Céad Míle Fáilte ~ A Hundred Thousand Welcomes!

Here we seek a rest in the shade, some cool water and a little kindness. This blog is dedicated to peace, truth, justice and a post- industrial, post-petroleum illumined world in spite of all odds against it. I very much like the line about the ancient knight (see poem below) "His helmet now shall make a hive for bees" It is reminiscent of "beating swords into ploughshares" a sentiment I heartily approve of. Thank you for visiting ~ I hope you return!

Waterfall Animation Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Katrina: Three Years On ~ John's Story

I was sobered by reading a minute ago that New Orleans will be evacuated tomorrow because Hurricane Gustav is threatening to hit land as a Category 5 hurricane. I feel so bad for the folks down there in harm's way. God bless and protect them.

In honor of the brave souls, citizens mostly, and volunteers, who helped the victims of Katrina I am posting the most fascinating and sobering account which I read from that time, at least I am posting an excerpt from it and you can click on over and read the rest yourself. It is a long read but well, well worth it. From the Lone Star MVPA, I give you John's account of Katrina.

QUOTE Background: My name is John and I live in Central Texas. I have served in three different military components totaling 25 years of service and I am recording this story for posterity. All opinions are the author's and if you disagree with them, that's really too bad.
Katrina Day 1: Monday, 29 August 2005 Watching the news today was horrific. Hurricane Katrina has devastated an area larger than the United Kingdom. When I heard that Biloxi was savaged, I immediately thought about my best friend Tracy. Tracy was a Master Sergeant with me in the US Air Force and we were stationed together for several years. Friendships formed in the military are far stronger than anything a civilian can experience. They usually last until the grave. I won't go into the psychology of it, it is just so. You usually bond to one particular individual, and Tracy was it. He was my Best Buddy, and that is spelt with two capital B's. I know this man well enough to know that he was not going to evacuate, he would tough it out. Now I was worried sick about Tracy and his family. I tried calling him for several hours but gave up realizing that communication would be non-existent.
Katrina Day 2: Tuesday, 30 August 2005 Spent several more hours trying to contact Tracy, to no avail. It just was not going to happen. The body count is increasing. The question now is: what can I do?
I am sitting at home in air-conditioned comfort, watching a disaster of biblical proportions unfold on the idiot box in the corner. I am a man of action, not talk - always have been and always will be. What action could I take? How could I personally make a difference to what was going on? Even inaction is a form of action, but it has never been my choice. Now the news is telling me that getting food and water to the survivors is the number one priority. I rarely agree with television talking heads, mainly because they are so liberal and also so ignorant about the world around them. I had to concede that, for once, they were right.
What do I do? A plan. A plan is a good thing and helps you anticipate difficulties before they become disasters. I would need transport. I personally own an ex-army vehicle called an M35A2, better known as a deuce and a half. It is 30 years old, has ten driven wheels and is still camouflaged in its original paint scheme. All 3 axles are driven and it is one of the best all-wheel drive off road vehicles in existence. It also has a large cargo bed, with a 5 ton load carrying capacity. Perfect for getting large quantities of food and water into remote areas with difficult terrain.
I also realized that there would be many roadblocks manned by civilian law enforcement and by military personnel. How would I get past them? Would they think of me as a fruitcake? Would they turn me back? Would they think I was selling water for ten bucks a bottle? Would they shoot me?
I dusted off my old camouflage uniform. A bit tight around the middle, but acceptable. This should get me through roadblocks. My next fear was that the news was reporting widespread looting and general mayhem. I did not want my truck, food or water hijacked, so what to do? I loaded my .45 caliber H&K semi-automatic pistol, some extra magazines of ammunition, and buckled on a shoulder holster in plain sight. I did not plan on shooting people. I planned on staying alive. I am a firm believer in the old adage that it is better to be judged by twelve people than to be carried by six.
The next several hours were taken up by servicing the truck. You do not just jump in a 30 year old truck and high tail it a couple of thousand miles, you'll never get there. I had to add several gallons of oil to the various places that were going to leak and burn. I had to load up all of the tools necessary to make roadside repairs, the manual tire changing gear alone weighs a couple of hundred pounds. A good friend, who will remain unnamed, helped me work through the night servicing and tweaking the truck. We loaded my survival supplies, sleeping bag, cot and a hundred other things that make living in the back of a truck a little less painful.
Katrina Day 3: Wednesday, 31 August 2005 Still servicing and loading the truck at 3 a.m. and now realizing that availability of fuel would be difficult or non-existent in a disaster area, we rustled up 20 five-gallon jugs. Off we went to the all night gas station to fill up. All told, it took an hour and $300 to fill everything. My friend shook my hand and wished me luck. He wanted badly to come with me, but his line of work is saving lives and he knew that he would be sent in an official capacity soon enough. Departing now would be madness, I hadn't slept in 24 hours and I had a grueling trip ahead of me. It's 100 degrees in Texas in August and a deuce has no air conditioning. There is no insulation between the motor and the driver so the inside cab temperature stays around 140 degrees. The metal surfaces can exceed 200 degrees and I have melted more than one pair of shoes driving in the summer.
I went home and sent an e-mail to my friends on the military vehicle mailing list telling them what I planned and asking for tips and advice on what I was attempting to accomplish. At 9 a.m. after four hours of deep sleep my girlfriend gave me a wake up call. It was time to load food and water. Our local grocery mega-store had enough water to fill up a pallet. When I explained to the manager what I was doing, he said that he was willing to empty the shelves of canned food, but it was not even a quarter of a pallet and most of it required can openers. I asked him if he could give me a break on the price of the water, the worst thing he could do was say no. He said no.
I have a pretty high limit on my credit card, so $250 wasn't going to kill me. The next stop was Sam's club which is another mega store which can sell food by the pallet. Unfortunately, this store requires a membership card and does not accept credit cards for payment. My girlfriend's parents, bless their hearts, wrote a check for a pallet of chunky soup with pop-top openings. Her father even offered to pay half of the thousand dollars that the soup cost.
At noon I departed Central Texas, heading for Biloxi, Mississippi. Due to hurricane damage, I thought the southern route along Interstate 10 may be closed, so I headed North to meet Interstate 20 in Shreveport, Louisiana. I got into Shreveport just after dark and needed fuel. Right away I noticed panic at the gas stations. Lines of cars for blocks and fuel gouging. I thought to myself "what the hell was going on"? This was hundreds of miles from the hurricane.

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Iraq Veterans Against the War

You need to see this video. This is what a police state looks like, decorated veterans being subjected to this.

