Saturday, July 04, 2009

La temporada de hormigas

I took this photo out on the mesa (near where the broken glass/angel wing lay). It is ant season. Nearly everywhere I walk, whether out in fields or on the sidewalks and parking lots at work, I see them scurrying about. The ground feels alive with them.

I hope they don't ruin any of your picnics today.

They must also be honored because they are not only an immense collective biomass on this planet, they perform important work in aerating the soil and facilitating the web of life.

Which doesn't stop me from making sure they stay away from my house. I let them play in the far end of the garden though.

--the BB

Evolving traditions.

Mom and Dad on their wedding day (on the right)
27 November 1930

In my family Mom always made the potato salad and my sister Shirley always made the macaroni salad. We all believed (and still do) that they did it best. Mother's potato salad was very simple. Potatoes, celery, pimento, red onion, Best Foods mayonnaise (Hellman's if you are east of the Rockies), salt, pepper, vinegar. I think she might have had parsley also. She was adamant about not adding mustard or eggs in her potato salad.

So the potato salad I just made for today's festivities is basically that of my mother. I overcooked the potatoes, so it is a bit mushy. She would not approve. I used white balsamic vinegar from Modena. I think Mom would be totally cool with that. Where she used a jar of chopped pimento, drained, I chopped up a roasted red pepper. No real difference there. I used kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Mother would not have thought of those options back in the 50s but would be fine them.

The parsley I use is Armenian parsley, as we always called it - what the rest of y'all call Italian or flat-leaf parsley. It has so much more flavor and I grew up on it, being surrounded by Armenian cooks and folks who learned from Armenian cooks. I let the parsley in my back yard go to seed two years ago. I now have three plants of it in various locations but did not want to harvest most of my leaves today. What truly amazed me was that the parsley from the first year overwintered.

All in all, today's product is recognizably my mother's potato salad in flavor profile and ingredients.

Mom was born in Fairfax, Missouri, and moved to California as a little girl. She was a good midwestern cook. Pepper and salt were her main spices; this was not French cuisine but it was honest, good-tasting, and satisfying. Trying to make a dish like she made feels good.

Here's to you, Hallie!

May you all eat something wonderful this Independence Day.

--the BB

El gusanito se menea su proyectil

Video: North Korea fires six missiles in act of defiance to US ITN NEWS

North Korea Test-Fires Seven Missiles, Drawing Condemnation Bloomberg
Calm urged after N Korea missiles
Russia, China and the US have all called for calm after North Korea test-fired a series of missiles.

Seven Scud-type ballistic missiles with a range of about 500km (312 miles) were fired in an apparent act of defiance against the US, on 4 July.

Russia and China called on Pyongyang to return to talks, while a US official urged it not to aggravate tensions.

Quote from BBC article
I don't make this stuff up, folks.

Mark and I have shared our abhorrence of mixing alcohol and firearms. I also get uncomfortable when crazy people have weapons. Bush. Cheney. Osama bin Ladin. Kim Jong Il.

--the BB

"We hold these truths to be self-evident...."

You would not believe, though you may well suspect, that the files on my computer are organized in a vast web of folders, sub-folders, and sub-sub-folders, etc. The main folders I visit under "Documents" are Politics, Blogging, and Mithernalia (where my novels and their supporting documents live). Under "Pictures" there are Politics, Desert Farne (the name I gave to my home in ABQ and the photos I take here), and recent folders of shots taken with my new camera. Plus "Creativity" which has sub-folders for Flags, Maps, and perhaps fifty or so other sub-folders.

With this blog you can see why Politics shows up under both Documents and Pictures. Next to Religious Blogs, Political Blogs is the most populated folder of my browser Favorites also.

In the political folders under both Documents and Pictures are sub-folders labeled "Foundational Documents." This is where I have the texts and graphics of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

All of the above is context to say that I consider these items foundational. I return to them again and again to refresh my memory and vision of what we, as a nation, stand for.

Most estadounidenses can recite this sentence by memory:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
We citizens of the United States consider this central to our self-understanding.

There is a history to the understanding and interpretation of this text, however. By the time the Constitution was framed this text was already being compromised, with slaves given partial value (3/5 of a person is hardly "equal"). Over time that obscenity was repealed. Abigail Adams argued for the equality of women but it was many years later that women were allowed to vote. When, not so very long ago, the Equal Rights Amendment was floated, it failed to gain ratification in enough states. We clearly have not arrived on that one yet.

We have been progressing, but it is slow and partial. We have yet to grow into our own foundational concepts and ideals.

The current healthcare debate includes the issue that in the United States today there are citizens whose "unalienable right" to life is dependent on insurance coverage and the rules and whims of the insurer. People die every day because they are uninsured or underinsured or have insurance but are denied treatment.

If we believe the words of the Declaration of Independence, why are we even debating whether we should have universal coverage?

