Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumnal Bounty

Tonight I cooked pumpkin stew. I didn't have a recipe. I just winged it, and it turend out pretty good. Here is what I did.

1. Removed the casings from three spicy Italian sausages, mashed them into bits, and browned them
2. Diced a yellow onion and sauteed until golden brown
3. reyhdrated a couple of handfulls of dried wild mushrooms in a quart of chicken stock
4. cleaned and diced one small pumpkin
5. chopped three celery sticks
6. minced 4 garlic cloves
7. diced 8 plum plum tomatoes (this was probably the last of the tomatoes until next summer. It rained today.)
8. Put all of the above ingredients in a 6 quart pan over medium heat.
stirred in 1 16-oz can of corn, 2 cups of raisins, pepper, dried oregano, dried sage, and a couple of handfulls of baby carrots, and salt. Sitrred occasionally.
9. cleaned three medium pumpkins
10. chopped two cups of Italian parsley and added it to the pot
11. cooked the stew about 5 more minutes, divided it up between the three wating pumpkins
12. put one bay leaf in each pumpkin
13. put lids on pumpkins, making sure they were each a little bit off to the side
14. put pumpkins in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.
15. increased heat to 400 for 10 more minutes, until the outsides of the pumpkins started to brown
16. removed from oven and served immediately
17. After the stew had all been consumed the flesh of the pumpkins made a nice desert when sprinkeld with grade B maple syrup. (oddly, grade B tastes better than grade A.)

Hmmm. Now I'm in the mood for eggnog.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Something to cheer me up.

Well, I droppped my ballot off at the reisgistrar of voters office. There is nothing else I can do, besides praying that God's will be done. So, no more politics on this blog for a while. It makes me too sad. Here is something that makes me very happy. During eveing prayers two nights ago Basil (age three)said the entire Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. I don't think he can say it all by himself but as I slowly chant the first word of each line he hurridly says the whole line. So, as I am just chanting " one God..." he is already saying "...maker of heaven and earth...". Then he waits for me to start the next line before he rushes on a head of me. It's really cute. Maybe he thinks each line is a little race and he has to finish before me.

I wonder how Obama hides his fangs.

When Your Father Starts Shooting Heroin

In my neighborhood I am surrounded by ebullient Obama supporters. Signs, banners, stickers all proclaim the victory of the Wicked Man. My neighbors are rejoicing in the destruction of our country. The sadness in my heart is almost more than I can bear. All I can compare it to is the feeling I might have had if I'd discovered my Father had become a heroin addict. It looks like the country I love, and it sounds like the country I love but it is something else now. It is self-absorbed, short-sighted, willing to sacrifice every good thing to sate evil desire, forgetful of the past, and self-destructive. But there are memories of good things, of the way we used to be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

He Will Appoint Judges

"[W]e need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." The Wicked Man, July 2007

O God, the Righteous Judge, save us from this lawless man, please.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I was asked a question

My midterm exam in one class asked me a question that I really enjoyed answering. Infact, I enjoyed it so much that I thought you might enjoy reading the answer too. My only regret is that the footnotes won't post.

Q: Make a case that the world has, or has not, reached its limits. Support your case (either way) with evidence. (15 points)

A: The first thing that has to be decided is what is meant by limits. I don’t know what that means. Does it mean there is no more room for anyone to live here? Does it mean there is not enough food for one more mouth? Or does it mean there are too many people for certain other people to live they way they want to live? The population of the earth grows every day. So, obviously, the earth did not reach its limit last year, last week, or even yesterday as the population grew today.

People have always moved from one place to another depending on resource availability. Hunter/gatherers and pastoralists are known for their nomadic way of life; the former following game, the latter following pasture. They run out of their required resource and move somewhere else. But those types of societies do not produce enough food for large populations. Large populations require agriculture. I assume that we will continue to adapt. When we run out of something we will do without or find a substitute.

It was only with the cultivation of grain in Anatolia and the ”fertile crescent”, grapes and olives in Greece and Italy, corn in meso-America, and rice in India and China that populations could grow and great nations develop. But is there a limit to how much can be grown? Well, yes. The world is finite. It stands to reason that there is a limit to how many people can live on this globe. But have we reached that limit? No. I don’t think so.

Much has been made of higher prices. The CRB Commodity Index shows a dramatic increase in prices from 1970 to 2008. But what does that mean? Does it mean more people are going hungry? Not necessarily. It means that more people have the money to buy commodities, thus there is upward pressure is put on the price. But that doesn’t mean there is no other food. It means that the food people desire is going up in price. But what about food people do not desire? I could have a rich diet in acorns if I wanted. And it would be free since there are oak trees all around where I live. But I prefer wheat, corn, barley, rice, etc. I could eat miner’s lettuce and wild fennel which grow all over the bay area. But I prefer cabbage and onions. I turn down free food and opt for buying commodities, applying my own little bit of upward pressure to the price.

But back to the question, has the world reached its limits? I am a man, and very anthropocentric, so I can only think this must mean, are we able to produce enough food to feed ourselves? To that question the answer is yes.
The United States (And I really am only concerend with the Untied States. Other countries have more or less arable land per capita.) has 9,161,923 sq km, or 2,263,960,480 acres of land. 18.01% of it, or 409,776,847 acres of that land is arable.

According to the Kansas Wheat Commission, on average, in the U.S. an acre of land produces 37.1 bushels of wheat. (This yield does not depend on synthetic fertilizers. There are some organic farmers in Montana getting 80 to 100 bushels per acre.) Those 37.1 bushels can be made into 2,226 pounds of whole grain flour. That flour can, depending on the recipe, be made into 1,400 to 2,500 loaves of bread.

One acre of US farmland combined with the sweat of the farmer produces enough wheat for about 2,000 loaves of bread …How many acres do you need to feed you for a year? The answer is not very many. So, how many bushels of wheat did American farmers produce in 2007? Well, it was only 7% of total world production, so it might not seem like much. But it was. It was a whopping 2,066,723,000 bushels. And 2008 is even bigger.