Liberty, Peace and Freedom

What has that Ron Paul been up to? Promoting his Campaign for Liberty. Gearing up for the alternative convention, Rally For the Republic, since he was shut out of the Republican one. The mission of the Campaign for Liberty ~ formerly the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign ~ is to promote and defend the time-honored American principles of individual liberty, civil rights, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a non interventionist foreign policy (meaning peace in Iraq), by means of diplomatic, educational and political activity. I was floored by his courage last spring, and worked on Dr. Paul's Presidential campaign, personally starting the local Ron Paul meetup (which after half a year or so I handed off to Dr. Laura Ebke, current Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus in Nebraska, a group of "Ron Paul" Repubs) canvassing, sign waving, even going so far as going to the county Republican convention (!!) and braving the hordes of alcohol-saturated suited helmet-haired neocons to vote for the RP delegates.

Laura will be doing some blogging from the Campaign For Liberty and the Republican National Convention and I'll link to her posts in the coming week.

Reaching all the way back to one of the heroes of my youth, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who set a pattern and protoype for Paul, Kucinich and other peace loving iconoclasts of today.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Iraq Veterans Against the War

photo credit: Jon Orlando

10,000 people, led by U.S. Veterans, marched against the war Wednesday and the media couldn't leave the convention to cover it? Oy veh. From Iraq Veterans Against the War.

QUOTE IVAW members in Denver on Wednesday where they led a march of ten thousand to the Democratic National Convention to deliver a message to Barack Obama calling on the Democratic nominee to endorse the three main goals of IVAW: Immediate withdrawal, full veterans benefits, and reparations for the Iraqi people.
Following a packed show at the Denver Coliseum where Rage Against the Machine and the Flobots encouraged the crowd to join IVAW's march, two squads of 25 IVAW members each formed up outside the venue and began marching to the Pepsi center. The squads were led by members in dress uniforms and combat uniforms, with thousands of supporters marching behind them in support.
When they arrived at the DNC, representatives of IVAW asked to meet with Barack Obama to present their message. After negotiations with the
Former Texas Lt Governor Ben Barnes came out of the convention to accept a letter from the IVAW members. Jeff Key, a former Marine said the IVAW members intended to stay in place until a representative from Obama's campaign came out to talk with them.
"I'm a patient man. I'm not going anywhere,'' Key said.
Key, a former Marine from Salt Lake City, and Liam Madden, a former marine from Boston, were then escorted into the convention where they met with Phil Carter, head of veterans affairs for the Obama campaign. IVAW is now waiting for a formal response to their request address the delegates from the podium.
Lt. Vince Porter of the Denver Police Department said the department coordinated the meeting with the secret service and Obama’s office.
“The police in Denver have been exceptional and very, very supportive,” Key said. “This cannot be an easy job for them either, and they’ve just been incredible.”

Sarah Palin, Alaskan Hockey Mom, For VP!

You go, girl.

I'm still very unlikely to vote for either major party candidate, but the libertarian-leaning Alaskan is more palatable than either of the corporate party offerings. Plus it is mega-cool that either way, we will have an African American President or a female Vice President! Woot!!!

QUOTE "The women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all." UNQUOTE Gov. Sarah Palin

A Tribute to The Irish

Hat tip to Credo at Catholic Perspective.

Galway Bay...

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Bubba's Gunrack Bar & Grill on the DNC

From the hinterlands of the American landscape come Jackie and Dunlap.
NOTE: slightly off-color alert- Red State Update is a bit blue :P

Twin Cities Police Get a Head Start on Ignoring Citizen's Rights

It seems I'm not the only one eschewing politics-as-usual in favor of sanity and noticing the enthusiastic application of the local gendarmerie to ridiculously small matters. From Eric Parks over at Red State Eclectic.

QUOTE Well, the Democratic Convention is over and I'm proud to say I watched none of it. I just don't have the stomach for it and that goes for the upcoming Republican Convention as well. It' bad enough I have to pay for a private party of thieves to get together and schmooze with each other.
It seems that the police in the Twin Cities wanted to get a head start on ignoring the rights of others:
August 26, 2008: Cameras, camcorders, cell phones, computer, notebooks – even clothes and a sleeping bag – were confiscated by Minneapolis police in the name of Homeland Security Monday night, according to a trio of young artist-journalists in town to report on the RNC.
... “We kept saying we do not consent to any search,” Brathwaite said, but the officers searched their belongings anyway. The three young people were questioned separately, photographed, and released, but police refused to return their belongings. They even took the backpack and sleeping bag that held all of Brathwaite’s clothing and personal belongings for the week ahead.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Protesters denied access to attorneys, forced to march in leg shackles

What the blue blazes is going on around here? God bless the ACLU ~ without them these people have no protection.

From The Raw Story, be sure and click on over and read it all.

QUOTE The ACLU issued a stinging rebuke to the Denver Police Department Wednesday, alleging that the department may have violated laws and constitutional rights of protesters arrested outside the Democratic National Convention. In the letter, obtained by RAW STORY, the ACLU revealed that the police refused those arrested access to attorneys. Police did not let detainees use phones unless they posted their own bonds, and even failed to provide shoes, in one case marching a protester into court in bare feet and leg shackles, according the ACLU. What's more, police are said to have tricked protesters into pleading guilty, by giving them the impression they had to plead guilty in order to post bond. This meant that no one was allowed to make a phone call unless they plead guilty, thus making it impossible for arrestees to even call a lawyer until admitting guilt. Most ominously, the ACLU letter claims that protesters were told they would be "facing 'years' in jail for a conviction of a single particular charge."" In fact, all the charges were municipal court violations that do not carry such penalties," the ACLU added in a footnote. UNQUOTE

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Gitmo On the Platte

FYI From CBS Denver, CO

Denver officials weren't planning to reveal details about where activists would be detained in the event of mass arrests during the Democratic National Convention until after the event had started, but those plans were quickly dashed last week when CBS 4News reporter Rick Sallinger not only revealed that protesters would be locked up in a city-owned warehouse, but he also obtained clear video footage inside the facility, a building that includes barbed wire-topped cages and signs warning of stun-gun use.

I reiterate, what on earth is going on here? What country is this, anyway?


A Tribute to Italian Americans

Sweet video. It reminded me of my childhood friends, the Giaglio family.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Is Going On In This Country?

Banksy's Flower Chucker
From DOD exercises in Portland this week involving live fire and risky low altitude helicopter flights downtown to "protest areas" far removed from the DNC where the media is removed from the extremely repressive police actions ~ another story here ~ WHAT is going on around here? It certainly looks to me as though the poice are wishing to riot, perhaps the anti-war/anti-corporate protesters should just drop to their knees and pray, or to a half-lotus & meditate, for the Eastern inclined; or just smile and shine on, like crazy diamonds ~ and LET the police riot.