In the current debate over marriage rights it is quite evident that LGBT citizens, in most (but blessedly no longer all) states and at a federal level have their "unalienable right" to the pursuit of happiness denied because they are excluded from marriage.

So I suppose this means that if I'm queer I am something like 3/5 of a person?

Many people in the United States fail to grasp that equal rights are not "special rights." They are equal rights.

I would like to call this nation forward, asking it to continue growing into its own vision.

The work of the American Revolution and the dream of the United States of America are ongoing processes.

Keep fighting until are free and equal.
This is part of an Independence Day weekend series.

--the BB

Friday, July 03, 2009

"If this venture succeeded...."

Another young mother would have loved such a reassurance, though no parent would wish on a child the life of a seer. Č. had just given up any hope of a simple domestic life. Even with all the trappings of the court, she would have been content to be the duke’s wife, raising their children, doing what she might for the people of the duchy, growing old with V. No more.

If this venture succeeded she would take on all the cares of ruling the land her father once ruled. If it failed, then the fate of her family would be in question.

She had to leave little D. behind for safety. She knew he was in good hands but she had never been away from her child. V. was with her and she had the company of friends but this was a journey she dreaded.
I do such unpleasant things to characters I love. Then again, if I didn't there would be no story. The movement in music, the overall arc of a piece, depends on dissonance. So flaws, foibles, mishaps, chance, and the actions of jerks and a******s all combine to take my characters where they would rather not go or do to them what they would rather not have done.

I told Mimi that I might have to dedicate this volume to the Theotokos: the mother-child theme is so strong in it.

Then again, reality keeps intruding. It is far easier to write about family in a novel than to live with family in real life. My books are escapist reading. I try to keep the families interesting and most behavior understandable at a minimum and quite often solidly noble.

A note on the vision of domestic bliss being abandoned here. The princess had a nightmare life her first fourteen years. She is only eighteen now and the mother of a one-year-old. A quiet life is her deepest desire as she has had enough of the extraordinary (and exceptionally evil). Her desire to just be a wife and mother has context and most of my women characters want a whole lot more than that. You might say this princess has classic PTSD and is now headed to the land where it all happened. She rides, knowingly, into the realm of her memories. One cannot blame her for wanting the safe and the dull. I quite admire the bravery that allows her to do this against the instinct of her entire being. (Just so ya don't think she's a simpering Barbie doll.)

Sweet dreams, my angelic aardvarks!

--the BB

"Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages"

Dang! Now ain't that a phrase to grab your attention?

Not that I'm going to bring up torture at this moment, however....

Returning to the Declaration of Independence:

Among the itemized complaints against King George III are these:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:


He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Hmmm, come to think of it, under a recent George, people were held with neither trial nor hearing to determine the legality of their being held. And some were transported beyond Seas not to be tried for pretended offenses but to be held incommunicado and/or tortured. The mercenaries employed by our government are not foreign, but they are mercenaries.

I would dearly love to see us make somewhat swifter progress away from these heinous policies, policies parallel to some of those that led to the American Revolution.

This is part of an Independence Day weekend series.

--the BB

Do I believe in the demonic?

So long as Dick Cheney draws breath, I do.

Read Juan Cole's reflections / context / perspective on Dick the Dick's concerns about wasted sacrifice.

It starts like this:
Dick Cheney reacted to the cessation of unilateral US patrols of major cities in Iraq, saying that he had concerns that the "insurgents" might launch more attacks and that “I would not want to see the U.S. waste all the tremendous sacrifice that has gotten us to this point."

First of all, Cheney didn't make any sacrifices in Iraq. He deferred his own military service five times because he 'had other things to do.' The 'sacrifices' were caused because he purveyed falsehoods to the US public in order to get up that war, hinting around that Saddam was in bed with Usama Bin Laden and telling senators that Iraq was two years away from having a nuclear bomb. So the sacrifices were of other people's children, and his role was merely that of an Aztec high priest cutting the heart out of the victims.

For my money, Cole is too kind.

--the BB

It's not about the money

Paul Krugman:
Yes, we can
Get more or less universal coverage, that is. The CBO scoring on an incomplete bill sent everyone into a tizzy — and also led to an avalanche of bad reporting, with claims that it said terrible things about the public option. (There was no public option in the bill.)

Now the real thing has been scored — and it’s OK. Something like 97 percent coverage for people already here, at a total cost somewhere in the $1 trillion range. Bear in mind that the Bush tax cuts cost around $1.8 trillion over a decade. We can do this — and have no excuse for not doing it.

There is a lot of fearmongering around the cost of healthcare reform. If any of those screaming about cost just happen to have voted for or otherwise supported W's tax cuts, then they have zero credibility and may be dismissed out of hand. I wish the tradmed would point this out and just laugh at them. They have no claim on public air waves.