But what about Hawaii and south Florida? That’s tropical and wheat doesn’t grow well in tropical weather. No problem! Already, citrus fruits, papaya, pineapple, macadamia nuts, and sugar cane produce a tremendous amount of calories. But what else grows well in the tropics? Yams. According to the University of Hawaii, an acre of tropical farm land can typically produces 12,000 pounds of yams per year. Assuming someone eats 5 pounds of yams per day, this being a goodly portion containing nearly 2,700 calories, six people can live off the yams produced on one acre of land, and there will be enough yams left over (about 1/8 of the entire crop) to sell on the market or feed to milking goat.

And I could go on and on about the abundance of protein in our bean crops and from dairy sources. I could write page after page dealing with corn, oats, rice, barley, rye, potatoes, apples, olives, plums, grapes, oranges, and oats. There is no food shortage. There won’t be a food shortage in the United States for many many years because of three facts:

Fact: One acre of land can feed four people.

Fact: 1,637,000,000 (approx.) people can eat off the arable land in the United States. (Arable acres x 4)

Fact: The population of the United States is only about 300,000,000

We have a whole lot of growing to to before we run out of food.

And one more thing: Arable land doesn’t even count rangeland unsuitable for farming. Just think about the possibilities in Alaska! Right now there is almost no food production up there, but in time, there could be vast herds of reindeer supplying people all over America with protein! We have not even come near the Earth's limits for sustaining life. But when we do some of us will die and we'll just keep going.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Soundtrack: What do Frankie Vali and Denise Van Outen have in Common?

I heard this song many many years ago. I had it on an LP when I was a kid but I haven't thought of it in at least a decade. Nevertheless, I've been walking around whistling this song for more than a week. Why? Well, because I was at a gas station filling up the tank when I heard Lauryn Hill's voice flowing out of the windows of the next car over. Of course, Ms. Hills version was beautiful (except for the ugly rap bits), but she wasn't the first one to sing this song. Andy Williams recorded it. The S.F.-based band Boys Town Gang tarted it up in a very danceable disco version that one can still heard in some Bay Area night clubs. Gloria Gaynor (with lots of cowbell), Bobby Darrin, Denise van Outen, Heath Ledger, Nancy Wilson, and Englebert Humperdink (What is up with that name?) have all sung it. I've heard Filipino wedding singers sing the song for the first dance. I and a bunch of other boys sang the song to a bunch of girls at summer camp. I've heard mariachi orchestras play it loud with thumping guitars and martial trumpets. I've heard raggae, bluegrass, and karaoke versions. And I really dig a totally fabulous Spanish duo called Las Seventies who do an absolutely kicky version of the song. (They're like an Iberian version of the California-based Cheeseballs And what's up with calling a band who records music written by other people a cover band? Did Sinatra? Did Dino? Does Dame Kiri sing anything not written by someone other than herself? Never. And she was knighted for her singing!)
Well, I got a little of topic there, didn't I. Sorry about that. What I meant to say is that there are many great recordings of this song, but the version I had on an LP when I was 9 years old, and the voice I hear singing the song in my head is this one...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Liturgy in Tanzania

I love this picture. Doesn't a straw floor make you think of a certain stable? And the event, the venerating with incense of the layity, is one of my favorite things in the liturgy. I have a tendency to over-remember my lowliness (I'm sure its the influence of Luther's hymns) and need to be reminded that even though the image is marred, I do still bear the image of God.

How long?

In the Great Depression the U.S. government confiscated gold held by private persons. Today, even though the Dow is down about 30% from its historic high, the massed retirement savings of Americans are one of the largest pools of wealth in the history of the world. How long will it be before the U.S. Government takes what is left of that money from us. I predict it will happen in January.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The have enough money for a lunar exploration program. They have enough money for a nuclear weapons program. They produce so much food that they have become a net food exporter. I just have one question: Why is the U.S. government giving American taxpayer money to India?

What is wrong with our country?

Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder why Obama's friend,Ayers is still alive? Treason is still a captal crime, isn't it?

Polamalu is a team captain

I don't really follow sports at all. In fact, I didn't even know baseball season was over until my wife told me. I still don't know who won the world series. Anyway, If I have a reason to follow a sport it usally has nothing to do with the game itself, which usually is irrational and confusing. I mean, I just can't see the point in getting excited about moving a ball back and forth on a field. I kind of like baseball though, if I have season tickets and go to at least half the home games, and they are in San Francisco, and I can drink beer and watch the sailboats out in the bay. That's nice. But anyway, I'm off topic. I wanted to mention that the Orthodox NFL player, Troy Polamalu is a team captain. I don't know when it happened, but congratulations Troy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Proposition 8: The Orthodox Bishops Speak

The Orthodox Bishops with authority over California say it is "imperitive" that Propositon 8 passes and direct the faithful to vote for it. In case you are interested, +BENJAMIN is my bishop.


in Support of Proposition 8:

A State Constitutional Amendment to Restore the Definition of Marriage

The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history — and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed to exist at those couples' discretion as "marriages," but that the state of California is forbidden to refer to these couplings as anything but "marriages."

Orthodox Christianity holds in high regard the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family. The Orthodox Church must and shall remain true to its faith and tradition, and affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, given by God to one another for salvation, mutual support, encouragement, love and the ability to bear children.

As members of the Church and as citizens of this great land, we cannot withdraw from the society in which we live. Our parishes and our faithful are called upon to be "salt and light," to paraphrase Christ, and as such, they engage with their neighbors in acts of charity and love. We will continue our charitable works, and our engagement with society — including to faithfully teach the truth about Christian principles of living.