Seems as though Kucinich and Ron Paul would've been vastly superior choices for Dem and Repub nominations ~ at least the country would've been safe under their leadership.

Catholics, to your rosaries. Prots, to your Bibles. Jews, Buddhists and what not, to your own light-bringing ceremonies. This darkness must be dispelled. (Atheists, to your reasoning!)


Chip, the Cutie Patootie

And from the cuteness-overload department of The Rosemary Tree comes
Chip, the Olympic chipmunk.
Awwwwwww....he is soooo cute!

QUOTE What to do with a chipmunk on a 15 mile hike? Especially a chipmunk that, now warmed up, is hungry and trying to nurse.
I smashed up some nuts and dried fruit from my trail mix, mixed it with water, and fed it to the eager baby with a syringe from my first aid kit.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preach It, Brother Dennis!

Whatever you think of Ron Paul's leftie buddy Dennis Kucinich, this will get you moving, for it is nearly impossible to argue with most of what he's saying. Wake up, America, indeed.

The DNC According to Dave Barry

Har de har har. For those who like their beloved hot-air liberals liberally lampooned, a chuckle or two. I have to admit that I do find myself quelling stray thoughts that Hil and Bill will still kill Big O's nomination, through subterfuge, tricky-dicking or swarms of ninjas.

QUOTE Sen. Clinton is scheduled to address the convention Tuesday night, when she will either call on her supporters to unite behind Obama, or attempt to snatch the nomination and escape with it by helicopter to a secret mountain fortress. ''We are fully confident that Sen. Clinton will do the right thing,'' stated a Democratic party official, adding, ``but we have a net.''

The Obama-Clinton tension is only one of the dramatic storylines developing in Denver. Another one is Obama's choice of running mate. Following days of feverish media speculation over a list of names that at one point included the late Hubert Humphrey and a probably fictional congressperson named ''Chet Edwards,'' Obama, in a bold move, went with the one name guaranteed to send an electric shock of electricity through the spinal cord of American politics: Joe Biden.

This choice not only virtually locks up Delaware's electoral vote (which it shares with Wyoming) but it also buttresses the Obama team with one of the Senate's most vocal voices. Sen. Biden is scheduled to address the convention Wednesday night from 8:48 p.m. until dawn. UNQUOTE

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Pancho and Lefty

And now for something completely different...one of my very favorite songs. Since I was a kid I have loved Pancho and Lefty, perhaps one of the best songs of a generation. The composer, Townes Van Zant does it the best, but I also like Willie & Merle's version. I first heard EmmyLou Harris sing it back in the 70's, and still will crank the volume way up & sing along whenever it comes on the radio.

Enjoy, all you Pancho's and Lefties out there, and for that matter, all you Willies, Merles and EmmyLou's... I don't think they write'em like this any more.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's version

Townes Van Zant

EmmyLou's version


Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Am the Light of the World

Christ Our Lord, this night bless all pilgrims, sinners, wayfarers, those who love us, those who hate us and all that is. Light our path to do what is of the Light.

"O God, thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small."

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America's Moral Authority

There was a time not too long ago (WWII and Revolutionary War eras especially) when America spoke with a sense of moral authority – not only because the world believed the rhetoric and the script, but because Americans did. Thus, America received the benefit of the doubt – even when self-interest was evidently mixed with a just cause. However, has America lost legitimacy? If so, then how did this happen and does it even matter?
Does political power really need legitimacy? If so, then can the situation be reversed?
And in any case, why should we care? The Bush administration's shredding of The Magna Carta and The Constitution draws what response from you, gentle reader? Numbness? Fear? Revulsion? Apathy?

Take a gander at Taki Mag's Authority Issues: Is There Sovereignty Beyond the State? by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and relish a decent treatment of this, the "forbidden subject".

QUOTE We need government to uphold the norms of morality, I am told by people who specialize in the unintentionally funny. If the moral condition of society has reached a level at which we would look for relief to the kind of men who can succeed in a political system like ours, then the patient is terminal. On the other hand, had the churches not turned their attention these past 45 years to lettuce boycotts and excited pronouncements about the wondrous prospects of the modern world, they might have done more to arrest the moral decline for which we are now told we need the state. UNQUOTE

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Saturday, August 23, 2008


Summertime is nearly gone ~ that's why we drink the beer!
Autumn is a'coming in ~ that's why we drink our beer!
Winter is so cold and dark ~ please please dear, pass the beer!
Springtime is so sweet and clean ~ it makes us long for

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On Obama's Pick for VP: Joe Biden

Barack picked a "sort-of-Catholic" to run with him, likely in hopes he will bring some Catholic voters along with him. If Biden was abidin' by what he said on Meet The Press back in 2007, we would have nothing to worry about.

Q: You have changed your position on abortion. When you came to the Senate, you believed that Roe v. Wade was not correctly decided and that you also believed the right of abortion was not secured by the Constitution. Why did you change your mind? A: Well, I was 29 years old when I came to the US Senate, and I have learned a lot. Look, I’m a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility.Q: Do you believe that life begins at conception? A: I am prepared to accept my church’s view. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith. That’s why the late-term abortion ban, where there’s clearly viability.
Source: Meet the Press: 2007 "Meet the Candidates" series Apr 29, 2007

But apparently even though he believes life begins at conception, he is willing to allow it to be snuffed out, terminated, whacked, aborted or whatever one wishes to call it. This is legalized murder, along the lines of the death penalty and wars involving innocents, kids and civilians. Meaning well may count for something but you know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions...

Please join me in praying for the world's leaders that they awaken to the higher laws which sooner or later they will bump up against.

Link to Towards A Comprehensive Pro-Life Meme by me, found over at Red State Eclectic

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Saturday Butterflies

Catching up on some long overdue watering out in the back yard this morning in nearly perfect late summer weather, I was, over an hour or so of diligent watering tree, shrubs, flowers & the veggies & herbs, treated to a wafting gentle display of no less than 8 different types of lovely butterflies and bugs. I even saw a couple I am not even sure what they are! Let's see, I saw a tiger swallowtail, a monarch, a blue tiny one, a grey lacy one with indigo and cornflower on its inner winds, a teensy yellow one, a mostly white one, a huge dragonfly and one that surely was a fairy! Maybe a maidenfly? It was camped out on the okra and when it flew it looked like Tinkerbell. It was enormous, for a bug, but slender and very fairy-like.