Arm yourselves with facts, people, so you can counteract codswallop.

h/t to John Aravosis at Americablog

--the BB

I predict dirt - updated with h/t

Gov. Sarah Palin to resign her office July 26
by Andrew Hinkelman and Lori Tipton
Friday, July 3, 2009

WASILLA, Alaska -- In a stunning announcement, Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday morning she will resign her office in a few weeks.
Lots of speculation out there that she is ramping up to run for president in 2012.

Myself, I think that dirt is going to emerge.

Her political career is riddled with corruption, craziness, and christianism. She is not being treated kindly in the traditional media these days and recent revelations indicate the McCain staff had their hands full dealing with her (as we suspected at the time). Dave Neiwert has made it clear that her relationship with extremists was not casual.

I'd be on the lookout for dirt.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: h/t to Jed Lewison at Daily Kos

--the BB

This song is being invoked

This song is being invoked a lot recently. I thank Elizabeth Kaeton for making it a refrain.

--the BB

Music Friday with Herman Put Down The Gun

This is a cool video made (with talent and no money) by an Atlanta group. Enjoy!

Now, pop over to Mimi's to read the story behind this and comments from some of the musicians. How cool is this?

Keep on making music, gang!!!!

--the BB

I see it even has apologies to +KJS and MM

I had to snaffle this from OCICBW.

--the BB

"deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
How radically different this is from most of the path of human history in which the consent of the governed was not even considered. For millennia we were conditioned to assume that the natural order of things was for certain superior personages to rule over the rest of us. What constituted these people as "superior" varied, but a system of dominance and submission was unquestioned.

Then some folks got uppity and questioned that.

Jesus got in trouble for questioning the system. He preached and demonstrated the reign of God, quite different from the rule of emperors and oligarchies - and, we must now add, corporatocracies. When his early followers declared "Jesus is Lord" they also meant that Caesar and Herod were delegitimized. Rome was not happy. Those who profited from the rule of Rome were not happy. Those who colluded with Rome were not happy.

So much in modern politics reflects these ancient struggles. The "American way of life," so highly touted when I was a boy growing up in the 50s along with "the American dream," involved many unasked questions. Now that I am a cranky old fart, I tend to ask the questions more and more. I ask them as one who feels deep patriotism for my native land but also knows himself to live in a larger context than a tribal one.

The American way of life, as we have known it in my lifetime, has been increasingly structured for the benefit of corporations and those who run them and for their stockholders. I happen to believe in the legitimate role of those who provide capital so that industry and commerce may happen. Those who invest are entitled to a reasonable return on that investment. In that sense I am a capitalist.

But I do not believe in an unbridled capitalism in which all the functional equations are arranged to favor the profits of the investors at the expense of other parties: laborers, customers, and the environment. This is rather like a casino. We all know the operation is designed to favor the house. Some may win, most will lose, the house will always rake in lots of money. So long as masses of people stay focused on the possibility that they might win, they continue to toss their money into that system and are generally happy. Basically it is a system for transferring money from the client's bank accounts into the bank accounts of the owners of the casino.

In other words, society is largely content to gamble with our natural resources, with our human energy and our health, with our common life, with our well being as a society, in the hope that some of us will benefit - and the "house" that the entire system is structured to benefit makes out quite nicely, unconcerned about all other factors and players

One part of the Calvinist heritage of my youth is a firm belief, now highly reinterpreted but still firm, in human frailty. In the process of questioning theology I came to realize that the phrase "total depravity" did not mean, for John Calvin, that we are all 100% depraved but that there is no part of us untouched by sin. A huge part of my theological journey involved completely rethinking the concept of sin in my undergraduate years on into seminary. I certainly understand our human dilemma nowadays in terms of being limited, broken, unaware, and bearing the burdens of our specific and general heritage as well as sheer, rebellious willfulness. Long ago I redefined sin, in my mind, as whatever damages right relationship: with God, with others, with ourselves, and with the world around us. I believe this is quite orthodox but it is much broader than what I grew up with. Having said all that, nothing in us appears untouched by such damage. I avoid the phrase total depravity, but I think you can see that I view us as, well, pretty fucked up.

That can actually be a compassionate view rather than a judgmental one. If we see ourselves and one another as works in progress, very incomplete and still struggling to grow into wholeness (and what believers consider holiness), damaged by life, "bleeding on the inside" each and every one of us, we begin to shift from labeling individuals as a******s, jerks, incompetents, idiots, etc. and can start to cut others - and ourselves - some slack. To see each of us flawed critters as objects of divine love - clearly a faith stance - or even as unique parts of some grand totality, is to move toward compassion.

The advantage of seeing and naming flaws without getting all torqued over them is that we can move from the sort of denial that distances us from reality, in our daily life and in our larger societal existence.

