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

Friday, July 31, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Because we all need to smile and laugh more. Life is entirely too serious these days. Cats, gypsies, musicians and acrobats are called for! Introducing the Cirque Romanes. Enjoy!

RR-X ings

I had a very close call last night on the way home and I thought I would share it. I was driving home on a street i don't often take at a time I was tired and not paying close enough attention to my surroundings. There is a road right next to the local grain elevator and the railroad tracks cross the road here. Like many RR crossings out here in the sticks there is no automatic barrier or lights. It is up to you to look and listen closely before crossing and that is where I screwed up. I have poor hearing with constant ringing in both ears plus I had the radio playing. The railroad tracks curve around the back of the grain elevator so there is no more than about 50ft of visibility. So I am driving and just as the front tires of my car hit the railroad tracks I hear a trail whistle and it is LOUD. I look to my right and no more than a car length away is a fast moving train engine. I floored the gas pedal on the car and just cleared the track as the train went by. There was maybe a second of margin but no more. So in the end nobody got hurt but it was very close. The AAA was right in there old advertisements that most accidents happen within 5 miles of home and I think it is due to the familiarity of our surroundings giving us a false sense of security. So learn from my mistake and look and listen closely when crossing railroad tracks. You DON'T want to look up like I did and see nothing but fast moving train engine filling your vision. ;-)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Health Care Jigsaw Puzzle

As the circular clusterboink over health care in D.C. undulates and froths with opinions, here-say, argument and polemic congresscritters look for pieces of the jigsaw puzzle on the floor of history. They struggle in vain to avoid the glaringly obvious conclusion that the American people have been sold a real stinker with the label "best medical care in the world" pinned to its shirtfront.

We used to believe it, until we began to notice the abysmal statistics. If our health care system is so great, why are we 17th in the world for infant mortality (and one of the worst for developed countries) and 45th in the world for life expectancy?

If you oppose single-payer universal health care, I challenge you to go through the list of common objections and see them all rebutted, at this site. Go ahead, you know you want to. Sooner or later the opponents are going to realize that it is just plain better for American, better for business overall, better for economy in general and specifically, to insure all our citizens. I believe America should join the rest of the developed world and provide a single-payer system.

Dr. Hochfield is an emergency room physician who trained at M.I.T.

And don't forget this must-see backgrounder:
sicko Pictures, Images and Photos

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thank You Gabe and ExRanger!

I wanted to take a moment to thank my associate bloggers who provide a much-needed perspective, texture, depth and balance on this tiny eclectic blog.
Gabe (Stanford Gabriel Espedal) - your theological knowledge and great heart are appreciated all over the world, not least of all by me.
ExRanger (Rod Alton) - your wisdom from your warrior training and your deeper insight from your Taoist peace resonate in this time of trouble for many people. So here's a big old Nebraska THANK YOU!! for you both, and hugs from a very appreciative site-builder who is honored to call you both my friends. Gabe and ExRanger ROCK.

In Christo Rege,

(((Gabe))) (((ExRanger)))

thank you (clouds) Pictures, Images and Photos

Insider Trading?

How is the practice described in this article on high frequency trading not insider trading (and thus illegal)? From Donklephant, the bipartisan political blog with the best catch-phrase ever: Big Teeth. Huge Ass. Surprisingly reasonable.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No debt = freedom

