway.

Happy Birthday, DF!

--the BB

Speaking of fabulosity

Here they are, the happy coule. Notice the tiered effect on the bride's dress. It was just way cool.

And when you have an elegant couple with long, lean supermodel lines, they look great from every angle.

The bride, the bishop, and those wild and crazy bloggers.

As IT said in an earlier comment thread: "Funny how this online community is starting to become a flesh-and-blood one. "

I am so glad I chose to spend my frequent flyer miles from last summer's job to come to this. Old friends, new friends, and so much joy!

--the BB

Too fabulous - updated with correction

How lucky can a fella get? Here are my dates for the wedding, FranIAm and Jane R. As we were going to last night's party the young lad at the drug store checkout where we stopped on the way told me to have a good time. "Those are pretty ladies and they seem like a lot of fun." The chap has no idea how much fun these two are!

What happens in North Carolina stays in North Carolina.

[Not to worry. Mr HeIs called to check up on us. I believe he  Fran's priest boss had expressed some concern about these strangers Fran was going to meet - something about "axe-wielding Episcopalian bloggers." Or maybe it was one of her NY friends dreading the worst.]

Total fabulosity!

Update: correction to clear Mr HeIs thanks to Jane's comment.  My mother's side of the family, myself included, of course, like to embroider stories - so I may have just been making up the connection to Mr HeIs because it sounded so good.  My apologies to the nice man who married dear Fran.

--the BB

There was another wedding in town today

This very sweet young couple met on campus (Davidson College) and used to hang out at the Soda Shop. So they took a few pics there. She was lovely and he was very tender and loving toward her. Warmed my heart, I tell you. Blessings upon them and their life together!

We had to stop for a little something before dinner - an incredible meal at Bucci's on Depot Street, which I highly recommend - and while chatting after my chocolate malt I just had to get a photo of the young lovers.

--the BB

And the mystery blogger is none other than....

... our own world-girdling, indomitable, Grandmère Mimi!

Seen below with LJ and PJ

And here with Bishop Michael, who preached and presided at the wedding - and I do mean the man preached! - and Jane R. Doxy and I were not the only ones muttering "Amen!" during the sermon.

And yet another of those surreptitious snuggle photos of Mimi and me. Don't worry, Grandpère. She keeps coming home to you and I keep going home alone.

Luv ya, GM!
--the BB

It would appear the threat of prosecution has unleashed his endless mendacious blathering

Vice President Dick Cheney decided to speak out after learning that President Barack Obama might open prosecutions of former Bush Administration officials, his daughter disclosed Thursday.

Elizabeth Cheney told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that her father decided to speak out after he learned there was a possibility of legal action.

--Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse

Cheney's speech ignored some inconvenient truths - McClatchy

--the BB

Friday, May 22, 2009

686 - updated with photo

05/21/09 :
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty

1st Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte, 25, of St. Louis, Mo., died May 20 near Kabul, Afghanistan of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. She was assigned to the Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces Command, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii

Ladies of Liberty, a special Soldier’s Angels chapter that supports deployed female members of the military, posted this remembrance of 1st Lt. Schulte on their blog:

Yesterday, my closest friend for the last couple months, Roslyn Schulte, was killed in a roadside bombing halfway between here and Bagram. She is one of the most incredible people I have ever known, and I want to tell you about her. I had only known her about three months, but she was assigned to my unit, and so, she and I being the only two junior officers in the group, she had the unfortunate pleasure of having to hangout with me. I can probably count on one hand the number of times we did not eat at least one meal of the day together since she arrived here in early March.

Ros was truly an exceptional person. Usually when you hear that about someone who just died, it's almost always exaggeration, if not pure BS. With Ros, it's not. She passed up on the Ivy leagues to go to the Air Force Academy. She qualified for state in five different sports in high school, was an all-American in college, a qualified pilot. She was ALWAYS kind to others. She went out of her way to call her mom and dad two or three times a week every week she was here. Sorry I don't do that, Mom and Dad. No one did, except for Ros. She dreamed of getting out of the air force to settle down and start a family. She didn't drink. She didn't like the lifestyle of the military -- said it didn't work well for family. She wanted to be a successful business owner (like her mom), but worried that would interfere with raising a family.