We have, as a nation, been living in collective denial about a system that is rigged to favor the house. Those who question the system are quickly branded as traitors, socialists, crazies, un-American, etc. They can then be dismissed and the system can go chugging along.

We live in a tyranny of corporations. The debates raging nowadays around topics like the economy, healthcare, and war all include the element of some folks declaring that the emperor has no clothes. In other words, calling into question the system.

Anyone involved with systems theory knows that systems want homeostasis. When you try to change them they resist. Now there's an understatement.

Healthcare, to take one of our hot-button topics of the moment, is - in this benighted, backward patch of the United States of America - rigged to enrich insurance companies. We all know it, and if we don't we are in denial of the most abysmal sort. The system is simply NOT about seeing that everyone in our society is given the care required for decent health.

It is, to bring this around to the Declaration of Independence, a tyranny.

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such [a healthcare system], and to provide new Guards for their future [health]."

This is where consent of the governed comes into play. We need to let our elected officials know that if they do not support decent healthcare in this nation then they will lose their legitimacy in our eyes. This will have consequences in donations (the one thing they really care about) and votes (the thing they should fear and never forget).

We need to withdraw our consent to tyranny.

Y'all may play with the ramifications of "consent of the governed." We certainly need to reclaim the concept on a daily basis.

The Revolution did not end when the United States became independent of Great Britain.

I commend to your attention a post titled "Compare and Contrast: A Woman With Pneumonia Goes to The Local Clinic" at Crooks and Liars.
I walked out of the clinic with a diagnosis and treatment within twenty-five minutes of entering, without paying a dime. There was no wait, no paperwork, and no questions about my ability to pay, my nationality, or whether, as a foreigner, I was entitled to free comprehensive health care. There was no monetary value connected with my physical well-being; the care I received was not contingent upon my ability to pay. I was treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, my illness was cured and I was able to continue with my journey in Venezuela.

This past year, a family friend was not so lucky. At the age of 56, she was going back to school and was uninsured. She came down with what she thought was a severe case of the flu, and as her condition worsened she decided not to see a doctor because of the cost. She died at home in bed, losing her life to a system that did not respect her basic human right to survive.

Hugo Chávez may well be a jerk but next time you wish to vilify him think about healthcare in Venezuela in comparison with the United States. Think about it real hard, my friends. (Read the whole article.

--the BB

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Now: The Movie!

h/t to BarbinMD

--the BB

As if raising a child were not challenge enough

Eventually talk shifted to those who accompanied N. to T. and the unfolding chaos in F. There had been no recent news. A. gnawed on her lip until W. reached up to touch his mother’s mouth. “Awwight, mama,” he said, “awwight.”

Puzzled looks formed about the table. An expression of potential comprehension, not unlike that of those who suspect they have unraveled a secret, formed on P’s face. He leaned toward his son and said, “Are you telling mommy that it will be all right, W.?”

The boy nodded with the exaggerated certainty of a very young child and said, once more, “Awwight.”

P. smiled at his beloved. “I think we are raising a seer, my love.”

This domestic scene is not a proper part of the plot of this volume but it does link the home front with the distant battlefront and offers background for tales to come in future volumes.

I am curious, myself, about the shape W's life will take. I know he will participate as a layman at the first church council in that region, but right now he is a precocious pre-christian thirteen-month-old with a forest athlete for a father and an aristocratic urban sorceress for a mother. I think it's time for another cup of N's quality brews.

Oh, this dinner of friends is in the home of a gay couple. When you're writing fantasy fiction, the society can be ever-so-advanced, even in an 8th-century tribal setting.

Sweet dreams, my perspicacious parakeets!

--the BB

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

David@Montreal reminds us that today is Canada Day / Fête du Canada. So here is a shout out to all you Canadians and Canadian expats!

You may read about the True North Strong and Free here.

Click to embiggen

--the BB

Henry Waxman not feeling well

From TPM:
We've received a report that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) was taken this afternoon to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.

We contacted Waxman's office in order to confirm the story. A source in the office confirmed to us that the Congressman wasn't feeling well today, and went to a hospital for what were described as routine checks. Further details were not immediately available, and the source was unable to confirm which hospital Waxman was taken to.
--the BB

He is a huge champion of accountability. I pray that he will be all right. We need him.

--the BB

The Daily Show in Iran

Jason Jones from The Daily Show shares his final episode in Iran. The man is crazy silly. And concludes quite movingly. (OK, then gets silly again.)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil - The Kids Are Allah Right
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

h/t to Hoffmania

Image from Nico Pitney's liveblogging at HuffPo
--the BB


06/30/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Terry J. Lynch, 22, of Shepherd, Mont., died June 29 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment...

06/29/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pvt. Steven T. Drees, 19, of Peshtigo, Wis., died June 28 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained June 24 in Konar Province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire...