The Orthodox Church in the United States thrives and grows, in many respects, because of the enduring principles upon which this great country was founded. Our definitions of basic institutions such as marriage, shaped by the unfathomable forces of love and nature coupled with the experience of all recorded human history, rightly derive from what the Founders of our country knew as the "natural law" of "nature and nature's God".

It is in this light that the Orthodox Christian bishops of California reject the decision of the California Supreme Court in In re Marriage Cases. The institution of marriage emanates from something transcending our passing political institutions, and cannot be unilaterally altered in this way. We therefore must act when that promulgation directly contradicts our faith — and threatens the very foundation of Orthodoxy's flourishing in America.

Therefore, we, the Orthodox bishops of California, call upon the faithful, as responsible and concerned citizens of California, to overturn this ruling by the California Supreme Court by voting in favor of Proposition 8 this coming November. This proposition is a regrettably necessary measure to restore the true definition of marriage in the eyes of our state. A state that believes same-sex couplings constitute "marriage" implicitly — and sooner or later, explicitly — denies the role of the Church and all faiths that adhere to traditional values in public life. Please exercise your citizenship and vote in November.

The passage of Proposition 8 is an imperative.

With Archpastoral Blessings,

+Metropolitan GERASIMOS - Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco

+Bishop JOSEPH - Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, Antiochian Archdiocese of North America

+Bishop MAXIM - Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America

+Bishop BENJAMIN - Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of the West

This Doesn't Happen Often

All of the Orthodox primates (minus the American primate, because we don't currently have one) have issued a statement.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

1. Through the Grace of God, the Primates and the Representatives of the local Orthodox Churches have gathered from 10-12 October, 2008, in the Phanar, at the invitation and under the presidency of the First among us, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of the proclamation of this year as the year of Saint Paul, Apostle to the Nations. We have deliberated in fraternal love on the issues that concern the Orthodox Church, and participating in the festivities of this occasion, we celebrated together the Holy Eucharist in the Most Sacred Patriarchal Church of the Ecumenical Throne, today, 12 October 2008, Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. During these days, we have been strengthened by the truth of the gifts of divine providence received by the Apostle to the Nations, which rendered him a superb “chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15) of God and a shining model of apostolic ministry for the body of the Church.
The entire Orthodox Church is honoring this Apostle during the current year of the Lord, promoting him as an example to its faithful for a contemporary witness of our faith to “those near and those afar” (Eph. 2:17).

2. The Orthodox Church, having the understanding of the authentic interpretation of the teaching of the Apostle to the Nations, in both peaceful and difficult times of its two-thousand year historical course, can and must promote to the contemporary world the teaching not only regarding the restoration in Christ of the unity of the entire human race, but also regarding the universality of His work of redemption, through which all the divisions of the world are overcome and the common nature of all human beings is affirmed.
Nevertheless, the faithful promotion of this message of redemption also presupposes overcoming the internal conflicts of the Orthodox Church through the surrendering of nationalistic, ethnic and ideological extremes of the past. For only in this way will the word of Orthodoxy have a necessary impact on the contemporary world.

3. Inspired by the teaching and the work of the Apostle Paul, we underscore first and foremost, the importance of the duty of Mission for the life of the Church, and in particular for the ministry of us all, in accordance with the final commandment of the Lord: “you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem, but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The evangelization of God’s people, but also of those who do not believe in Christ, constitutes the supreme duty of the Church. This duty must not be fulfilled in an aggressive manner, or by various forms of proselytism, but with love, humility and respect for the identity of each individual and the cultural particularity of each people. All Orthodox Churches must contribute to this missionary effort, respecting the canonical order.

4. The Church of Christ today fulfills it ministry in a rapidly developing world, which has now become interconnected through means of communication and the development of means of transportation and technology. At the same time however, the extent of alienation, divisions and conflicts is also increasing. Christians emphasize that the source of this condition is the alienation of man from God. No change in social structures or of rules of behavior suffices to heal this condition. The Church consistently points out that sin can only be conquered through the cooperation of God and humankind.

5. Under such circumstances, the contemporary witness of Orthodoxy for the ever-increasing problems of humanity and of the world becomes imperative, not only in order to point out their causes, but also in order to directly confront the tragic consequences that follow. The various nationalistic, ethnic, ideological and religious contrasts continuously nurture dangerous confusion, not only in regard to the unquestionable ontological unity of the human race, but also in regard to man’s relationship to sacred creation. The sacredness of the human person is constrained to partial claims for the “individual”, whereas his relationship toward the rest of sacred creation is subjected to his arbitrary use or abuse of it.
These divisions of the world introduce an unjust inequality in the participation of individuals, or even peoples in the goods of Creation; they deprive billions of people of basic goods and lead to the misery for the human person; they cause mass population migration, kindle nationalistic, religious and social discrimination and conflict, threatening traditional internal societal coherence. These consequences are still more abhorrent because they are inextricably linked with the destruction of the natural environment and the entire ecosystem.

6. Orthodox Christians share responsibility for the contemporary crisis of this planet with other people, whether they are people of faith or not, because they have tolerated and indiscriminately compromised on extreme human choices, without credibly challenging these choices with the word of faith. Therefore, they also have a major obligation to contribute to overcoming the divisions of the world.
The Christian teaching about the ontological unity between the human race and sacred creation, as expressed by the entire mystery of the redemptive work in Christ, constitutes the foundation for interpretation of man’s relationship with God and the world.

7. Efforts to distance religion from societal life constitute the common tendency of many modern states. The principle of a secular state can be preserved; however, it is unacceptable to interpret this principle as a radical marginalization of religion from all spheres of public life.

8. The gap between rich and poor is growing dramatically due to the financial crisis, usually the result of manic profiteering by economic factors and corrupt financial activity, which, by lacking an anthropological dimension and sensitivity, does not ultimately serve the real needs of mankind. A viable economy is that which combines efficacy with justice and social solidarity.