I was working with and talking to the co-owner of the shop I work in yesterday when he happened to mention that he had just found out that he had come in to a small five figure inheritance from his grandmother. I just listened as he wondered what he could do with the unexpected windfall. Should he buy this or that or the other thing?
This went on for a while and I did not say very much, then he asked me what I would do with it. I think what I said surprised him.
What I told him was I thought he should either stash it away as an emergency fund or use it to pay down debt. Then when he wondered why I told him my thoughts on personal finance.
I told him that I am completely debt free and have been for almost a decade. That I do not buy anything unless I can pay for it up front. That when I do buy something I buy the best I can find and pay the extra cost because the item usually works better and lasts longer.
I told him that being debt free is a state of mind and a lifestyle choice that takes discipline and practice but in the end is much less expensive and much less stressful that the debt driven life we have been taught is normal.
Being debt free brings freedom and many more choices. I told him that if I was in debt I would not have been able to retire at 49 and take up a much lower paying job that I enjoy very much. When you are in debt you are on a treadmill and cannot stop moving. The bigger the debt the faster the treadmill goes. If you lose your job or get sick you are in danger of very quickly losing everything that you worked for.
It was one thing to take on debt as a normal lifestyle choice when jobs were plentiful but it is quite another to do it in an economy where jobs are still going overseas and the unemployment rate is north of 15% like it is here in Michigan. He listened to what I had to say but I am not holding my breath that I convinced him. All our lives we have been told to buy things right now on credit, with easy monthly payment plans. Why wait? Enjoy it all now! Keep up with the Joneses!
An alternate lifestyle of pay as you go and healthy reserve cash has its own rewards and is well worth pursuing. Start where you are, but at least start and I guarantee you will not regret it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Canadians Love Their Health Care System So Much They Voted Its Inventor #1 Canadian of All Time

Canada's "father of Medicare" tops the list of most popular Canadians ever, busting the myth promulgated in the U. S. that Canadians don't like their health care system.

From the CBC.

Man can now fly in the air like a bird, swim under the ocean like a fish, he can burrow into the ground like a mole. Now if only he could walk the earth like a man, this would be paradise.
~ Tommy Douglas

Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world.
~ Tommy Douglas

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Preparing For The Next Great Depression?

peak oil Pictures, Images and Photos
An interesting little story found on that most mainstream of news sources, NBC. One of the people who they interviewed, Kathy, is a regular poster at a forum I frequently lurk on, as, I believe, is ExRanger who sometimes blogs here (the site is a great source of news links, by the way) LATOC, or Life After The Oil Crash. If "peak oil" is a new concept to anyone, I suggest reading a lot there, at Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash, at The Oil Drum and From The Wilderness, just for starters.

"Families brace for financial fallout ~ In these tough times, some families are stocking up in case of a financial disaster. NBC's Peter Alexander reports."


The obligatory psychiatrist at the end of the segment really hasn't a clue: "people revert to behaviors designed to ensure their security". I want to see him after a Hurricane Katrina blows through his town. I money-back guarantee you he'll be mooching off his doomer neighbors who had the foresight to behave in such a way that they assured their security.


A Solar Eclipse

From CNN Darkness falls in Asia during total eclipse, luring masses

solar eclipse Pictures, Images and Photos What could be more mystical than the even temporary disappearance of the source of all light and life on our planet? Stirring primitive fears and longings, yesterday's solar eclipse was quite visible to millions. Some say the day bodes deep and lasting changes for every single person alive. Is it the Age of Aquarius yet?

QUOTE In India, an eclipse is considered inauspicious. Women forbid pregnant daughters-in-law from going outside out of the belief that their children could be born with marks. Some temples won't offer any prayers on the day of an eclipse -- such as the one next to the planetarium in Mumbai, which said it won't even light a stick of incense. UNQUOTE

Videos of Solar eclipse
Pictures of the Solar Eclipse http://www.spaceweather.com/eclipses/gallery_22jul09.htm?PHPSESSID=nbofp54pl0194ih0ot0ioddfd5

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cute Overload

OMG He likes ice cream!
What can you say except "Awwwwwwwwww..." !

The Goldman Sachs NIghtmare Casino

After reading the excellent, must-read Matt Taibbi article The Great American Bubble Machine in the current issue of Rolling Stone I have started seeing articles wailing about the gray-suited vampire lord Goldman Sachs just about everywhere. Here's today's, from Paul Krugman at the New York Times.

The Goldman profits and the manner in which the very same people who brought the financial world to its knees last year, are getting rewarded humongous bonuses with taxpayer dollars (read: YOUR dollars) shows that what is being practiced in America is no longer capitalism but a means of socializing losses while privatizing gains. It's as though the entire financial system is a nightmare casino where, no matter what you do, the house run by Da Mob find ways to suck money out of anyone who is dumb enough to play.