Ros and I usually travelled together on longer trips. We were almost always paired off together, in the same vehicle. That's how we wanted it, and how the mission planners did. Yesterday however I had to go somewhere else. We saw eachother briefly in the morning, just shy of
7am. She was walking from her room, my convoy was already staged and waiting. She saluted me, in typical jest. Junior officers usually don't salute other junior officers, especially when they know eachother. Without too much said, we each went our seperate ways -- I fully expected we would both be back having a meal together at Camp Eggers that evening. In fact, even though the day had just begun, I was already looking forward to that. She was my friend. My helicopter took off at 8am. By all accounts, Ros was killed halfway between Kabul and Bagram about 8:05.


I'm writing this to you so you can know a little bit about this wonderful person, Ros Schulte. My friend.

Photo and remembrance via IGTNT


05/21/09 AP:
3 soldiers killed in Baghdad bombing
The U.S. military says 3 soldiers have been killed and nine others wounded in a roadside bombing in southern Baghdad...a bomb exploded...while American troops were patrolling near a popular outdoor market in the southern district of Dora.

Here's a little radio stunt for you

h/t to Jed Lewison

--the BB

Get down and boogie

Molesy, I don't think we're in New Mexico anymore.

There was the requisite walk by the yacht club, discussing the lifegiving mystery of the Holy Trinity, in the midst of which we did stop to smell the magnolias on the way.

Who is the mystery blogger? Stay tuned.

Tomorrow I plan to kiss the bride. Last night I hugged her.

FranIAm and PJ


Jane demonastrates that professors have moves too! (I confess, all the bloggers but two got up and danced. We two cheered them on and waited for a quiet slow dance - and that didn't happen. Ah, these youngsters.

The groom cuts a rug with the bride's lovely daughter.

I loves me some mush. And they are very in love.

One thing about tonight's lovely birthday party for the groom (just a pup, 3 years younger than me) that really warmed the cockles of my heart was that so many kids got up and danced with great joy and abandon. This was a celebration that cut across the generations. I love seeing kids have a good time where they feel loved and safe and happy.

So today there was some napping, some walking, some discussion, some writing (mostly scholarly and me off in fantasy land), some dining, some dancing. Tomorrow, of course, there is hitching, with the bishop presiding. Lovely people. Lovely weekend.

--the BB, your reporter from North Carolina

Where's Waldo? For that matter, where am I?

There was much wrangling in my household this past week since certain kids got to play in New Orleans for months AND are back in the south again. Maggie and Belle and Molesy and I have all run off to North Carolina for Doxy's wedding.

The happy bride and groom

The kids with Doxy
(From this angle you cannot tell but
Belle has on a mask. You can take
the girl out of New Orleans but....)

And here we have Jane R (Acts of Hope), FranIAm, and the BB. Someone really should warn a state before we all arrive in one place. (Well, Jane lives here these days and fills us in beautifully on local history.)

The kids and I also got to meet Her Felinity, the Bishop of Naps, yesterday. She is gorgeous, but y'all knew that.

I have not had my IV feed of Diet Pepsi and am totally uncaffeinated. Pray for me.

--the BB

Heart thread - 05/22/2009

I ask your prayers for Jane R's godson Robbie, who was assaulted and robbed yesterday and now has a bruised face and broken leg. For swift healing of body and spirit after this unfortunate accident.

For Doxy and Dear Friend who are getting hitched mañana.

The lovely bride
Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also, for consecrating the union of man and woman in his Name. By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast for ever in your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For students working on their papers and dissertations (and hippie rockers on sabbatical).

And all those whose requests are scattered across the blogosphere and in your hearts right now.

The practice of the Jesus Prayer is simple. Stand before the Lord with the attention in the heart, and call to him: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!” The essential part of this is not in the words but in faith, contrition, and self-surrender to the Lord. With these feelings one can stand before the Lord even without any words, and it will still be prayer.
—Theophan the Recluse, a 19th century Russian master of prayer

--the BB

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Needle and thread

Photo above is from a project of several years ago: the spring banner in a series of four that I pieced for St Cuthbert's, Oakland. They were for the creation season (autumn) when we celebrated a creation liturgy.

I have had another creative project of late. I hope to share a photo of it before too long.

Years ago, in one of those rounds of testing and counseling on the way to ordination (many rounds for some of us - it took me four tries just to get into the process), the counselor said that I needed to be creative or I would be like a capped volcano with pressure threatening to erupt.

Mercifully, I have been able to pursue several modes of creativity in recent years for which I thank Godde and encouraging and inspiring people. This blog is one of them, of course, in addition to knitting, sewing, writing fiction, and gardening. Let us not forget preaching, which I do once a month.

Tomorrow posts will probably be light as I may be more intent on partying than blogging. Y'all will surely understand. (Now then, how many years has it been since I waltzed? Baptist feet are not raised to do this sort of thing.)