06/29/09 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Pfc. Peter K. Cross, 20, of Saginaw, Texas, died June 26 at Combat Outpost Carwile, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Timothy A. David, 28, of Gladwin, Mich., died June 28 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered earlier in Sadr City, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment...

Heart thread - 06/30/2009 - updated

From David@Montreal:
I know it's been a while since you've had one of these from me-
let's just say that Life and the search for livable employment in the current economic situation have kept me rather busy, especially as my own financial resources start to narrow.

But this evening, our Mam spoke with my much loved cousin Frank, who you might remember is still undergoing the course of his gene therapy for lukemia. Close to a month ago Frank was also diagnosed with c-difficile and was isolated at home as the hospital was already overwhelmed with other cases of this. Frank's situation however became serious enough that he was rushed into hospital by ambulance where he's been for some time. The c-difficile's still not beaten, but they've sent him home again, and before he went to bed, he insisted on calling our Mam, to give her news, but also to ask her to pass along his personal thanks to 'all those incredible prayer partners of David's. Tell them, sometimes when it's been going on a little too long, and been a little too much, the thought of them is what's had me draw my next breath.. Tell them thank-you, Auntie Marion. I know it's not enough- just thank-you. But thank-you.'
As you might remember we're also waiting for 'the other shoe to fall-' the inevitable effect of the imperfect 9/10 genetic match, so I'd ask your prayers for Frank, and for Carol his wife who is exhausted and a little raw right now.

I'd also ask prayers again for Crystal, a young woman who has known incredible abuse, illness and suffering in her life, and who is once again hearing voices.

Prayers please for Patrick, a confused & tormented young man in Arkansas, who has made one suicide attempt in the past, who appears to be seriously depressed; and whose Pentacostal Roman Catholic family have turned themselves into an approximation of a closed cult in reaction to the news that Patrick might be gay.

Prayers for the people of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan & Pakistan, and for the work the Holy Spirit is slowly bringing about in Islam.

Prayers fplease for our dear Barbara C, an incredible paliative care nurse, who may have to undergo surgery for a muscular tear in her right knee which currently has her on crutches.

Prayers please the repose of Deenie, who sounds like the time of person I would have loved to have known. Civil rights, womens' rights, LGBT rights; Deenie made all of these her personal issue, and after a very long course of cancer, Deenie passed this week in Boston, Deenie's deep friendship with our incredible Jane spans decades, so I'd ask prayers for Deenie and our Jane.

Prayers please for Sr. Ellie, and for all those unknown others who suffer spiritual and emotional violence within our Church.
Prayers also for their abusers.

And speaking of the America Church, I'd ask your confident prayers of hope for those dear to us who will be heading to Anaheim in less than a week. most particularly our LGBT brothers and sisters who once again muster such generous good will under the care of the Holy Spirit, to once again speak truth to power in our Church. Most especially I'd ask prayers for Gene , Elizabeth, Susan and her Sweetie Pie who has done some incredible video segments on Full Inclusion. They go with my great love and gratitude.
But I'd also ask prayers for our wonderous allies- the likes of Bishop [Bruno] of L.A., Bishop Ely of Vermont, Mark Harris, and for the Great Katherine herself of course.etc.etc.etc.

I don't know if any of our American brothers and sisters are aware of this, but in a strange way this is also our General Convention in the rest of the world- in that as members of the Body of Christ the outcomes of Anaheim will have very real, prophetic & personal repurcussions of countless Anglicans throughout the world, and none more so than our LGBT brothers and sisters of faith.

A certain dear brother, more than once has written to remind me that we are a people of hope, and it is in that hope that I'm asking prayers that those gathered in Anaheim might prove themselve capable of the great grace and truth, the great vision and courage the Holy Spirit is calling us all to embody in these times.

Thank-you - with a deep bow, thank-you.

You have no idea the difference your lives your prayers, practice & friendships make.
Among bishops who are our friends and allies, I should like to add all the bishops of the state of California, especially Marc Andrus, my own bishop of the Diocese of California.

I forgot to add this, which I saw at Mimi's:
Dear Friend’s brother-in-law, Jim (the one with the brain tumor), has been admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in his left leg. Jim was paralyzed on his left side by the intracranial bleeding he suffered a few weeks ago. They are now admitting him to the hospital for a few days and plan to treat him so that the clot does not travel to his lungs. There is a possibility there is already a small clot in his lungs because he does not seem to be oxygenated enough. We will know more tomorrow.

We were able to visit with Jim and his family this past weekend. They are holding up well under a tremendous amount of stress—but they could use some help. I would appreciate the OCICBW community’s prayers for Jim, Ruthie, and their two young sons.