The state of mind that comes with watering thirsty plants and sporadically tossing the ball for the dog is one most near to Heaven in my mind. The Garden of Eden is not the ballpark of Eden, skyscraper of Eden or the mass transit of Eden for a reason, as Francis and Fiacre remind us. After the Fall? Yes, most definitely: I was stung by an angry wasp as I watered to close to a wasp-hole I did not realize was even there - and our meowing, complaining cat, a solitary hermit who has unwillingly renounced her freedom to prowl the outside due to a plethora of teenage drives in our neighborhood (we live near a public high school) - no lack of reminders that we are post-Fall. But heavenly nonetheless. Grace-given time for which I am grateful to God.

How about all the troublemakers, criminals, politicians and warmongers hie themselves hence to a lovely garden, and there water, plant, weed and harvest until some of God's grace settles 'em down? I'm for it.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

A Busy Day With Sinatra, Nietzsche and Kant

I'm cleaning the house and running errands on this, my day off, and won't get down to real blogging until later today. Until then, peace, out...

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21: Our Lady of Knock

The Story of Our Lady of Knock began on the 21st August 1879 when Our Blessed Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church (County Mayo, Eire - aka Ireland). The apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old. From this miraculous occurrence Knock has grown to the status of an internationally recognised Marian Shrine. The personal pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II in 1979, commemorating the centenary of the apparition, inspired an even greater devotion to the Shrine and endorsed the indelible seal of Vatican approval. Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited the Shrine in June of 1993. One and a half million pilgrims visit the Shrine annually.

PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF KNOCK, IRELAND - Eleventh Century Irish Litany of Mary

Great Mary, Greatest of Marys, Greatest of Women, Mother of Eternal Glory,

Mother of the Golden Light, Honor of the Sky, Temple of the Divinity,

Fountain of the Gardens, Serence as the Moon,

Bright as the Sun, Garden Enclosed, Temple of the Living God,

Light of Nazareth, Beauty of the World,

Queen of Life, Ladder of Heaven, Mother of God.

Pray for us.

Sé do bheath' a Mhuire, atá lán de ghrásta, tá an Tiarna leat. Is beannaithe thú idir mná agus is beannaithe toradh do bhruinne losa. A Naomh Mhuire, a mháthair Dé, guí orainn na peacaithe, anois is ar uair ar mbás. Amen.

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Cognitive Disconnect: Rice On Military Might in the 21st Century

" Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used whenever it wishes to deliver a message and that's its military power. That's not the way to deal in the 21st century. " - Condoleeza Rice

As the playground taunt goes, it takes one to know one. Historically stable empires, as opposed to developing ones, have usually been fairly careful with force -- if only because their most dangerous source of regime change came from their armies. That's the big problem with America's current course -- the "successful" bit. Constant and endless war, torture winked at as policy and hypocrisy in our leaders can and will bankrupt us, fiat currency and Dick Cheney notwithstanding. It also makes a mockery of our history and principles and burns our flag more definately than a 17 year old anarchist.

We are feeling the effects of decades of misspent national wealth. All our manufacturing has gone overseas taking our jobs with it, save weaponry. Our physical infrastructure is inferior to that of many less powerful nations, and our schools, health care and energy independence likewise.

An excerpt:

"Just during the time Rice has served in the Bush administration, we bombed, invaded and occupied Afghanistan; did the same to Iraq; repeatedly bombed Somalia, killing all sorts of civilians; fed bombs to Israel as they invaded and bombed Lebanon; top political officials (led by John McCain and Joe Lieberman) have repeatedly threatened, and advocated, that the same be done to a whole host of other countries, including Iran and Syria. That's to say nothing of the virtually countless interventions and bombings in the pre-Bush, "peacetime" years -- from the Balkans and Panama to Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and on and on and on.
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T. Boone Pickens Brings His Plan To Lincoln

And I had to miss it! Bummer, bummer, bummer. Sounds like it was a capacity crowd of eclectic and concerned Nebraska citizenry. As it should be. I admire the folksy rich old coot more than I can express for sounding the alarm and putting his money ( $58 MIL of it in this consciousness-raising ad campaign alone). Pickens' comments tell of savvy, yet common-sense solutions. We have not only a chance to save America from peak oil burnout, but to also be pioneers in energy development, freeing us from energy dependency on foreigners who are not necessarily our friends, how valuable. And making our energy local via wind/solar and new souces: priceless.

From the Lincoln Journal-Star. Be sure and click on over and read the whole article.

" A standing-room-only crowd at the Lancaster Event Center heard Oklahoma oilman turned new-age energy advocate T. Boone Pickens’ plea Wednesday for a public commitment to independence from foreign oil.Pumped up and prepped with country music, the electricity of 1,200 people flowed through the center like Pickens wants it to flow from windmills on the Plains, something like those Lincoln Electric System runs within sight of the event center.Pickens was in Lincoln on his $58 million, nationwide campaign to use wind energy production to replace natural gas use for electric generation, so the gas can be diverted to powering motor vehicles."

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Michael Phelps at a VERY Young Age

Hat tip to reddit. Ha!

Fingers Crossed...

I think the computer issues are fully resolved, however if blogging stops suddenly just know that Catholic Geeks are "on the job" exorcising the PC demons.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Please Bear With Us

The trojan/malware/virus ??? or whatever it is that is attacking my pc at home is worse than I thought and the PC is down. I am waiting for brilliant professional geeks to come to my rescue.

Please bear with us and know that I will begin my usual eclectic blogging on matters of spirit, religion, politics, science and odd fun stuff as soon as possible!!

Who is the patron saint of computers? That guy, please pray for us...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Calling All Geeks ~ Help The Rosemary Tree Get It's Email

Gentle Readers ~

After much work, I have managed to blunder my way into getting my computer to work again, but I still have some sort of hijacker bug which does not allow me to log in to my email (yahoo email) or rather, it allows me to log in and then immediately directs me to a page (hijacks me rather) which shows the Google and Dell logos and says -

Sorry, we couldn't find http://ad.yieldmanager.com/st%3Fad_type. Here are some related websites:

and then it has a bunch of crud websites listed. This seems like a particularly aggressive bug, and Avast AV, Spybot, Windows Cleaner and Malwarebytes Anti Malware didn't root it out.

Will anyone have knowledge of how to rid one's PC of this ad yield manager hijacker bug PLEASE contact me at 402-261-4056 or via the comments section on this site, since I can't access my email. Thanks you a million times!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

PC On the Fritz

No blogging today, my PC is on the fritz. I'm in the break room at work, and there are folks who want the communal puter....thank you for your patience.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Rest in Peace, Dear Friend

No blogging today, except this.

Anastacios Thomas Fotinos ~ "Tom" a friend to all.