Party responsibly, my little gypsy moths!

--the BB


My friend, and hitherto greatest fan of my writing, Kathy noted recently that what she enjoys in my tales is the undercurrent of emotion in many scenes.

I am often startled when I feel those emotions. An intriguing question is why some scenes choke me up or reduce me to blubbering - when I think about them, type them, read them aloud to others, or simply talk about them.

[Well, yes, we all know I'm a big softy, but beyond that.]

It happened to me last night. I have sketched out a scene that still lies several chapters later than where I am at the moment. It is actually a dual scene: a nightmare followed the next afternoon with an encounter with a deity. The nightmare is truly horrific and I was dispassionate thinking about it and writing notes for it. The following scene is mystical, challenging, and contains an element of healing. I expect the two scenes to be quite powerful (not too much humility there, eh?). What I did not expect is that in mentioning this to my chum last night I would suddenly choke up. WTF? I did not think that passage, still unwritten, had strong hooks in me.

And yet is describes something of the horror and compassion we all feel when we see a people or a nation being savaged. Put another way, the kind of thing that leads me to cry for complete strangers.


Fantasy fiction is really not very removed from our everyday world, even if it seduces us into imagining alternatives.

Today I was writing a bit of the aftermath of another assassination (I am leading up to a full-fledged civil war, in case you are new to this). The narrative issue is how the family reacts to this loss. As I entered more deeply into a sub-scene I felt the powerful, physical reactions to sudden, devastating news.

Pray for those you love.

Pray for strangers.

Pray for us all.

Gospodi, pomiluj.

--the BB

Prayer request

I ask your prayers for Janet who will be having a lumpectomy - for her and her entire family. We are talking early detection and are optimistic.

--the BB

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The short run-down

After dinner I went to my friend's house. We zipped over to Village Pizza and had a medium pizza with whole wheat crust, pepperoni, sausage, and green chiles (this IS New Mexico). Yummy. We sat outside as it was a lovely evening. Nice to yak beneath a huge cottonwood tree. We then went back to his place for dessert, also outdoors. Lovely.

Now to catch up on a thousand things.

I launched into the next chapter of the book. The first victim of the civil war, not counting the assassinated prince. It really does get nasty from here.

Discussed with my friend Kathy how I spend lots of time on domestic scenes against which the larger events are played out.

I watered the vegetables tonight - and the freshly planted penstemons. Everything will get a good watering tomorrow evening but I wanted to check on all of these. Last night we had some rain and some spectacular lightning. I wish I could capture the colors I see in the yard just around sunset. The camera cannot do it. Even so, here are two blooms. The one below is the same "singing in the rain" bud pictured in the last yard photos, just opened. It is stunning, the colors an electric blend of apricot, pink, and lemon. With the flash it is washed out and tweaking it does not help a whole lot.

Maggie and Belle and Molesy and I are going to party this weekend. More to follow.

Ciao for niao,

--the BB


05/18/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty (2 of 2)
Sgt. Carlie M. Lee, III, 23, of Birmingham, Ala...died May 15 at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small-arms fire in Chak, Afghanistan.

05/18/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty (1 of 2)
Staff Sgt. Esau I. De la Pena-Hernandez, 25, of La Puente, Calif...died May 15 at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small-arms fire in Chak, Afghanistan.


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. David A. Schaefer, Jr., 27, of Belleville, Ill., died May 16 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment...

Monday, May 18, 2009


How much can be discerned in a glazed bowl with sides so thin one cannot help thinking of an eggshell? Prices are very good in the northern principality. The duke continues connecting the dots.

Today at lunch I scratched out six more paragraphs. This evening I added them and developed the issues further, finally concluding another chapter. Hooray.

I smirked to realize that I subconsciously broached the theme of warrantless wiretapping, translated to the eighth century, of course. We really cannot force our framework upon an earlier time. Still, I am amused. There was no Fourth Amendment in the duchy, nor in any of the lands thereabouts; not then, not later. Only human decency and honor. Which should suffice.

Sweet dreams, my little mayflies.

--the BB

The day the smirking stopped

occams hatchet has published a must-read diary about the Nuremberg trials and the central issue of holding leaders to account for a war of aggression when they were not under threat (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Iraq, know what I mean, know what I mean?).

It is a solid and sobering account (no graphic violence so the squeamish may read it). I believe it gives us important perspective on the issues we face today.

It should be required reading for every member of Congress and all cable and newspaper pundits. (Come to think of it, they should all re-read the Constitution while they're at it.)

--the BB