9. With regard to the issue of the relationship of Christian faith to the natural sciences, the Orthodox Church has avoided pursuing ownership of developing scientific research and assuming a position on every scientific question. From the Orthodox viewpoint, freedom of research constitutes a God-given gift to humanity. While affirming this however, at the same time Orthodoxy underscores the dangers concealed in certain scientific achievements, the limits of scientific knowledge, and the existence of another “knowledge” that does not immediately fall with the scope of science. This other “knowledge” proves in many ways to be necessary for establishing the proper boundaries of freedom, and utilizing the fruits of science by the restraint of egocentrism and respect for the value of the human person.

10. The Orthodox Church believes that technological and economic progress should not lead to the destruction of the environment and the exhaustion of natural resources. Greed to satisfy material desires leads to the impoverishment of the human soul and the environment. We must not forget that the natural riches of the earth are not only man’s property, but primarily God’s creation: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell therein” (Ps.23:1). We ought to remember that not only today’s generation, but also future generations are entitled to have a right to the resources of nature, which the Creator has granted us.

11. In firmly supporting every peaceful effort for just solutions to conflicts that arise, we salute the position of the Churches of Russia and Georgia and their fraternal cooperation during the period of recent military conflict. In this way, the two Churches fulfilled the obligation to the ministry of reconciliation. We hope that their mutual ecclesiastical efforts will contribute to overcoming the tragic consequences of military operations and the swift reconcilement of the peoples.

12. In the ever-growing confusion of our times, the institution of family and marriage faces a crisis. In a spirit of understanding the new complex social condition, the Church is obliged to find ways to spiritually support and generally encourage the young and large families.

We turn our thoughts especially to the young people, in order to call them to actively participate both in the sacramental and sanctifying life, as well as in the missionary and social work of the Church, transferring their problems and their expectations to the Church, since they constitute not only its future, but also its present.

13. As Primates and the Representatives of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches, fully aware of the gravity of the aforementioned problems, and laboring to confront them directly as “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries” (1 Cor. 4:1), we proclaim from this See of the First-throne among the Churches and we re-affirm:
i) our unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church in “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), the faith of our Fathers, in the common Divine Eucharist and in the faithful observance of the canonical system of Church governance by settling any problems that arise from time to time in relations among us with a spirit of love and peace.
ii) our desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology. In this respect we welcome the proposal by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to convene Panorthodox Consultations within the coming year 2009 on this subject, as well as for the continuation of preparations for the Holy and Great Council. In accordance with the standing order and practice of the Panorthodox Consultations in Rhodes, it will invite all Autocephalous Churches.
iii) our desire to continue, despite any difficulties, the theological dialogues with other Christians, as well as the interreligious dialogues, especially with Judaism and Islam, given that dialogue constitutes the only way of solving differences among people, especially in a time like today, when every kind of division, including those in the name of religion, threaten people’s peace and unity.
iv) our support for the initiatives by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as by other Orthodox Churches, for the protection of the natural environment. Today’s ecological crisis, which is due to both spiritual and ethical reasons, renders imperative the obligation of the Church to contribute through the spiritual means at her disposal, to the protection of God’s creation from the consequences of human greed. In this regard, we reaffirm the designation of the 1st of September, the first day of the Ecclesiastical Year, as the day of special prayers for the protection of God’ creation, and we support the introduction of the subject of the natural environment in the catechetical, homiletic, and general pastoral activity of our Churches, as this is already the case in some.
v) the decision to proceed with the necessary actions, in order to form an Inter-Orthodox Committee to study issues of bioethics, on which the world also awaits the position of Orthodoxy.

Addressing these things to the Orthodox people throughout the world and to the entire oikoumene, we pray “again and again” that peace, justice, and God’s love may finally prevail in people’s lives.

“Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, glory be to him in the Church and in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:20-21). Amen.

In the Phanar, 12th October 2008.

+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
+ Theodore of Alexandria
+ Ignatius of Antioch
+ Theophilos of Jerusalem
+ Alexey of Moscow
+ Amphilochios of Montenegro
(representing the Church of Serbia)
+ Laurentiu of Transylvania
(representing the Church of Romania)
+ Dometiyan of Vidin
(representing the Church of Bulgaria)
+ Gerasime of Zugdidi
(representing the Church of Georgia)
+ Chrysostomos of Cyprus
+ Ieronymos of Athens
+ Jeremiasz of Wrocław
(representing of the Church of Poland)
+ Anastasios of Tirana
+ Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anselm Is a Bobcat

Pack 204 had an award ceremony tonight. Anselm Samuel received his Bobcat Rank (though he has to wear the patch upside down until he performs a good deed) and a silver beltloop for chess proficiency. The District Scout Commissioner, a man who earned his Eagle Scout in the 1950s was there. He had a lot of fun. Oh, I am tired. Must go to bed. Now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Decision Has Been Reached

After much thought, discussion with my wife, and a spread sheet analysis of costs (money and time), a decision has been reached. Today I begin the process of applying for admission to two graduate programs: The M.A. in humanities at CSU Dominguez Hills and the M.L.I.S. at San Jose State University. I don't know which one I'll choose if they both accept me. If they both reject me I don't know what I'll do, either, but I don't like to think about that possibility.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Soundtrack: Cursed is the man who gambles with notorious pimps and gangsters.

"William Lyons, 25, a levee hand, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o'clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan Streets, by Lee Shelton, a carriage driver. Lyons and Shelton were friends and were talking together. Both parties, it seems, had been drinking and were feeling in exuberant spirits. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Shelton's hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return. Lyons refused, and Shelton withdrew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen. When his victim fell to the floor Shelton took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away. He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Shelton is also known as 'Stag' Lee." St. Louis Press-Democrat, 1895.