What I really don't get is why people aren't more ticked off. The uber rich are p*ssing on the citizens and calling it rain. How docile and cattle-like have we Americans become? For all our flag-waving and tiny flag pins on our lapels, we have forgotten how to stand tall, to duck our heads to no man and to fight the machine.

From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.

QUOTE The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. UNQUOTE

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Abuse of Power

A mom takes some pictures of her kids in a bath, and a few pictures of herself breast-feeding her baby, and finds herself under arrest and her children forcibly removed by the State. What a nightmare and how idiotic of the police and CPS workers. With no criminal or child abuse records of any sort, these parents have been put through hell. From Citizens For Change, click here to read the article.

I guess every mom and dad in America needs to root through their photo albums and destroy all the shots of Junior at bath time when he was two, or Suzy breast feeding when she was one, for fear of the "sex police". I agree with one of the comments made after the article, which is that if the photo technician and authorities perceive breast feeding or bathing as a sex act then they really deserve to be investigated themselves. Someone who thinks feeding a baby is a sex act shouldn't be allowed to have any contact with children, or involvement with child welfare services. The cops and photo workers minds are the dirty ones in this case, as I see it.

I have included some classic works of art which depict Mary the Mother of God giving sustenance to Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, and holding Him after His bath as a toddler, and a famous work which is found at The Vatican. If you think they are obscene, you truly have a problem and should seek help.

madonna and child Pictures, Images and Photos

Madonna and child Pictures, Images and Photos

the real madonna and child Pictures, Images and Photos

Madonna and Child Pictures, Images and Photos

sistine chapel Pictures, Images and Photos

"There's no way to rule innocent men.
The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them.
One declares so many things to be a crime
that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
~ Ayn Rand 1905-1982

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Protesters Return to Tehran Streets

The opposition chose yesterday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of student-led protests against the closing of reformist newspapers by conservatives during the Khatami presidency. Andrew Sullivan and others are back to relying on Twitter for updates. According to the LA Times over a thousand protesters turned out in Tehran, and they have been met with violence by the Basij and regular security forces. In an attempt to thwart protest organizers, the government has cut off cell phone access for the last few days, although they apparently released 2,000 who had been arrested after earlier protests. On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad called the election, the “freest ever,” which alone was probably enough to push the opposition back into the streets.

Iranian protesters galvanized by sermon
From the LA Times.

Photos of yesterday's massive crowds at Demotix

Dr. Nasir Khan: Live Blogging From Tehran
QUOTE People shouting in streets , I am ready to die to get my vote back. UNQUOTE

Green Flag Pictures, Images and Photos American supports Iran's protesters
Bright Green Flag Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday Quote of the Week

When we speak about wisdom, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about peace, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking of Christ.

--St. Ambrose of Milan

Lighthouse Christ hands2.gif Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, July 17, 2009

The world at night

I had an interesting experience last night that brought back a lot of memories, this is what happened.
The annual 12 hour endurance mountain bike race is going on this weekend at our local trail and the Rep for the Night Rider Technical lighting company rolled in to town to support the race. He showed up at the bike shop yesterday and he and my boss decided to put together an impromptu night ride last night. After some phone calls, dusk comes and 18 riders showed up. The Night Rider Rep hands out loaner lights to anyone who did not have their own and off we went in to the woods. I have ridden this trail many times over the years in the daytime but never at night so I did not really know what to expect. What I found out was that it is with the right equipment it is like riding in the daytime but twice as fun. I am going to be doing this more often.
The memories it brought back was how in the Rangers we were creatures of the night. The vast majority of the time our schedule was inverted and we would sleep during the day and do operations all night. The darkness was our friend and we were very comfortable in it. It even got to the point where the climbing team I was on would climb and do fairly technical operations at night.
My challenge to the readers of this post is this. Go outside this summer and discover the night. It does not matter if it is looking at stars in the backyard, walking around the neighborhood, hiking, or biking in the woods. Go out and experience it. A few tips, give your eyes a half hour to adapt to the darkness. The center of your vision is a blind spot at night, look off to the side of something you want to see clearly at night. Once your eyes have adapted to the darkness protect it as much as possible. Use a red filter on your flashlight or close one eye if you must use white light to see something. It you don't it will take a while for your night vision to come back.
The night time world out there is fun to explore and get comfortable in. Give it a try!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life is Precious

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

- Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

St. Bonaventure, Pray for Us

St. Bonaventure
Feastday: July 15

St. Bonaventure Pictures, Images and Photos

"Good fortune" indeed: healed by St. Francis, mentored by the brilliant Franciscan Alexander of Hales, buddy and colleage of the great Saint Aquinas, pal of King Louis (the holy one, not the other one). Dear seraphic Doctor, pray for us, and not the least of our requests being to restore joy to the Church.