June 1, 1928 Bayard, NE - August 9, 2008 Lincoln, NE

Veteran U.S. Navy

Father and Friend

Usher and Greeter at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church for many, many years.

Faithful community servant: Sower's Club, Sunrise Optimists, BPOE, Eagles

Service: 10:00 a.m. Friday (8-15-08) at the Greek Orthodox Church of The Annunication, 950 North 63rd Street, with Fr. Constantine Balomenos and Fr. Nicholas Klodnicki officiating.

Eonia I Mnimi, Dear Brother. Memeory Eternal. You are our friend and we pray for your soul's repose on this holy day.

Psalm 142

O Lord, hear my prayer, give ear to my supplications in Your truth; hear me in Your righteousness. Do not enter into judgment, with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is justified. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead, and my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed. I remembered the days of old; I meditated on all Your works: I pondered on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, like a thirsty land.
Hear me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not turn Your face away from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your mercy in the morning, for in You I have put my trust. Cause me to know, O Lord, the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You. Rescue me, lord, from my enemies; to You have I fled for refuge. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Your good Spirit shall lead me in the land of uprightness. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, You shall quicken me. In Your righteousness You shall bring my soul out of trouble, and in Your mercy, You shall utterly destroy my enemies. And you shall destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant.

Sara McLaughlin ~ In The Arms Of The Angel

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Dormition of the Theotokos

Tomorrow is one of the Church's biggest feast days, the day honoring the Dormition of the Theotokos, or the Falling Asleep of the God-Bearer; in the Western Church called the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Feast is celebrated on August 15th each year. The Feast commemorates the repose (dormition and in the Greek kimisis) or "falling-asleep" of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.

The Holy Scriptures tell us that when our Lord was dying on the Cross, He saw His mother and His disciple John and said to the Virgin Mary, "Woman, behold your son!" and to John, "Behold your mother!" (John 19:25-27). From that hour, the Apostle took care of the Theotokos in his own home.Along with the biblical reference in Acts 2:14 that confirms that the Virgin Mary was with the Holy Apostles on the day of Pentecost, the tradition of the Church holds that she remained in the home of the Apostle John in Jerusalem, continuing a ministry in word and deed.

At the time of her death, the disciples of our Lord who were preaching throughout the world returned to Jerusalem to see the Theotokos. Except for the Apostle Thomas, all of them including the Apostle Paul were gathered together at her bedside. At the moment of her death, Jesus Christ himself descended and carried her soul into heaven.

Following her repose, the body of the Theotokos was taken in procession and laid in a tomb near the Garden of Gethsemane. When the Apostle Thomas arrived three days after her repose and desired to see her body, the tomb was found to be empty. The bodily assumption of the Theotokos was confirmed by the message of an angel and by her appearance to the Apostles.

Art from the West based on the Assumption can be seen at the lovely Assumption Gallery.

From the Eastern Rite:

Apolytikion (First Tone)
In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.

Kontakion (Second Tone)
Neither the grave nor death could contain the Theotokos, the unshakable hope, ever vigilant in intercession and protection. As Mother of life, He who dwelt in the ever-virginal womb transposed her to life.

“We think space and time are important because that's the kind of monkeys we are.”
Terence Rudolph Imperial College London

Quantum weirdness is even stranger than previously thought. Duuuuuude......religions all over the world have a concept for "sentient light", don't they?

from Nature.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Stout Discipline of the Optimist

I found this in my inbox today, and it resonated in my very bones. I pass it on to you so as not to hog the blessing.

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From *The Return of the Prodigal Son* by Henri J. M. Nouwen

QUOTE I am not accustomed to rejoicing in things that are small, hidden, and scarcely noticed by the people around me. I am generally ready and prepared to receive bad news, to read about wars, violence, and crimes, and to witness conflict and disarray. I always expect my visitors to talk about their problems and pain, their setbacks and disappointments, their depressions and their anguish. Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world."

I have a friend who is so deeply connected with God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. He travels much and meets countless people. When he returns home, I always expect him to tell me about the difficult economic situation of the countries he visited, about the great injustices he heard about, and the pain he has seen. But even though he is very aware of the great upheaval of the world, he seldom speaks of it. When he shares his experiences, he tells about the hidden joys he has discovered.

He tells about a man, a woman, or a child who brought him hope or peace. He tells about little groups of people who are faithful to each other in the midst of all the turmoil. He tells about the small wonders of God. At times I realize that I am disappointed because I want to hear 'newspaper news,' exciting and exhilarating stories that can be talked about among friends. But he never responds to my need for sensationalism. He keeps saying: 'I saw something very small and very beautiful, something that gave me much joy.'"This is a real discipline. It requires choosing for the light even when there is much darkness to frighten me, choosing for life even when the forces of death are so visible, and choosing for the truth even when I am surrounded with lies.

I am tempted to be so impressed by the obvious sadness of the human condition that I no longer claim the joy manifesting itself in many small but very real ways. The reward of choosing joy is joy itself. Living among people with mental disabilities has convinced me of that. There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy. UNQUOTE
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chysostom's Prayer

I've been using this prayer for my morning devotion this week, and am really growing to love it. It may gain a permanent spot on the daily devotions roster.

I especially like the part about asking God to deliver us from "stony hardness of heart", which is not regarded as the profound sin that it actually is, but is often mistaken for a sign of manliness or coolness or worldly competence.


O Lord, deprive me not of Thy heavenly blessings;
O Lord, deliver me from eternal torment;
O Lord, if I have sinned in my mind or thought, in word deed, forgive me.
O Lord, deliver me from every ignorance and heedlessness, from pettiness of the soul and stony hardness of heart;
O Lord, deliver me from every temptation;
O Lord, enlighten my heart darkened by evil desires;
O Lord, I, being a human being, have sinned; do Thou, being God, forgive me in Thy lovingkindness, for Thou knowest the weakness of my soul.
O Lord, send down Thy grace to help me, that I may glorify Thy holy Name;
O Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, in the Book of Life, and grant me a blessed end; O Lord my God, even if I have done nothing good in Thy sight, yet grant me, according to Thy grace, that I may make a start in doing good.
O Lord, sprinkle on my heart the dew of Thy grace;
O Lord of heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful servant, cold of heart and impure, in Thy Kingdom.
O Lord, receive me in repentance;
O Lord, leave me not;
O Lord, save me from temptation;
O Lord, grant me pure thoughts;
O Lord, grant me tears of repentance, remembrance of death, and the sense of peace;
O Lord, grant me mindfulness to confess my sins;
O Lord, grant me humility, charity, and obedience;
O Lord, grant me tolerance, magnanimity, and gentleness;
O Lord, implant in me the root of all blessings: the fear of Thee in my heart;
O Lord, vouchsafe that I may love Thee with all my heart and soul, and that I may obey in all things Thy will;
O Lord, shield me from evil persons and devils and passions and all other lawless matters;
O Lord, Who knowest Thy creation and that which Thou hast willed for it; may Thy will also be fulfilled in me, a sinner, for Thou art blessed forevermore.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oregon Tech To Be Powered Entirely By Geothermal Energy

Way to go, Oregon Tech! Love those green old ducks and beavers!