Who hasn't recorded a version of this song? I mean, even Samuel L. Jackson has recorded it. I had many to choose from but I like this performance a lot. This is the Isely Brothers doing an exciting version for a Brtish TV show. (I won't put someting so ugly on my blog, but I thnk the version that most accuratley captures the horror of the murder is by Nick Cave.) Note, the gun in the clip is not a .44 revolver as Stagger Lee actually used, and as the song reports. It is a 9mm parabellum.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When Evil is Called Good

It is called an effort to protect marriage. But really, it should be called an effort to protect children.

The First Christian

Remember that scene in the movie when John Wayne said "Truly this man was the son of God"? Well today is that soldier's feast day. Saint Longinus, who my former pastor, Brian Morgan of PBCC called the "first Christian" has been one of my favorite saints ever since childhood. Of course, I didn't know about his life until I became Orthodox but I always suspected that something woderful must have happened to him. Well, several wonderful things did occur. Here is what the OCA Website says about him:

The Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion, a Roman soldier, served in Judea under the command of the Governor, Pontius Pilate. When our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, it was the detachment of soldiers under the command of Longinus which stood watch on Golgotha, at the very foot of the holy Cross. Longinus and his soldiers were eyewitnesses of the final moments of the earthly life of the Lord, and of the great and awesome portents that appeared at His death. These events shook the centurion's soul. Longinus believed in Christ and confessed before everyone, "Truly this was the Son of God" (Mt. 27:54).

According to Church Tradition, Longinus was the soldier who pierced the side of the Crucified Savior with a spear, and received healing from an eye affliction when blood and water poured forth from the wound.

After the Crucifixion and Burial of the Savior, Longinus stood watch with his company at the Sepulchre of the Lord. These soldiers were present at the All-Radiant Resurrection of Christ. The Jews bribed them to lie and say that His disciples had stolen away the Body of Christ, but Longinus and two of his comrades refused to be seduced by the Jewish gold. They also refused to remain silent about the miracle of the Resurrection.

Having come to believe in the Savior, the soldiers received Baptism from the apostles and decided to leave military service. St Longinus left Judea to preach about Jesus Christ the Son of God in his native land (Cappadocia), and his two comrades followed him.

The fiery words of those who had actually participated in the great events in Judea swayed the hearts and minds of the Cappadocians; Christianity began quickly to spread throughout the city and the surrounding villages. When they learned of this, the Jewish elders persuaded Pilate to send a company of soldiers to Cappadocia to kill Longinus and his comrades. When the soldiers arrived at Longinus's village, the former centurion himself came out to meet the soldiers and took them to his home. After a meal, the soldiers revealed the purpose of their visit, not knowing that the master of the house was the very man whom they were seeking. Then Longinus and his friends identified themselves and told the startled soldiers to carry out their duty.

The soldiers wanted to let the saints go and advised them to flee, but they refused to do this, showing their firm intention to suffer for Christ. The holy martyrs were beheaded, and their bodies were buried at the place where the saints were martyred. The head of St Longinus, however, was sent to Pilate.

Pilate gave orders to cast the martyr's head on a trash-heap outside the city walls. After a while a certain blind widow from Cappadocia arrived in Jerusalem with her son to pray at the holy places, and to ask that her sight be restored. After becoming blind, she had sought the help of physicians to cure her, but all their efforts were in vain.

The woman's son became ill shortly after reaching Jerusalem, and he died a few days later. The widow grieved for the loss of her son, who had served as her guide.

St Longinus appeared to her in a dream and comforted her. He told her that she would see her son in heavenly glory, and also receive her sight. He told her to go outside the city walls and there she would find his head in a great pile of refuse. Guides led the blind woman to the rubbish heap, and she began to dig with her hands. As soon as she touched the martyr's head, the woman received her sight, and she glorified God and St Longinus.

Taking up the head, she brought it to the place she was staying and washed it. The next night, St Longinus appeared to her again, this time with her son. They were surrounded by a bright light, and St Longinus said, Woman, behold the son for whom you grieve. See what glory and honor are his now, and be consoled. God has numbered him with those in His heavenly Kingdom. Now take my head and your son's body, and bury them in the same casket. Do not weep for your son, for he will rejoice forever in great glory and happiness."

The woman carried out the saint's instructions and returned to her home in Cappadocia. There she buried her son and the head of St Longinus. Once, she had been overcome by grief for her son, but her weeping was transformed into joy when she saw him with St Longinus. She had sought healing for her eyes, and also received healing of her soul.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Special Books

In the past I read a lot of really heavy stuff: Plato, Aurelius, Schaeffer, Tillich, Locke, Eusebius, St. Agustine, Kant, etc. Mostly, it was hard work and not very much fun. Sometimes one is asked, "If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, what one book would you take with you?" I can honestly say, not the kind of book I read in former days. But in the past few years, only since getting married and having young children living with me, I have encountered some books that can best be described as good, and I've read them aloud, or else they have been read aloud to me. I would take any of them to that deserted island. I'd like to recommend a few of them to you.

I've mentioned The Wind in the Willows before. I am mentioning it again, now. Please, read this book to someone, share it with him, and every time either of you sees sunlight on a stream or comes in out of the rain or drinks a glass of beer you'll smile at each other, knowing that each of you is remembering the adventurous and comfortable friedship of Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger.

I think most Americans are familiar with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Some of those books are certainly better than others of the series. But one, from my point of view, stands head and shoulders abouve the rest. Farmer Boy, about the boyhood of Laura's husband is pure joy to read. The descriptions a nine year old boy's life on a farm, the enormous exhuberence he has for the gargantuan portions of food he eats, his love of horses, the care he shows his young team of oxen, and his growing business-sense will charm you, and will wet your eyes.

Similar to Farmer Boy is The Ox Cart Man. It isn't a novel. Rather it is a poem, much expanded since it first appeard in the New Yorker, and wedded to beautiful illustrations (the illustrations earned the Caldecott Medal for this book) of farm and town life in 18th Century New England. The book explains the nature of work, family, economics, and the march of seasons in less than 30 pages. Accessible to children as young as 2 years old, this book should be required reading for all who study political science or economics.