"In the way of virtue, there is no standing still; anyone who does not daily advance, loses ground. To remain at a standstill is impossible; he that gains not, loses; he that ascends not, descends. If one does not ascend the ladder, one must descend; if one does not conquer, one will be conquered. " ~ St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Feast day-July 15)
St. Bonaventure, known as "the seraphic doctor," was born at
Bagnorea in Tuscany, in 1221. He received the name of Bonaventure in consequence of an exclamation of St. Francis of Assisi, when, in response to the pleading of the child's mother, the saint prayed for John's recovery from a dangerous illness, and, foreseeing the future greatness of the little John, cried out "O Buona ventura"-O good fortune! UNQUOTE
Click here to read more... from Catholic Online

"God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty." ~ St. Bonaventure

Sunday, July 12, 2009

All Seven Deadly Sins Committed At Church Bake Sale

Hat tip to The Ironic Catholic, from The Onion.

:D ...enjoy...LOL...

Delicious little saga of trying to keep a step ahead of the devil, and falling down on the job.

QUOTE GADSDEN, AL—The seven deadly sins—avarice, sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, pride, and wrath—were all committed Sunday during the twice-annual bake sale at St. Mary's of the Immaculate Conception Church. In total, 347 individual acts of sin were committed at the bake sale, with nearly every attendee committing at least one of the seven deadly sins as outlined by Gregory the Great in the Fifth Century. UNQUOTE

Friday, July 10, 2009

Time to think about winter!

The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop.
In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest. "Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?" "I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same." "Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "We have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger - while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need.
I know that this time of year nobody wants to think about winter coming but now is the time to be preparing for it. There are good sales of warm winter clothes left over from last season at deep discounts. The gardens and farmers markets have plenty of food to can, dry and freeze for use this winter. Aesop was a very wise writer and it will pay to heed the advice he gave.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Huxley On Hubris

The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalm 24 (vs. 1)

QUOTE The Greeks believed that hubris was always followed by nemesis, that if you went too far you would get a knock on the head to remind you that the gods will not tolerate insolence on the part of mortal men. In the sphere of human relations, the modern mind understands the doctrine of hubris and regards it as mainly true. We wish pride to have a fall, and we see that very often it does fall. To have too much power over one's fellows, to be too rich, too violent, too ambitious - all this invites punishment, and in the long run, we notice punishment of one sort or another duly comes. But the Greeks did not stop there. Because they regarded Nature as in some way divine, they felt that it had to be respected and they were convinced that a hubristic lack of respect of Nature would be punished by avenging nemesis. UNQUOTE
-Aldous Huxley

Pope Calls for 'God-Centered' Economy

Pope Benedict xvi Pictures, Images and Photos
Disarmament, food security and peace. What's not to like? Oh wait, a global centralized authority. Since all the local and regional and national authorities running on the old paradigm are doing such a bang-up job, selecting some of them to have power over everybody is sure to be a fabbo idea.

I like this Pope but this is not his best idea.

Holy Father, how on earth can you ensure that your "new global authority" has a transformed and transfigured Catholic worldview? There is no way to make an earthly authority a saintly man or woman, one would think you had found it hard enough to make sure the ecclesiastical authorities were saintly.

I counsel prudence and caution here.

From USA Today
Be sure and click on over and read it all.

QUOTE In his third encyclical, a major teaching, released as the G-8 summit begins in Italy, the pope says such an authority is urgently needed to end the current worldwide financial crisis. It should "revive" damaged economies, reach toward "disarmament, food security and peace," protect the environment and "regulate migration."
Benedict writes, "The market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak."
The encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) is a theologically dense explication of Catholic social teaching that draws heavily from earlier popes, particularly PaulVI's critique of capitalism 42 years ago. And echoing his predecessor
John Paul II, Benedict says, "every economic decision has a moral consequence." UNQUOTE

Tuesday Afternoon...

