Saturday, January 16, 2010


DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. David A. Croft Jr., 22, of Plant City, Fla., died Jan. 5 in Baghdad, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Rest in peace and rise in glory.

--the BB


01/16/10 DoD:
Army Identifies Casualty (1 of 2)
Staff Sgt. Daniel D. Merriweather, 25, of Collierville Tenn....died Jan. 13 at Combat Outpost McClain, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. The soldiers were assigned to the 118th Military Police Company (Airborne), 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne), 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne...

01/16/10 DoD:
Army Identifies Casualty (1 of 2)
Pfc. Geoffrey A. Whitsitt, 21, of Taylors, S.C...died Jan. 13 at Combat Outpost McClain, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. The soldiers were assigned to the 118th Military Police Company (Airborne), 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne), 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

01/15/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Sgt. Christopher R. Hrbek, 25, of Westwood, N.J., died Jan. 14 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

01/15/10 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. Kyle J. Wright, 22, of Romeoville, Ill., died Jan. 13 at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered earlier that day when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

01/15/10 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Sgt. Lucas T. Beachnaw, 23, of Lowell, Mich., died Jan. 13 in Darya Ya, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Camp Ederle, Italy.

01/15/10 DoD:
Army Releases December Suicide Data
During December 2009, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were six potential suicides. For the year 2009, among that same group, there were 78 total suicides. Of those, 49 were confirmed as suicides and 29 are pending determination of the manner of death.

Rest eternal, grant them, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon them.

--the BB

Friday, January 15, 2010

Closing one trip to begin another

Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo, Russia

I meant to do this last year and am finally doing it this year. Christmas present (yes, belated, of course) to BFF is an album of photos from our trip to Saint Petersburg in November 2004. I have printed 64 photos so far and probably have an equal number to go.

It is fun to revisit the trip, our second there. I hope there will be one more this side of glory.

This entails going through all the photos, taking advantage of the fact that one can adjust exposure and contrast (and occasionally saturation) to turn a so-so photo into one that is quite acceptable. Copying them into a folder to be printed. Moving them to the "printed" folder when they have been. Then trimming them with a paper cutter and putting them into the album in some kind of order.

A nice project for a long weekend. (Along with making my trademark spaghetti sauce tomorrow and having friends over for dinner, then preaching on Sunday.)

This is a form of closure on that trip. Today I submitted the passport application to go on the next one which is less than a month away. (Yes, cutting it way too close; let's not get into that story tonight.)

I am wondering how many photos I will take this time around. I think the first trip to Russia had about 185 photos and the second trip, of equal length, had about 370.

Alexandrinsky Theatre, Ostrovsky Square, St Petersburg

Russian birches

--the BB

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Heart thread - 01/14/2009 - updated

There is much on our hearts this evening. Let us pray.

For the people of Haiti, those who love them, those who hasten to their aid. For the dead and the dying, the injured, the homeless, the lost, the hungry. For food, water, medicine, communications, shelter, and human dignity. For enduring hope.

For George Wren, primary liaison between the agency I work through and the agency we work for, recuperating from triple bypass surgery today. From what we heard late in the afternoon it went well.
Update (1/15):
George is progressing very well. He’s eating (broth and jello), he’s sitting up
(about 3 times today), and mostly resting. He’s in pain, of course, but he also
has his sense of humor. He’s been told he’ll need to change his eating habits.
He told Beverly that he’d eat salad for the rest of his life to avoid going
through this again! As long as he can play golf, he’ll be happy!

For Don Brown, the husband of Deacon Ginny Brown, who passed away at his home surrounded by family. (submitted by Susankay)

For writers of theological tomes and other things (you know who you are).

For Pat Robertson (the avaricious, manipulative, unspeakably vile asshat) that he may turn from stupid twaddlemongering and a career of false prophecy to God's light that his twisted soul may be saved.

For the people of Uganda that they may be delivered from demagogues. For us in the States that we too may be delivered from demagogues. For the LGBT folk of Uganda that they may be delivered from oppression.

For Father Kenny's dad, for Ɯbermilf and all who struggle with the world's sadness and their own, for Scout and Diane.

For Mark that Christ the Healer may touch him and the holy angels defend him.

For Myron, and Chris, and Frank, and Jim, and another Jim, and Ellie, and Ralph, and Steve.

For the upcoming episcopal elections in Alaska, Wyoming, and the Rio Grande. For our Standing Committee. For Fr. Tony taking on responsibility for Our Saviour. For all missions and church plants.

For my nephew, Glen Paul (we are both named for my father), whose 52nd birthday is today. Yes, that is not a recent photo.

For Lindy having her grand adventure in China that she may know she is loved and connected with us all, distance notwithstanding.

For John Bear entering a clinical trial and for Raven, his partner.