Besides those few are others: The Secret Garden (a gift from my sister), The Chronicles of Narnia, The Water Babies, Stephen's Feast (A gift from Athanasia's Godmother), Peter Pan and The Complete Tales of Winnie the Poo (both which are very much unlike what Disney portrayed) are all wonderful books. They feed the good wolf. And there have been many many more.

"If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless." That is the mesage of the most recent addition to our shelf of "special books". The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a book about sin (the most horrible kinds: pride & vanity), loss, death, sanctification and redemption told though the experiences of a ceramic rabbit. The book has nominated for a Quill award, won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction, and was given the Parents Choice Gold Medal. The highest honor it has received is a Christoper Award for its amazingly beautiful and honest portrayal of the better part of humanity, something that is hard to find in many books.

Bagram Ibatoulline's illustrations for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane are astounding quazi-photo-realism paintings that, like th words they accompany, are real works of art. They accomplish what so many illustrations in so many books fail to do; portray the deep meaning of the book. There is one picture, at the beginning of Chapter Seventeen, that shows poverty and riches, and hope and hoplessness, place and journey, death and life, strength and the failure of strength simply by presenting the reader with nothing more than an exterior view of a one-room house. It is breathtaking.

I am beginning to wonder if it isn't the case that the best writers write for children.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama, Communist

In the video below you will see the interior of an Obama campaign office. In that office you will see a Cuban flag with Che Guevara's face painted on it.

Who was Che? He was God-hating Communist murderer. He was the founder of Communist Cuba's secret police. He is responsible for tens of thousands of executions, several dozen with his own pistol. Christians should not forget that many of Che's victims shouted "Viva Cristo Rey!" as their last words, before the bullets from the firing squad shattered the skulls and ripped open their chests. And we are about to elect Obama, who's paid staff has this flag up on the wall of the campaign office.

What is a vote for Obama? It is a vote for our own destruction. He will bring into office with him people who think the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the Securitate were good ideas that should be revived here in America.

Won't you, please, help defend your country from these terrible people?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Barbara Sokolov - Memory Eternal!

Matushka Barbara fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday afternoon.
Everything will be served at St. Seraphim's Church in Santa Rosa.

Today 6:30 PM Panahida

Tuesday 7:00 PM Funeral Service

Wednesday 9:30 AM Divine Liturgy and Burial


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Proposition 8

I have been worried about Proposition 8 being defeated at the polls. (For my readers outside of California here is some history.) Several years ago the people of California voted to affirm our historic legal tradition that only people of opposite sex can be married. We did this by passing a referendum by a 61% majority. Unfortunately, all the referendum did was create a statute. A few months ago the Supreme Court of California ruled in a 4 to 3 decision that the statute violated the Constitution of California. Now there is a new proposition, Proposition 8, to amend the California Constitution so that it overturns the Court's ruling and returns the law to its former state, meaning that only heterosexual marriage will be allowed in California. In just a few weeks we will vote on this proposition. It hasn't been looking good. Many powerful politicians, including the Attorney General and the Governor have been working for the defeat of the proposition. It is now being reported that it looks like Proposition 8 will pass. I am so relieved.

Now you might be wondering, "Why is Matt relieved? How can anything homosexuals do harm the institution of marriage?" I am not worried about anything the homosexuals do. I am worried about wat the law does. Plato taught us that the law's first job is to teach people right from wrong. It is a powerful teacher. Even my own son, when he asks me why he can't do something says, "Is that a law?" I didn't feel strongly about Proposition 8 (divorce is more damaging to marriage than homosexuals pretending to be married ever will be) but now, because of Anslem Samuel's looking to the Law to form ideas of proper behavior it is becoming more important to me that California Law be consistent with Divine Law.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Soundtrack: One Tin Soldier

I think the version of this song most people know is that recorded by Jinx Dawson (Though she was the only member of the group Coven on the recording she insisted that the whole band get credit.) for the 1971 movie Billy Jack. (As a kid I loved all the Billy Jack movies.) But the song was originally and, I think, better recorded by a Canadian group called The Original Caste. The Original Caste used several singers not just one, and had better instrumentation that gave the song a warmer and more 3-D sound. Oh! There was a strange version of the on the Sonny and Cher show. It began as a Christmas Carol. An odd memory I have about Sonny and Cher is that they were the first people I ever heard of getting divorced. I remember being horrified by the idea.

Well, I'm rambling now. I guess I'll post the video of the Jinx/Coven/Billy Jack version and let you enjoy it.

And here is the Original Caste original:

Life is Full

Basil Wenceslas' birthday party on Tuesday was a lot of fun. The only problem is that my house is too small to invite all the people we want to invite. We've decided to rectify this problem by hosting more events. I'm trying to talk Athanasia into a St. Catherine's day party with all the traditional stuff: Wagon wheel suspended from the ceiling, lamb's wool, and pledges to improve vocabulary and elocution. So far, she isn't going for it. Maybe something on St. Nicholas' Day? We'll see.

I have been aware of streaming video on Netflix but I haven't really used it for anything except kids movies. Well, earlier this week I discovered the TV show Heroes. Oh my! I think I am an addict. I watched most of the first season in just two nights. This put me way behind on my homework. Also, I think the gruesomness of the show is not good. It feeds the bad wolf and works in opposition to everyting I am trying to accomplish. So, even though I really want to see what happens in the fight beteen Peter and Sylar, and if Mohindar survived his encounter with Sylar, and why saving the cheerleader saves the world, and what the connection (competition?) between "the company" and the rich guy in Vegas is, and whether or not Jessica/Nikki get integrated... Even though I have all these dangling threads driving me nuts with anticipation and curiosity, I have to stop watching the show.

