Saturday, January 02, 2010

A nice start

I assembled half of the newest shelves in the garage, arranged boxes, and swept. Tomorrow afternoon the next half and the south side of the garage will be organized. The north side remains but this much has been waiting since August 2006 to be done.

Tonight I am feeling blissful and heading to bed early.

Good year so far.

--the BB

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Gott Nytt År

As I wrote on Facebook last night:
A blessed 2010 to all - may our anxieties lessen and our courage increase. May you enjoy health, joy, passion, new adventures, old comforts, and keep your sense of wonder.
As my best friend said to me this morning on the phone:
Enjoy the vanda orchids and marching bands; I know how important those are for you.
Such high-level snark so early in the year. I hope Santa takes note.

My most vivid memories of the Rose Parade are from the year I was doing field education at a church in Pasadena. The youth group signed up do decorate a float. This was a way to raise a few hundred dollars back then. I've no idea what the going rate is nowadays. It involves working in around-the-clock shifts gluing flower parts onto the float. We had various lavender shades on our float which meant small orchids separated into petals of different colors. Not everything gets done in time for the parade so you make sure the side that faces the judges and the cameras gets done and the other side might have unflowered sections. It is exhausting and crazy. But then comes getting your chairs down on Colorado Boulevard and guarding them all night long. Cars drive by at the speed of molasses in, well, December/January and you inhale exhaust all night long. People are drinking, of course, and I had to deal with a teenager who had gotten hold of alcohol, vomiting in an alleyway.

If someone else has the Rose Parade on TV, I will glance at it. But - how to put this? - the glamor is gone.

I had a quiet evening at home, though I did actually stay up past midnight (not my usual preference). I ate pork and roasted potatoes and See's molasses chips and some of the cookies off the tree. My festive beverage was my usual Diet Pepsi. I watched Angels and Demons. This works so much better for me than going out past midnight, being with crowds, and driving home again amid the drunks on the road. I am ready for 2010.

Have not had a lot to say of late. I note that Satan's hero, Dick the Dick, emerged from his swamp to lie and distort, denying the danger in which he and his boy-king repeatedly put this nation and the mess they have created for us and the world. My wishes in his direction are unprintable.

Currently holding the United States Senate in utter contempt but why rail on endlessly about the same old stuff?

I've been battling bureaucracy in other areas, life has been overly busy (but I see light at the end of one tunnel at least). I am having lunch with friends later today and am getting to know some new folks. Who knows what lies ahead this year? For that I return to my wish for us all at the beginning.

--the BB

Monday, December 28, 2009

More on Iran

Juan Cole has updates on the rekindled situation in Iran, offering (as usual) some perspective for westerners.
The chanting on Sunday turned against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself, not just against President Ahmadinejad. He was castigated as the Dictator and as worse than the old shah, and the very ideological basis of the regime, the doctrine of clerical rule, was chanted against in the streets. The legitimacy of the regime, profoundly shaken by the events since early June's presidential election, is now being shredded further.
--the BB

Heart thread - 12/28/2009 - updated

For Katherine's health and for all who love her.

For Mark's recuperation and deep comfort for his soul.

For Jack facing surgery next month.

For the people of Iran.


For Klady's son who had surgery on his hand today that healing and recovery may be swift.

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

[Yes, I know it's transferred to tomorrow but it's on my heart today.]

--the BB

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mousavi's Nephew Martyred

Fletcher Christensen explains why this is a big deal:
- First of all, the most obvious point to most Western readers: Ali Mousavi is the nephew of one of the principal figures in the Green movement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Mousavi is the man who lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what was widely (and internationally) seen as a clear case of election fraud.

- More important, I suspect, is the fact that Ali Mousavi was Seyyed, an acknowledged male descendent of the Prophet. Remember that Iran is an overwhelmingly Shi'a country, and home to over 1/3 of the Shi'a Muslims in the world. The Shi'a tradition attaches special importance to the family of the Prophet. (There's much more I could say on this topic, but my knowlegde is rather limited beyond this point, so I'll simply encourage anyone interested to do their own research on the Seyyed online.

- Lastly, this killing occurred on the Iranian national holiday of Ashoura - a day set aside to celebrate the martyrdom of the son of the first Shi'a Imam, a man who was Seyyed himself. I hesitate to say too much about this - I recommend that you visit the two links above to get a better idea of what this holiday means. The short of it, however, is that the martyrdom of Seyyed Ali Mousavi, coming on today of all days, will inevitably evoke deep and abiding comparison to the martyrdom for which the day is commemorated. Both men were killed standing up against what they saw as an unjust regime.

CatM, discussing why cable has so little coverage of Iran right now, notes the following:
Meanwhile, Iran may be on the verge of a revolution, and the ripple effect from a regime change in Iran would be huge. It could lead to further destablilization in the Middle East, with war spreading outside its borders; or it could lead to a positive turn in relations between the US and Iran or even Israel and Iran. That just might be something worth canceling one's vacation for, and it is far more interesting than what Sarah Palin said on Facebook the other day.

From Iran, Sullivan has reports of police refusing to fire on protesters as ordered; protesters are no longer cowering from the Baseej but instead the Bassej are cowering from protesters. Protests have gone from peaceful to increasingly violent, with attacks against the Baseej and security forces, including setting fire to Baseej buildings and possibly obtaining arms. As the Daily Dish points out, it was gaining access to munitions that contributed to the success of the 1979 Iranian revolutionaries.

More than 10 protesters have been killed in the streets in the past 24 hours, including Mousavi's nephew. Protesters have spread beyond Tehran, with hundreds of thousands apparently taking to the streets.
Juan Cole adds:
For the regime to create a member of the Mousavi family as a martyr on Ashura was most unwise. Shiite Islam even more than traditional Catholicism thrives on the blood of martyrs.

Junior or middle-ranking Ayatollahs favorable to the ideas of Montazeri show up in a number of these reports about protests in provincial cities, suggesting a generational split in the clerical corps and trouble for Khamenei ahead.

Iran's political crisis is far from over, even though the opposition has little hope of coming to power as long as the security forces remain firmly behind Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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