Friday, May 30

Christmas Gifts for family!!

For those crafty type people here is a great idea for gifts for those hard to buy for folks on your list. You could even cover it with contact paper and personalize them.

If my shirts looked that good it would clash with the rest of my wardrobe.


Thursday, May 29

Start of Summer Meme

1.) What first tells you that Summer is here?
Portland gets above 70 and I put on shorts and put the jacket away. The travel vest comes out and the slugs return to the garden.

2.) Name your five of your favorite distinctively Summer habits or customs.
Sitting on the back deck with a slight breeze blowing and cold drink in my hand. Listening to the pond, [I hate raccoons] and this year enjoying a hammock. It's not so distinct but it's nice when the "kids" [they're now 20 somethings] from the church invade our home on Sundays and I feel like I hold court on the deck. It's just nice

3.) What is your favorite smell of Summer?


4.) What is your favorite taste of Summer?

Did I mention Barbecue? Brisket. mmmm mine's not as good as Allen's BBQ in Abiliene but I'm learning.

5.) Favorite Summer memory?

as a kid Flashlight tag till 11 pm
in Hawthorne fishing the Elbow of the Walker River

6.) Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why?

Cold. You can always put on more clothes.

7.) What books do you plan to read for the season?

Plan to finish the Honor Harrington series my youngest got me reading a couple of years ago, the last of the Star Wars New Jedi Order, a couple of S.M. Stirling books and the Bible [not particularly in that order]

8.) How does the Summer affect your faith? Is it a hindrance or an ally?
Never thought of this before. It's more on an ally than hindrance I believe. Seasonal Affective Disorder isn't a big factor but I just love the evening and early mornings. We'll have sunrise about 5:30 and sunset almost at 10 in July. It's nice.

The River and the Vine
Soundslikelife go for it Mr. Clark


Tuesday, May 27

WCC and Stupid Comments

A special hat tip to Toby for the wonderful link from the WCC and the stellar work they are doing in the world around us.

I read the preamble and something just snapped in me and I thought, "I need to break this down so any liberals who read this will understand just how stupid it sounds." So here goes.

"We are in Cuba, a country that approaches the celebration of 50 years of its revolution. Cubans describe the present period as a “Kairotic” passage, a time of crisis and opportunity."
One should check out various meanings of words before they use them. The Urban Dictionary defines the WCC's term Kairotic as "used to express gayness or queerness or just to make fun of people who you don't like." To be gracious let's just accept the idea of a critical time. When has Cuba, the U.S., or any other nation NOT been a time of crisis and opportunity?

"The people’s suffering is acute because of the U.S.-imposed blockade and the general forces of empire. By “empire” we mean the complex and dynamic international regime of power anchored by the United States, with its military power, neoliberal globalization, racist and patriarchal ideologies and policies of environmental degradation."
Wow, what a mouthful! I cannot believe someone actually wrote this down let alone, apparently believing it to be true. Let me say, I am a registered Democrat, a Johnson, Kennedy, and Carter Democrat and even I know this stinks like a load of horse*(*@$%.

U.S. imposed blockade—what the heck? The U.S. have not been turned back ships or surrounded Cuba since 1963 missile crisis. Since the authors and others can travel to Cuba it seems some nations, Mexico and Canada, to name two, are obviously not part of the great U.S. "empire".

Complex and dynamic international regime of power anchored by the United States—this belief is right up there with those who think we the moon landing was fake, World Trade Center was destroyed by the CIA, and that Professional wrestling is a real sport. Is there no nation that is outside the reach of Darth POTUS?

Where is the outpouring of sympathy, help, aid, money, technology and the like for Cuba from those equally free-minded nations of Iran, North Korea, China, Argentina, Venezuela, Russia etc.? Oh yeah, Cuba doesn't have any way to pay for the aid and even in would-be communist nations like China it's all about the return on investment.

It's military power, neoliberal globalization, racist and patriarchal ideologies and policies of environmental degradation—yeah, and we talk funny too. They're right about the military power. The U.S. has the only "blue-water" navy in existence. We have the ability to drop a bomb on almost any place in the world, tell you when we're going to do it and there is very little the one being targeted can do about it. When it absolutely, positively has to be blown up over night we can get the job done in a dozen ways. In spite of this great ability, and in spite of the fact that Cuba is only a few miles from our mainline we've not done this. We've not threatened it since the 60's and there is no interest in or desire to even entertain the idea.

As far as neoliberal globalization how much international debt does Cuba owe? I don't think neoliberal is the cure all for what economically ails the world but I do believe it has a greater potential than the 70+ years of failure we saw in the socialistic economy of the USSR. Even China has adopted a much more neoliberal approach to its economy in the past decades. Why would the last bastion of Communism succumb to capitalism? Could it be because it works?

I believe it is sad that the charge of raciest and patriarchal would be used considering the nature of Latin culture and the emphasis put on being macho. Certainly the U.S. has issues, but we're miles ahead of honor killings for a daughter's dating a non-Muslim. Our nation has not broken into tribal factions over elections like Kenya, or nationalist warfare as in Serbia or into armed camps as in Lebanon. I can't help but ask the authors what have non-raciest, egalitarian nations like Denmark, Switzerland and France done to improve the situation in Cuba?
In the arena of environmental degradation we are all to blame. It's not a U.S. thing. How many of the 23 signatories to this document do not own autos, refuse to use florescent lights, and insist on non-plastic computers? The answer is ZERO. Consider the Kyoto Protocols which allow China and India to make no reductions at all to the greenhouse gas emissions. And China is putting a new coal plant in operations every week.
In spite of these forces of empire and Cubans’ relentless suffering, isolation and impoverization, we have been inspired by the ways Cubans persevere in struggle, embodying joy and resistance, dignity and self-esteem.
There is some fun stuff in this statement. First of all it makes Cuba and U.S. sound like a Star Wars movie. Secondly, it seems sad that a visiting group should be inspired rather than shocked about what has happened to their sisters and brothers in Christ. Personally, I find it rather insulting to describe the Cubans with the terms they did. What did they expect to find when they went there—depressed, zombies with no sense of pride or hope? Does that hit anyone else as a bit pretentious?

In the present moment, for example, Cubans’ earlier revolutionary successes in agrarian reform have been set back by the empire’s brutal blockade, other international developments, and by tensions within the country. Still, Cubans press forward with ongoing reform, inventively crafting new modes of agro-ecology.
Does anyone else wonder why "tensions within the country" surfaces only here in the preamble? Empire is used three times with definitions which are at best mean-spirited. Yet the 40 years of dictatorial rule is simply called tensions.

With Rev. Brown I'd have to say, I love to see my per-capita money at work in such a wonderful endeavor of fairness and justice. [choke, choke, cough, laugh]