School is just no fun. It is like taking three classes in "I hate everything that is good." In the past few days, in response to assigened readings and things said by my clasmates I have defended in class the following ideas: That freedom is good, that the life of any woman is more worth saving than the life of any man, that money is not everything, that people are more important than any other physical things on the planet, that Marxism is bad, that making a profit is good, that eating meat is okay, that farmers are necessary, and that autism is not good. A couple of my classmates have expressed their admiration for me and their enjoyment of what I write for the class, but the whole year and a half of struggling against the socialism, sexual-egalitarianism, amoralism, anti-humanitariansim at the University of Massachusetts School of Community and Government Service has taken all of the fun out of school, which I used to enjoy. As of now, I have no desire to even do the reading, let alone the writing.

On Friday night, Athanasia and I went square dancing at the fairgrounds. It was a fun and exhausting time. My legs are still sore. We're going again after Church on Sunday.

Today all four of us watched the new Lion Witch and Wardrobe on DVD. I prefer the old BBC TV version as it tracks more closely to C.S. Lewis's book. Athanasia hates the BBC version because of the lousy special effects. I think they are charming. She thinks they are hokey and distracting. I think they are better because the monsters are not nightmare inducing. She thinks the BBC version beavers are utterly stupid. I think they are delightful. We might have to get a divorce,or maybe, we'll just have tea with sardines on toast.

After the movie we went for a hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains and then popped into the St. Lawrence's Church in Felton for vespers. When we left Anselm Samuel said something I thought was interesting. He said he liked their music because it was the same as the music at St. Stephen's. He was right, the music was very similar. I think they both use Arabic tones. (I don't know. I'm just guessing. I barely know tht music my parish uses.) I was surprised by his comment because we haven't been to St. Stephen's since the spring of 2006, which is a very long time ago for a 6 year old. Speaking of St. Stephen's, we are actually planning on visiting there in the morning.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I see that I have a reader from Templeton, California.

I do not know who you are, but your location is very near the last place my second son was known to live. If you are my son, please, leave a comment telling me how to contact you. I've sent letters to your last known address but have heard nothing.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tomorrow is a Birthday

Basil turns 3 tomorrow. It is hard to believe. Time is zooming by so fast. Lately, he has been saying some of the funniest things. For example, when we went for a short hike in a redwood forest on Saturday (4 deer, 2 grey squirrels, 1 red squirrel, 1 Stellars jays, 1 western scrub jay, 2 turkey vultures, 1 red tailed hawk) he kept saying "I like this moss [or tree, or forest, or path, or fern]. Me and God made it. Do you like it, too?"

You might ask, "Matt, what are you cooking for your son's birthday party?" I am making Wild Mushroom and Sausage Lazagne. Athanasia is baking cupcakes. I have no idea what we will be drinking. We haven't tlaked about it yet.

If you haven't read this you might want to.

Father Stephen writes on the Archangel Michael and there are many comments. The whole thing, post and comments together are worth reading.

After reading it you might find yourself desireing to pray the Akathist to Holy Michel, if so click here.

Glorification of St. Innocent of Alaska

From the OCA website:

Saint Innocent (secular name: John Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov) was born into the family of a church server on August 26, 1797 in the village of Anginskoye, Verkholensk District, Irkutsk province. In his fifth year he was already receiving instruction in reading and writing from his ailing father, who died in August 1803.

In 1807 the future bishop entered the Irkutsk theological seminary, subsisting on a meager state grant. In 1817, a year before completing his studies at the seminary, he married, and on May 18 of that year was ordained deacon of the Church of the Annunciation in Irkutsk. Upon graduation from the seminary in 1818, Deacon John Veniaminov was appointed a teacher in a parish school, and on May 18, 1821 he was ordained priest to serve in the Church of the Annunciation.

Father John Veniaminov served only two years in that parish, but in this short time was able to win the deepest respect of his parishioners by the purity of his life, his conscientious celebration of divine services, and his pastoral zeal.

But the Lord did not intend Father John Veniaminov to fulfill God's call in Irkutsk. Divine Providence led him onto the path of apostolic service in the distant Aleutian Islands.

At the beginning of 1823, Bishop Michael of Irkutsk received instructions from the Holy Synod to send a priest to the island of Unalaska in the Aleutians. However, no member of the Irkutsk clergy was prepared to volunteer for this arduous mission. Then Father John Veniaminov announced his willingness to devote himself to pastoral service on these distant islands.

In later life Saint Innocent would recall how after an inner struggle he had said: "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" and was consumed by a burning desire to devote himself to the service of people ignorant of Christ, but, according to eyewitnesses, eager to hear the teachings of the Gospel.

On May 7, 1823 Father John Veniaminov departed from Irkutsk for his new home accompanied by his aging mother, his wife, his infant son Innocent, and his brother Stefan. Their journey was long and exceptionally difficult. It took them more than a year to travel from Irkutsk to the island of Unalaska, which they finally reached on July 29, 1824.

It was from this point in time and place that the man who in his own lifetime became known as "the apostle of America" began his indefatigable apostolic mission, a mission that was to last almost half a century. His apostolic feats were achieved in the severest climatic conditions constantly fraught with mortal danger.

After he and his family had made their home in a wretched earthen hut, Father John Veniaminov undertook as his first task the construction of a church on the island, and set about studying the local languages and dialects. He trained some of the islanders to be carpenters, metalworkers, blacksmiths, bricklayers and stonemasons, and with their assistance in July 1825, he undertook the construction of a church, which was consecrated in honor of the Ascension the following July.

Father John Veniaminov's parish included not only the island of Unalaska, but also the neighboring Fox Islands and Pribilof Islands, whose inhabitants had been converted to Christianity before his arrival, but retained many of their pagan ways and customs. Their new spiritual father often had to travel from one island to the other, battling through the stormy ocean waves on a fragile canoe, at enormous risk to his own life and limb.