One of my nieces and I just became friends on FB. I was scrolling down her wall and found this:
Would like to ask for prayers for some friends of friends. One month ago we attended a wedding in Las Vegas and in that wedding was the cutest little curly blonde headed 3 year old girl. On Father's day the dad took her camping with him and shot and killed her and himself. Please add the families to your prayer lists. [Story at the Phoenix New Times]

O Christ, our Morning Star, Splendor of Light Eternal, shining with the glory of the rainbow, come and waken us from the grayness of our apathy and renew in us your gift of hope.
—St. Bede the Venerable
This prayer, in the original Latin, takes the form of a three-dimensional carved and gilded wood illumination that hangs behind the tomb of St Bede in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral.

--the BB

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sorry. Words are good but I'm not hearing the right ones.

I read three newspaper articles and one blog post on Obama's queerfest at the White House tonight. (I'm queer; I get to call it that.)

Two of them mentioned the gratuitously nasty brief defending DOMA that was filed by the Obama DOJ, but none of them focused on it.

Obama acknowledged that he cannot ask us to be patient and that he expects to be held accountable for what he does.

But I did not see anything about him saying - "You know, we really blew it on that brief. I am unhappy with the language and reasoning used in it and I have instructed the Department of Justice to redo it without the offensive portions about incest and pedophilia."

That, frankly, is what I am waiting to hear and see happen. With that, I could hang loose with it taking a while to address the other issues.

But for a now a vile insult remains in this Administration's legal work. It stands unchallenged and uncorrected.

And because of that, nothing else he promised means jack shit as far as I am concerned.

Update: graphic from Pam's House Blend added
--the BB

Running over estimate

As the [Southerners] marched forward, however, their combined weight collapsed the tunnels that ran beneath the roads and wayside, falling into chaos and leaving a trench that made for a difficult advance. Beyond the fresh, raw gashes in the earth lay tainted spikes. Progress would be slow and M. swore by half the stars of heaven as he recalculated his journey toward [the capital].

A common piece of wisdom is that any construction or remodeling one plans for one's home will take AT LEAST 50% longer and cost 50% more than originally estimated. War is much, much worse.

Rumsfeld (CBS News, November 15, 2002):
"Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that," he said. "It won't be a World War III."
Edward Yeranian, Cairo, at Voice of America, 29 June 2009:
Iraqi forces officially assumed control of Baghdad and other cites across the country early Tuesday, following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from urban areas. Celebrations in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, include music, dance and poetry.

Remember this (Dana Bash, writing for CNN on January 2, 2003)?:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House is downplaying published reports of an estimated $50 billion to $60 billion price tag for a war with Iraq, saying it is "impossible" to estimate the cost at this time.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday that such a conflict could cost $50 billion to $60 billion -- the price tag of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

But Trent Duffy, an OMB spokesman, said Daniels did not intend to imply in the Times interview that $50 billion to $60 billion was a hard White House estimate.

"He said it could -- could -- be $60 billion," Duffy said. "It is impossible to know what any military campaign would ultimately cost. The only cost estimate we know of in this arena is the Persian Gulf War, and that was a $60 billion event."

Duffy also was careful to caution that President Bush had not made a decision to use military force against Saddam's regime.

I plot my stories and tell my tales strictly within their own context and framework. Exceedingly rare are the moments when I try to work something from now into my fictional world.

It is usually only later, as I look back on a scene or section, that I notice the parallels with "real life." In hindsight, it is easy to see how contemporary events or issues influence my thinking as I write - it's just part of what is floating around in my brain at the time. Sometimes it is more startling - a major theme of my life that is clearly (in retrospect and for those who know me very well) woven into the tale. In those moments it is evident how much writing is a form of self-therapy. I doubt that aspect would come into play without someone who knows me intimately reading the stories and sayin, "You know...."

Sweet dreams, my boisterous bobcats!

--the BB

Heart thread - 06.29.2009

The request earlier....
My granddaughter, Abby (age 23), was at a party last night where she was apparently (unbeknownst to her) given Ecstasy! She wound up in the ER, had no idea how she got there, didn't know where her 2 year old son K.... was, or where her car and personal belongings were. She was released from the ER and after jumping out of my daughter's car, dealing with the police, biting and scratching my daughter and kicking in her windshield, is now at a friend's home asleep.

... is now updated:
Paul, I talked to my daughter tonight. Abby is much better, at home with her son and attempting to "connect the dots" regarding the events of Saturday night. We do believe she did not take these drugs of her own accord. Many thanks for all your prayers. Continued prayers for her and her extended family are most appreciated.
O merciful Father, who has taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the people of your creation: Look with pity upon the sorrows of those who turn to you now and for whom our prayers are offered. Remember Abby, Kameron, Cynde and all in the family O Lord, in mercy, nourish each soul with patience, comfort each one with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon each one, and give all peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--adapted from the BCP by Mother Sandra

--the BB

Monday evening

Write a bit and nap at the desk a bit at the office after hours. This is to let the rush-hour crowd at the gym die down a tiny bit before I get there hoping for an exercise bike.