For Fr. Herb Robbins, the retired Rector of Artesia, who has been dealing with bladder cancer and is having another surgical procedure on Monday, January 18.

For Father Raymond Raney. He is scheduled to have surgery in the coming week and then will spend an additional week or so at home recovering.

For Mother Sandra's continuing recovery.

For deep, uninterrupted, restorative sleep for Margaret.

For Chuck and Gary and any and all others getting over colds or other crud.

Now that certified copies (yes, plural so the only one does not get misplaced) of my birth certificate have FINALLY arrived from the sad state of California (it only took MONTHS), I can apply tomorrow for a passport. This means I should be able to go on the trip scheduled for 3.5 weeks from now. Yeah, cutting it close. We DID take out insurance in case we needed to cancel for any reason and fully expected to cancel it next week. I guess it's time to start playing the Turkish CDs again. Fearing / assuming this trip might not take place on schedule, we have not been preparing as we ought. In the light of everything above, mentioning this seems petty, but God is God of great and small, so a few prayers for my passport, final preparations, and the trip would also be appreciated.

--the BB

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lawrence O'donnell sets the record straight

We really must not let the historical revisionists deny history. We may draw all manner of conclusions but we must begin with reality. Rudy Giuliani and Dana Perino and a long list of others are consistently pushing a, well, falsehood.

h/t to Ellie

--the BB

Le peuple d'Haiti a besoin de nous - Updated for donations

As Digby reports:
UN Dispatch has twitter feeds and other social networking links following the story. Hotels are reportedly collapsed, hospitals are destroyed and god only knows what has happened to the make-shift dwellings that house so many residents. It just couldn't happen to a poorer, less fortunate place.
Simon Romero and Mark Lacey report at the NYT:
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A fierce earthquake struck Haiti late Tuesday afternoon, causing a crowded hospital to collapse, leveling countless shantytown dwellings and bringing even more suffering to a nation that was already the hemisphere’s poorest and most disaster-prone.

The earthquake, the worst in the region in more than 200 years, left the country in a shambles. As night fell in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, fires burned near the shoreline downtown, but otherwise the city fell into darkness. The electricity was out, telephones were not working and relief workers struggled to make their way through streets blocked by rubble.

In the chaos, it was not possible for officials to determine how many people had been killed and injured, but they warned that the casualties could be substantial.
Episcopal Relief and Development is collecting donations for relief. You may donate here.

Dallasdoc has a post up at Daily Kos with links to lots of ways we can help the people of Haiti following the Richter 7.0 quake just outside Port-au-Prince.

Compassionate Savior, behold your stricken children in Haiti, strengthen those who bend their efforts to rescue the trapped, heal the injured, comfort the dying, and console the sorrowful. Guide those who channel aid and assistance that they may do so efficiently and effectively. Speed and sustain all efforts to bring relief. May your holy angels guide, guard, and defend the defenseless. All this we ask for your tender mercy's sake. Amen.

O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servants for whom our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

Monday, January 11, 2010

Primal stuff

Saturday I bought a work bench for my garage. Tonight, on the way home, I bought a new tool box (pictured above).

I am not a handyman, though I have visions of artistic creativity that involve sundry tools. I was never a mechanic. But there is something primal going on here, and irrational, and I am happy to own that. My father and grandfather were craftsmen. My dad built houses and mountain cabins, worked on cars, repaired radios and television sets, etc.

So am I going to be doing home repairs? *snort* Hardly. But the tools now scattered about the house and garage will soon be able to assemble in one place. There will be something comforting about that. When I am looking for something it will be far more likely to be found. It is akin to eating comfort food.

+Clumber would probably have something clever to say about the odd behaviors of bipeds. Point well taken in advance, old dog.

Sweet dreams.

--the BB

Heart thread - 01/11/2010

From Susankay:
Regarding earlier prayer for my Deacon, Ginnie, and her husband, Don, who was dealing with lymphoma spread to his lungs: Don has returned from the hospital to hospice at home. Bring strength and healing to him and Ginnie as they say goodbye for now.
I am reading of lots of funerals these days, of friends attending or officiating. For those who mourn and those who are beginning to reweave the unraveled threads of their lives.

For Father Tony and the infant community in the South Valley.

For Mark.

For those who struggle with even the simplest things in life.

For young families.

For the forgotten.

For the grace of Alice Higgins who always said, "I have a lot to be thankful for."

For those who toil and struggle for the sake of justice for all, health for all, safety for all, shelter for all, food for all, clothing for all, education for all, hope for all.

For those who pray for us when we cannot pray and those who hold us when we weep.

For those who prepare honest, healthy food for others to eat.

For those who till the soil and fish the oceans.

For those who remind us to see and hear and be touched by beauty.

--the BB