QUOTE The plant will become the sole power source for the school in a few years, making Oregon Tech the only university to be powered completely by geothermal energy. UNQUOTE

From Clean Technica

None of Our Beeswax

Washington has a bad habit of making murky, contradictory statements that can lead to unnecessary unpleasantness that can last for decades. From Taki's Mag by John Zmirak, who also notes that it is the Eastern Orthodox who are energetically offing each other in Georgia.

QUOTE It’s tragic to see Orthodox Christians killing each other, especially in a region where they were once jointly persecuted by an atheist dictatorship. We should all pray for peace in Georgia. That said, it’s satisfying to see Vladimir Putin resist the irresponsible--indeed, insane--attempt by West to encircle his country with client states--with the goal of joining them all, through NATO, to the U.S. in a war alliance. Make no mistake, if American interventionists had gotten their way and already incorporated Georgia into NATO, we would now be at war with a nuclear-armed Russia. UNQUOTE


Pope: Stop Fighting

Pope calls for immediate end to military action in Georgia

BRESSANONE, Italy (CNS) -- QUOTE Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an immediate end to military operations in Georgia and its breakaway province of South Ossetia.Citing reports of heavy civilian casualties and a large number of refugees, the pope called on the international community to act quickly to bring Russian and Georgian leaders to the bargaining table."It is my fervent wish that military actions cease immediately," the pope said Aug. 10.He urged both sides to "refrain, also in the name of a common Christian heritage, from further confrontations and violent retaliations that could degenerate into a wider conflict." UNQUOTE


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blog Claims Massive Armada Headed Towards Iran

If this is true, and it may or may not be, since I have no actual verification and it is a unknown souce, then several countries - the US and likely Britain and France, or perhaps Turkey and Israel to boot - are bearing down on Iran. Citizens of the world, cry out ENOUGH WAR! in a loud enough voice that your governments hear you. We will never prepare for Peak Oil & climate change this way, we will destroy ourselves, the world God made and likely our grandchildren's futures trying to wrest the hateful black goo from each other's backyards. Idiocy.
QUOTE Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group. UNQUOTE
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it. - Edward R. Murrow
The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain
When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us. - William O. Douglas

No Coast Headed Home

Hey poetry nerds across the fruited plains ~

QUITE Friends,The last few days have been very exciting here in Madison. I have been on my death bed since we left Nebraska, but even that could not detract from the overwhelming awesomeness that is our annual slam family reunion. First of all, I want to let you know that the No Coast team finished third in their semi-finals bout on Thursday, falling to an amazingly talented Boston Cantab team. Keep your eyes open, dear friends. Boston Cantab's captain, one superhuman Brian S. Ellis, will do several shows in Nebraska this November.

Final rankings have not been released by PSI yet - and may not be for a few more days - but the bout results ensure that the No Coast team will rank as one of the top twelve slam teams in the nation this year! How sweet is that?Advancing to the finals stage were Boston Cantab, New York LouderARTS, Charlotte, and Austin. After a hard fought - and very impressive - finals bout, they placed as follows: CharlotteNew York LouderARTSAustinBoston Cantab

In my view, Rachel McKibbens, Marty McConnell, and Brian Ellis stole the finals night show. We were blown away by their talent. Tomorrow we pile into cars and head back to Nebraska. We're looking forward to seeing all of you at the No Coast Poetry Slam on August 14th.

Love from the team,


Good Morning, Rise and Shine

I'm headed for church to pray for the whole kit and kaboodle, the good, the bad & the ugly...as the prayer goes ..."for those who hate us and those who love us..."
Have a good day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"...here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

~ The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Daily Spiritual Warfare

Here is a good reminder that the only warfare a true Christian is called to is the daily spiritual battle against the Enemy, sins and evil. Exterior battles only please the deceiver of humanity, and wreak havoc in the soul and in God's creation.

Excerpt ~

QUOTE Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history – CCC #386 - Then, on the other hand, not actively living for God also makes us vulnerable to behaviors that build up evil in the world. When we live as abject Catholics, embracing the truths of the world over the Truths of the Church, we are ripe for spiritual warfare. To remedy this, when our eyes first open each morning, we ought to be making a conscious affirmation of our lives belonging to Christ and covered in His blood. When we live consciously, we are able to see God’s graces more clearly and find the protection and strength we need in them. We aren’t fodder for evil.
Whether or not you believe in the reality of spiritual warfare, it is time to take to heart the truth found in 1 John 4:4: You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you in greater than the one who is in the world.


Trying to Make Sense Of the Mess In South Ossetia

A warplane drops bombs near the Georgian city of Gori on Friday as Russian and Georgian forces battle. Courtesy AP.

I'm an amateur armchair intel wonk, something like the Monday morning quarterback or every other foaming online bloviator puffing endless hot air (we should find a way to harness that power for an alternative energy source). So as I got online this morning, I wandered around the cyber romper room of news sources and blogs, and found a few good good background bits of information.

Douglas Muir's backgrounder. written back in March 2008 (over at A Fistful Of Euros) is a good place to start, and I actually understood more about the situation in Georgia after reading it, unlike the first few I came across. Highly recommended. One point that sticks is his observation that South Ossetians and Georgians are both mostly Orthodox Christians (as are the Russians). This does not bode well. Nobody can feud more venomously than the Orthodox when they feel they are provoked. They are masters of backbiting and infighting, not to mention backstabbing and Byzantine intrigues. You can quote me on that. They do have many redeeming virtues, and I say this in all love and charity: 'live and let live ' is NOT among their prevailing attitudes.