Go to gym. 25 minutes on the bike at resistance level 7. Pump iron. Sweat a lot. Sit a nice long spell in the sauna. Sweat more. Sit by the pool and cool down. Shower.

Stop at store. Sandwich fixins. Orange juice. Celery (healthy) to spread peanut butter on (protein but, really, lots of oil and added sugar as well). Triscuits (reduced fat but, fiber or no fiber, lots of salt) for eating with brie (hey, I'm a California native). Garlic - no quibbles there. I want to fix pasta tomorrow night. Asiago cheese - ditto. String cheese - quick protein easy to carry.

Well, it beats snacking all day long on the things we all bring in to work (lots of Skittles and tiny Tootsie Rolls of late, serious junk food).

Two ibuprofen on the way home while rehydrating. Still achy in spots.

Tonight may be the first time since getting back in the regimen (after consulting with the physical therapist) that my body has emerged feeling good for the workout. It takes a little while of repeated effort to get there. I am looking forward to almost always emerging with that sense of well being that leads to eager anticipation going to the gym. Still at the "I don't feel like it but I need to do this for my health and happiness" stage.

Discipline was never my strong suit. I can provide testimonials.

Work was nutso with the phones ringing all day long. It was near the end of the day when I could return to ready mode and not get the next call instantly. Hope this quiets down.

I hope you all had a lovely Monday. All of this reads more like facebook trivia that matter to no one but the writer but I hate - as you all well know - limiting myself to 1-3 sentences.

Oh, and happy saint's day to me!

--the BB

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Let the earth bear witness

Images of the Iranian protesters, the Sea of Green, with music sung & played by The Waterboys and words by W.B.Yeats. Edited by Ian Barratt

I snaffled this from Mimi, who snaffled it from OCICBW.

Mimi, being a Southern lady, warned her viewers that there are some graphic images. I am not warning anyone.

--the BB

Party weekend comes to a close

Nothing birthday-related today. I took the vicar's role as MC at Mass this morning as she was feeling under the weather.

This evening Bill and his cousin Chris and I went to the theatre to see:
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
Directed by Hal Simons
by Moises Kaufman

Directed by Hal Simons and featuring Peter Diseth as Wilde, the play uses actual trial transcripts, editorials from the press, and commentary from eminent Victorians of the day, as it deals with Oscar Wilde's three trials regarding his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas.

In 1895 and at the pinnacle of his career, Oscar Wilde faced three trials for gay sexual activity, known as "gross indecency" in British legal terms of the time. The first trial was a libel suit brought against the Marquess of Queensbury by Wilde himself. The second and third were on charges against Wilde, with the second reaching no verdict and the third resulting in a conviction and two year sentence to hard labor. Friday and Saturday at 8, Sunday at 6 - Reservations at or 505-247-8600.
--from the Vortex e-mail
It continues through July 12 and if you are in the Albuquerque area this is certainly an unpaid recommendation of the Vortex Theatre.

Well done and chillingly apt for Stonewall weekend, this play is a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.

We then retired to Il Vicino for pizza and libations.

And so the weekend of carousing has drawn to a close and I am trying to wind down for bed.

--the BB

Pido rezos por Honduras

Will Weissert and Freddy Cuevas, Associate Press (via WaPo):
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Soldiers seized the national palace and flew President Manuel Zelaya into exile Sunday, hours before a disputed constitutional referendum. Congress appointed a successor, but Zelaya, a leftist ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said he was the victim of an illegal coup.

Hours later, Congress voted to accept what it said was Zelaya's letter of resignation and by a show of hands, voted to appoint congressional President Roberto Micheletti as the new chief executive.

But Zelaya said the letter wasn't his and vowed to remain in power.

The Supreme Court said it was supporting the military in what it called a defense of democracy.

The President of the Central American Parliament says they reject the coup and will only recognize the results of ballots.
La presidenta del Parlamento Centroamericano (Parlacen) Gloria Oquelí, dijo desde Managua, Nicaragua que el organismo regional "condena" el golpe de Estado contra el ex presidente Manuel Zelaya, y "no reconocerá" otro mandatario que el electo en las urnas.
I was not tracking events in Honduras so this caught me off guard. I do not know the background of this.

David Morgan at Reuters reports:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration recognizes ousted President Manuel Zelaya as the only constitutional president of Honduras, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

"We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters in a conference call organized by the U.S. State Department.

A second official on the same conference call stressed that the United States strongly backed efforts by the Organization of American States to forge a resolution condemning a coup d'etat ousting Zelaya on Sunday and calling for him to be reinstated.

"This is not a process that should be interfered with bilaterally by any country in the Americas," said the second official.
Pray for the People of Honduras.

--the BB

Heart thread - 06/28/2009 - Updated

It has been a while since I have posted one of these, not that there is a shortage of people and issues to pray for.