Yesterday flew by with the last day of my 4th of July holiday being filled with domestic stuff like workouts, laundry, getting ready for my next-door-neighbor's yard sale (we're contributing and helping), making a Southern Style supper for Charlie (turkey "ham", rice, sweet potatoes and delicious greens, in this case organic Kacinto Kale) with Fat Boys or melon salad for dessert. We ended with watching the first episode of the old 1988 mini-series Lonesome Dove, a family favorite. I do love Augustus McCrae, Captain Woodrow Call and Joshua Deets, those characters are some of the best in fiction.

Today is more of the same, respite care, getting yard sale items prepped, a date with my meditation cushion and ending with work this evening. The weather is a steamy 85 degrees but it is quite nice until you actually do something more strenuous than making a tuna salad, and then it feels hot! I hope it is just as nice where you are.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Iran: First-Hand Account

Jeff Clark's Iran Election Word Cloud Pictures, Images and Photos
July 2, 2009 from Tehran, by Ali Golsar for VBS TV

Here's a must-read live account of Iran's troubles gone from bad to worse. God bless them and protect them, especially the women, idealistic youth and the aged,weary pro-democracy visionaries. Those S&M fetish, Gestapo wannabe riot police are beating the bejesus out of anyone they don't like the looks of. These are not the acts of rational men.

"Environmental destruction, racism, violence, injustice, war derive from a single source -- the human psyche. An activist who is not interested in psychological underpinnings is analogous to a botanist who is not interested in biology."
~ Jonathan Zap

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." ~Winston Churchill

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
~ Mohandas Gandhi
Neda Pictures, Images and Photos
Neda, an
Iranian woman who was shot in cold blood during Iranian election protests


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Chomsky On Crisis and Hope

I have read of Chomsky for many years although I have only read a few of his 100+ scholarly books. He fascinates me because I feel you really have to be on to something for the huge corporate interests to spend as much energy as they have demonizing him. He's been slyly cast to the masses as a "communist" for his freedom-advocating and egalitarian ideas.

As usual, I prefer to form my own opinions rather than buy into the pre-digested ones offered on a tray by the TV talking heads.

From Democracy Now, the War and Peace Report with Amy Goodman.

QUOTE Noam Chomsky turned eighty years old this past December. He has written over a hundred books. But despite being called "the most important intellectual alive today” by the New York Times, he is rarely heard or quoted in the mainstream media.

Today we spend the hour with Noam Chomsky. He spoke recently here in New York at an event sponsored by the Brecht Forum. More than 2,000 people packed into the Riverside Church in Harlem to hear his address. The title of his talk, “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours.” This is Noam Chomsky. UNQUOTE

Happy Independence Day

With thanks for all who served, especiallly my generation, who had the bad luck to draw Vietnam out of the empire's little lottery. God bless.

Heart of Gold Jewelers Site

I have spent all my computer time over the past couple of days building this little page for our new gallery. Please click on over and take a look around, and if you are in the area please drop by for a visit! We're off to a great start.

gold heart pendant by Charles W. Yost


Friday, July 3, 2009

You too can save a life!

I got a card in the Mail today informing me that there is a Red Cross Blood drive coming to town next week. Not that I really need the reminder because I have it marked on my calender from the last time that I gave.
I started donating in 1980 in the Rangers. They would line everybody up in formation and march all of us to the post theater and we would all give blood together. I don't remember anyone complaining because we knew that from the nature of our job that we might be the person who needed the blood.
These days I continue to give blood as often as I can just because I feel it is the right thing to do and it is a really easy way to save someones life. I have lost track of how many gallons that I have given but as long as they will take it I will give it.
So do something selfless just because it is the right thing to do. Call the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or search on line and find when the next blood drive is coming to a location near you and give.
And in a strange twist of fate you or your family member ends up in a ER needing blood it may be your very donation that saves the day. Go ahead, just do it!