QUOTE Couple of things you need to grasp if you’re going to understand South Ossetia. One is, it’s not very horizontal. It’s all mountains, with just enough flat ground for one modest-sized town. Almost all of it is over 1000 meters up, about a third of it over 2,000 meters.
Two, it’s not that big. There are only around 75,000 people in South Ossetia. In both area and population, it’s the smallest of the frozen conflicts.
Three, it’s poor. Really poor. I mean, Transnistria is one of the poorest corners of Europe, but Transnistria is Switzerland compared to South Ossetia. It’s basically 75,000 people living on rocks. Okay, okay, not rocks, but this is a region whose traditional economy consisted of driving sheep uphill in spring and back down again in autumn. There’s no industry to speak of. About one-third of the state’s income comes from charging tolls on the single highway. South Ossetia doesn’t export much but timber, sheep and people. Well, and there was a big counterfeiting operation making US $100 bills a couple of years back. But anyway, point is, not much there

QUOTE One of the reports I read today (can’t find the link, grr) held that the Georgians were claiming to have headed off a “column of mercenaries” coming down from the north, i.e., Russia. This is just plausible — Russian railroad troops have been busy the last week in Georgia’s other breakaway region of Abkhazia — but also sounds like a pretext. At any rate, the Georgian leadership has decided to unfreeze the conflict by bringing it to a boil. UNQUOTE


Wu Wei, also based in Tbilsi, has some updates on her site, Thoughts From the Tao.


Le Monde is live-blogging! But I don't speak French, let's see if I can get the site in English...well crud, if my teeny tiny blog can have a Babel Fish why can't Le Monde? Somebody please tell me if you know how to get it in English....


OMG, I hope Doug and Wu Wei are OK. Crap. CNN is reporting that Tbilsi has been bombed by Russian jets.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

Whatever happened to the US speaking softly and carrying a big stick? Whatever happened to
friendship with all, entangling alliances with none? Whatever happened to minding our own business and taking care of our own? I don't like this one little bit.

From Taki's Magazine, by Richard Spencer, be sure and click on over to read it all:


QUOTE In response to the movement of Russian troops into Georgia this morning, State Department spokesperson Amanda Harper announced to the German press: “We support Georgia’s territorial integrity and we call for an immediate ceasefire.” Senator McCain was even more forceful, demanding, “Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.”
Both statements are not only reckless but they reveal the total obliviousness of most American foreign-policy makers to the consequences of Washington’s actions since the end of the Cold War—a characterization that holds equally well for the supposed diplomats and realists in Foggy Bottom as for the
neocons rallying to McCain. UNQUOTE

No-Coast Poetry Slam Team Advances To Semi-Finals In Madison

Woot! Woot! Much cause for celebration among word geeks, art freaks and poets here in Star City, also known as Lincoln, Nebraska ~ home of the extremely talented (if alas occasionally somewhat foul-mouthed) No Coast Slam Team, which has just advanced to the Semi-Finals at the National Poetry Slam held this year in Madison, Wisconsin. After three days of preliminary qualifying competition, the No Coast Slam Team is ranked 14th in the country (woot!) and will be advancing to the twenty team semi-finals competitions on Friday night. I think there were 76 teams starting the competition, so there you go.

Lincoln readers: please patronize the following businesses, whose tanglible and spiritual support, along with that of we the fans, enabled No Coast, of The Nebraska Writer's Collective, to go to Nationals.

The Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso
A Novel Idea Bookstore
Bodhi Imports
Mojo's Dermagraphics & Design

You can read up on No Coast here and here. And Nebraska Poet stuff, here.

GOOD LUCK! Break a leg!

A sample of Nebraska poets (alas I couldn't find NoCoast to sample):
You Are Dangerous
by Sarah Mckinstry Brown (Omaha, Nebraska) web site

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rock Of Ages

Here at The Rosemary Tree from time to time we post classic rock videos, always tagged "Rock of Ages". Enjoy.

Here's great version of the Stones Gimme Shelter.

Pink Floyd - Careful With That Axe, Eugene


Paris Hilton For President?

I actually laughed out loud, roared is more like it, at my TV news the other night when they played this hilarious faux ad which Paris Hilton made in response, tongue-in-cheek, to John "Warmonger" McCain's feeble slam on "Pollyanna" Obama, in which he likened Barack to pop tarts Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears. Bikini alert for those sensitive to such things.

How about this for a slogan ~ "Paris Hilton: Change We Can Believe In, Dude".

Too durn funny.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Go Green, Young Man, Go Green

From The Times of India

QUOTE There have been times when man has ignored "God's teaching on creation," Pope Benedict said in response to a question on the environment yesterday. But he rejected criticism that Christianity had encouraged the squandering of resources under the pretext of following the commandment to rule over the Earth. The wastefulness was due to a "materialistic world" where "God is denied," Pope Benedict said. "God entrusted man with the responsibility of creation" and "creation and redemption are closely bound together," he said. Pope Benedict's comments came at a closed meeting of 400 priests from the north of Italy where he is spending his holiday. Reporters were briefed by the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi. Lombardi said Pope Benedict cited St Francis of Assisi as an example in urging Catholics to adopt "a way of life that is respectful of the environment. UNQUOTE

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Holy Transfiguration

Thou wast transfigured on the mountain,

O Christ, our God,

showing to Thy disciples Thy glory as each one could endure.

Shine forth Thou on us, who are sinners all,

Thy light ever-unending. Through the prayers of the Theotokos,

Light-Bestower, glory to Thee.

(Dismissal Hymn - Feast of the Holy Transfiguration/Grave Tone)


Matthew 17:1-9

1 And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: 2 And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. 3 And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.
6 And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. 8 And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.
The Feast of the Transfiguration is always a wonderful day for me. It was on this day I was ordained a Protestant minister back in 1976 "in another lifetime" as they say ~ and while I am now an Eastern Rite Catholic, all the paths which brought me here were good ones and full of Light...it is my favorite Aunt's birthday (Happy birthday, Aunt Patricia!) and the icon of my patron saint, Saint Deborah (Old Testament) has this inscription: "Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded saying, come and draw nigh Mount Tabor?" Deborah and the Holy Transfiguration go together in my mind like bees and honey.
Lord Jesus, I was your shield-maiden who desired to be knight-errant: and now I am your unhumble beads-woman, praying for the lost, fighting her pride, who wishes to be useful to you as heartily as I did in days gone by.
Transfigure us into something suitable for You. Amen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn ~ Memory Eternal, Dear Brother

The observant may have noticed the great author's Cancer Ward listed among my all-time favorite books. To take the orthodox Christian worldview and use it, by means of fiction-writing, as a rapier to cut away the dross of the Soviet collective trance, was sheer genius and also an outpouring of a manly and genuine soul. Memory eternal, dear brother!