This came today from a fellow parishioner:
My granddaughter, Abby (age 23), was at a party last night where she was apparently (unbeknownst to her) given Ecstasy! She wound up in the ER, had no idea how she got there, didn't know where her 2 year old son K.... was, or where her car and personal belongings were. She was released from the ER and after jumping out of my daughter's car, dealing with the police, biting and scratching my daughter and kicking in her windshield, is now at a friend's home asleep.

As you can imagine, my daughter C. is a mess. Abby is sedated, the baby was found with a friend and is now under the care of another granddaughter, J.

I don't even know what to ask for in the area of prayer. I'll leave it up to you.
The same friend had this request in our mission prayer chain:
Here's the latest update about my friend Sandra B.... I'm afraid the prognosis at this time is pretty grim. They've removed a large tumor from her brain (last August) and a tumor from her lung (last October). Now it appears there are more tumors growing in the same location as the original location.
My friend Lolly is having surgery on July 6 so I ask prayers for her and her partner Fitz.

I ask your continued prayers for my sister-in-law Janet and also for her sister-in-law Jeanetta, the luminous lady pictured above (who sometimes visits here) and is battling cancer.

While Jane R is enjoying the beauty and creature comforts of less humid regions right now, she could use prayers for the important things she is working on. It's not just a pleasure trip!

Ongoing prayers for Jane's friend Deenie.
Our mutual friend writes: "So, dear friends, please keep praying for a peaceful passage, and for caring and justice on the part of all around her."
UPDATE from Jane at Facebook: RIP Deenie, friend, intellectual, worker for justice, kind to humans and animals, aunt and godmother to several in the younger generation. Yesterday afternoon, peacefully, at home. [I heard yesterday but wasn't able to post then.] "For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." (Matt. 25:35.) Angels sing her into paradise.
Continuing prayer for Ellie.

Kirstin has had her last injection of interferon, concluding a year's worth of therapy following the removal of the melanoma on her ear. I am in awe of the grace with which she has journeyed through fear, weakness, and obstacles. Her chronicles of this journey "down the rabbit hole" have moved and inspired many of us. So we offer thanksgiving, prayers for her adjustment to life without this drug in her system, and blessings and guidance for wherever her ministry takes her next.

Fran has asked prayers for sundry family challenges and for her sister-in-law's health.

Mimi got this word on Roseann from Sue:
I've just received a message from Roseann stating, she is on her way to the hospital, because blood cultures that were drawn were positive for bacteria. she will get IV antibiotics and she expects that to be done in the ER.
Via OCICBW, Bill, the Spotsyltuckian:
i haven't been posting as much lately since i've been diagnosed with lung cancer. i thought maybe you could put the word out amongst the faithful for prayer. it'd be much appreciated.
Also via OCICBW, Eileen, "the woman Eric Scully shacks up with:"
Unfortunately, it’s also now a month of pain as I 1) had a hysterectomy, 2) lost my mother, 3) and now Eric & I are waiting as his father is dying.
And JCF:
I just saw my friend Cath last week (while visiting California), who's struggling w/ metastasized lung cancer.
For the repose of the soul of the Lovely Mona's Uncle Virgil and for all the Dance Party Family. (Dear Mona, I too have an Uncle Virgil buried in Fresno. Hugs!)

Healing graces for Joel and much love for him and Margaret.

My nephew Jay and my sister Iva in their ongoing struggle with his newly-diagnosed diabetes. The great-grandnieces Olivia and Clara seem to be thriving.

I rejoice that Mad Priest is back on the job (linking us all together at OCICBW IS his job, isn't it?).

As we find ourselves at the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, I want to give thanks to the drag queens and others who fought back and said, "No more! We WILL NOT be treated this way." You, my brave sisters and brothers, paved the way for all of us.

May we all be inspired to stand up for human dignity, equal rights, and the universal claim to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For the People of Iran in these troubling days.

For all who work to end war and build peace.

There are others about whom I have heard no recent word that I still carry in my heart.

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servants for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon them with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort them with a sense of thy goodness; preserve them from the temptations of the enemy; and give them patience under their affliction. In thy good time, restore them to health, and enable them to lead the residue of their life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally they may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us, unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

Partying round two

The backdrop: The Sandias nearing sunset

The festivity - birthday boy far right center

The long-haired lad right foreground is Bob's
elder son and my nephew and godson, Jack

There was a lot of really good wine out last night, as there always is when Dr. Bob is around. I drank water though and stayed sober. I knew I was tired and it is a 40-minute drive home through areas where you cannot speed by even 3 miles and in a state that is very serious about DWI.

Good food, live band, folks from all over.

HB, Bob (welcome to old fartdom)!

--the BB

The undermining of empire

I thought I would share these words by our Canadian friend. He posted them at Facebook.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
--The Baptismal Covenant

--the BB