QUOTE His homecoming in 1994 was a dramatic affair as he travelled in slowly by land from the Russian Far East.
Years later he was embraced by then-Russian President Vladimir Putin, who presented him with Russia's State Prize.
There was significant irony in the fierce critic of Soviet repression being hailed by a former senior officer of the KGB, says the BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow.
Mr Putin described Solzhenitsyn's death as a "heavy loss for Russia".
Solzhenitsyn's latter works, which included essays on Russia's future, stirred contr
oversy. UNQUOTE

"Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.” - Solzhenitsyn


Egypt's Christians Need Our Help

image courtesy National Geographic - A Coptic Church
Only ten percent of Egypt's population are Christian, most of them being Coptic Christians, one of the most ancient branches of the Church and one of the most venerable, tradition-rich families in the Christian Eastern tradition. The churches of Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia are as ancient as the Christian faith itself – these communities trace their foundation to the St. Mark the Evangelist and his disciples. While rich in heritage, these churches, particularly in Eritrea and Ethiopia, are very poor. All are persecuted. Helping them has been a priority for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association) CNEWA over the last two decades. Indeed now, with the plight of the Iraqi Catholic dispora in the wake of the war and occupation of their land, CNEWA needs new donors more than ever.

Please donate to CNEWA as you are able.

New York Times 02 August 08 QUOTE CAIRO — A monastery was ransacked in January. In May, monks there were kidnapped, whipped and beaten and ordered to spit on the cross. Christian-owned jewelry stores were robbed over the summer. The rash of violence was so bad that one prominent Egyptian writer worried it had become “open season” on the nation’s Christians. UNQUOTE

Monday, August 4, 2008

Head Coverings Redux

Having received some attention to the recent post on Veiling the Sacred, I have been doing some more reading on the subject and found a personal account of Christian head covering over at the Orthodox Christian Information Center which rings very true to me. I mean, if covering one's head in church allows us to participate more fully in the life of The Theotokos and makes us more harmonious with our Guardian Angel, what's not to like? The author's experience rings true and resonates with my personal experience. Amen, Elisabet! Now, if wearing a beret could only make me look like the model above ~ wait; it does? At least a little bit? Ah ha! When women realize head coverings are gorgeous, the churches wil be full of them, say what? If purity doesn't do it perhaps vanity will...

Here is an exerpt, but please click on over and read the whole thing.

QUOTE In 1995 I was chrismated Orthodox and was surprised to find myself again the only woman wearing a head-covering in my parish. An Orthodox sister told me, with a nod to my scarf, "We don't have to wear that anymore." I smiled and said, "I know, but I want to." St. Paul had said "ought," not "must." It was my voluntary obedience, even if I didn't understand the "why's." By now I had no intention of giving up the benefits. I felt blessed and protected, feminine, and, paradoxically, confident and free—in the presence of guardian and ministering angels.
In Orthodox worship the angels were even more in evidence. The Divine Liturgy is full of references to the various ranks of angels, emphasizing our participation with them in the joyous worship of the Holy Trinity. St. John Chrysostom (d. A.D. 407), in a sermon at the Feast of the Ascension, spoke both of angels and the veiling of women: "The angels are present hereOpen the eyes of faith and look upon this sight. For if the very air is filled with angels, how much more so the Church! ...Hear the Apostle teaching this, when he bids the women to cover their heads with a veil because of the presence of the angels."

Theotokos of the Lifegiving Font

Outside of Constantinople, towards the district of the Seven Towers, there was in ancient times a very large and most beautiful church named in honour of the Theotokos; it had been built about the middle of the fifth century by the Emperor Leo the Great (also called "Leo of Thrace," he is commemorated on Jan. 20). Before he became Emperor, he had encountered there a blind man, who being tormented with thirst asked him to help him find water. Leo felt compassion for him and went in search of a source of water but found none. As he became downcast, he heard a voice telling him there was water nearby. He looked again, and found none. Then he heard the voice again, this time calling him "Emperor" and telling him that he would find muddy water in the densely wooded place nearby; he was to take some water and anoint the blind man's eyes with it. When he had done this, the blind man received his sight. After Leo became Emperor as the most holy Theotokos had prophesied, he raised up a church over the spring, whose waters worked many healings and cured maladies by the grace of the Theotokos; from this, it came to be called the "Life-giving Spring." The Church of Christ celebrates the censecration of this church on this day.

After the fall of the imperial city, this church was razed to the ground and the materials from it were used for building the mosque of Sultan Bayezid. Nothing remained of that church's ancient beauty, except for a small and paltry chapel, almost completely buried in the ruins. This chapel had twenty-five steps going down into it, and a transom window on the roof, wherefrom it received a little light. Toward the western side of the chapel was the aforementioned holy Spring, fenced about with a railing, and with fish swimming in it. Such was the condition of the Spring until 1821. Then even that little remnant was destroyed, occasioned by the uprising of the Greek nation against the Ottoman Empire; the sacred Spring was buried with it and disappeared altogether.

But in the days of Sultan Mahmud, when those subject to him were rejoicing in their freedom to practice their religion, permission was sought by the Orthodox Christian community to rebuild at least part of the chapel. Thus the work was begun on July 26, 1833. When the excavation had been made, and the foundations of the ancient church were found, there was rebuilt -- by a later writ of permission from the Sultan -- not merely a chapel of the holy Spring, but another new church, constructed upon the foundations of the ancient one. The building of this spacious, beautiful, and most majestic temple began on September 14, 1833, and the work was completed on December 30, 1834. On February 2, 1835, the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine II, serving the Liturgy together with twelve hierarchs and a great company of clergy, as well as a boundless multitude of Christians, performed the consecration of this sacred church and dedicated it to the glory of the Mother of God. On September 6, 1955, however, it was desecrated and destroyed again by the Turks; it has been restored again, but not to the former magnificence.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Johnny Cash Documentary August 5

I've been a Johnny Cash fan since I was 10 years old. That's a while ago.

He was one popular singer my Dad and I could agree on in the turbulent 60's when the Beatles and Dylan were too weird for the parents. Cash provided a golden link from the days of Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams and Bob Wills to the modern music era, and a bridge from the Depression survivors to the Vietnam survivors. He provided a much-needed bridge between my father and me. God bless you, Johnny. Check it out.

From MyWay News:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A 40-year-old documentary about Johnny Cash to air on the Public Broadcasting Service shows him in concert and in casual settings. But unlike the 2005 movie "Walk the Line," there's no mention of his well-documented substance abuse.
The documentary "Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music" is expected to air Tuesday as part of the 21st season of PBS' Emmy-winning P.O.V. series.
The documentary was made over several months in 1968 and 1969 when Cash was at the peak of his popularity. He's shown on stage and off: hunting, playfully holding a crow; coaxing his father to sing; signing autographs; posing for photos; and listening attentively to an aspiring singer.

Johnny Cash - God's Gonna Cut You Down