His travels over the islands greatly enhanced Father John Veniaminov's familiarity with the local dialects. In a short time he had mastered six local dialects, and selecting the most widespread of these, he devised for it an alphabet of Cyrillic letters, and translated into that dialect the Gospel according to St. Matthew, as well as the most frequently used prayers and hymns. These were so successfully adopted by the local populace that they soon displaced the shamanic chants. The zealous missionary waged a vigorous campaign against the vicious practices of the natives, and soon succeeded in eliminating them.

Father John Veniaminov's first translations, the Catechism and the Gospel According to St. Matthew, appeared in Aleut(Fox Island dialect) in 1828. He also wrote an article in this language, The Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven and compiled a grammar for this Aleut dialect. Father John Veniaminov's zeal was not confined to the propagation and affirmation of Orthodoxy amongst the Aleutians, and so in 1829, with the blessing of Bishop Michael of Irkutsk, he undertook a journey to the American mainland, to Nushagak, where he brought the word of Christ to the inhabitants of the Bering seacoast, and baptized those who believed.

In November 1834, Father John Veniaminov was transferred to Sitka Island, to the town of Novoarkhangelsk. This opened up to him a new and broader field of missionary activity amongst the Tlingits (or Kolushchans), who had not previously been missionized, due to their firm allegiance to pagan ways.

In Sitka, Father John Veniaminov devoted himself body and soul to the illumination of the Tlingit people, having first assiduously studied their dialect, mores and customs. His linguistic labors were crowned with great successes here too, and bore fruit in the composition of a scholarly work, Notes on the Kolushchan and Kodiak Tongues as well as Other Dialects of the Russo-American Territories, with a Russian-Kolushchan Glossary, the publication of which was greeted as a great event in the scholarly world.

In contemporary descriptions of Father John Veniaminov's fifteen-year missionary service on the islands of Unalaska and Sitka, he was likened to St. Stephen of Perm. His sound judgment and common sense earned him access to the coarse, but simple and good hearts of the local people. The truths of Christ's teaching were conveyed to them in accordance with their mental development: they were instructed in an atmosphere of total freedom of belief, and the truths were not forced upon them. Father John Veniaminov patiently waited until people manifested a desire to be baptized. A school was built for the local children, and he provided it with readers and textbooks that he composed and translated by his own hand into the local dialects, and he was their teacher. After leading them into the light of the Gospel, he instructed them in various crafts and trades, he even taught the Tlingits how to vaccinate. This approach won him the trust of the stubborn pagans. Father John Veniaminov's contemporaries record that the natives loved their teacher and illuminator like a real father, since he was indeed both benefactor and father, teacher and patron to his spiritual children that he had saved for Christ.

In his fifteen years of missionary activity in the Aleutian Islands, Father John Veniaminov was led by his increasing familiarity with the problems of missionary work to the conclusion that a successful development of missionary service in these areas demanded, first and foremost, the construction of many new churches, the founding of a permanent mission in the American north, the appointment of clergyman and missionaries, and the establishment of a deanery under a diocesan bishop.

This article is adapted from the English translation of the Act ot the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church published in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, English Edition, Issue 1, 1978.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

And you thought only the Nazis had a paramilitary youth movement.

Obama said:"We cannot continue to rely only on our military to achieve the national security objectives we have set. We need to have a civilian national security force..."

Be Afraid.

Be Very Afraid.

Soundtrack: A Taste of Honey

Once upon a time there were some studio musicians in the L.A. area. They were all highly skilled and worked in movies and television. But there was no glamour or excitement in that industrial kind of music.

One day a one of them said, "lets form a band and call it Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass". Some of the other musicians said, "But we aren't from Tijuana. We aren't even Mexican". And Herb said, "Hey. That's okay. In California we are free to pretend we are Mexicans."

This is Taste of Honey. I heard this song often on my brother Mark's Stereo.

They Sound Like Gangsters

I just finished watching the V.P. debate. Is it just me, or was anyone else just kind of thrilled when our next Veep called the rulers of Cuba "the Castro brothers"? In those three words she named evil and showed how small it is.

The River of God

Leah posted these words of St. Isaac of Syria on her blog:

"As a handful of sand thrown into the ocean, so are the sins of all flesh as compared with the mind of God. Just as a strongly flowing fountain is not blocked up by a handful of earth, so the compassion of the Creator is not overcome by the wickedness of His creatures."

It reminded me of the last sermon my Dad wrote. (He didn't really write them. He preached from a skeletal outline.) The last few years of his life his preaching was very poor. It was, I think, more a lack of prayer and studying than the effects of age, though his physical discomfort certainly played a part. But this last sermon was different than the others of those last few years. First of all, it was new. He prayed and studied to prepare it. He didn't just pull notes from a decades old sermon out of a drawer and re-hash what he said to an congregation in the 1960s. He was't being the professional preacher. He was being a Christian excited by the Gospel, and that made all the difference, even overcoming his physical pain. The verse of scripture he preached on was Job 28:10

"He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing."

and one of the points my Dad was making is that God does not let the things of this world keep Him from saving people. He tied it into Jesus saying he is the living water, that he is the river of life. It is a theme he built on for about 1/2 an hour. And, amazingly, my then two year old son Anslem paid attention to the whole sermon. Later that day and for several days thereafter, Anselm Samuel would pile pillows in the hallway, shout "The river of God cuts through the rocks", and then run and crash through the pillows.

Friday, October 03, 2008

This day

Athanasia left for work at 6 am. I got the boys out of bed, dressed, and fed. Anselm Samuel as at school at 8:30. Basil Wenceslas was at Kidspark by 8:50. Then I went to the hardware store to door locks, faceplates, and closet sockets. Zoomed back to the apartments to change the locks, install faceplates and sprockets, put up the blinds (bought yesterday), and OH NO!!!! The cleaners didn't do their job! Where are the cleaners? Where is the painter? There is a pile of trash on the dining room floor, there is dirt in the corners, there is dust on most surfaces. RACE RACE RACE to get everything done by noon, which is when the new tenant is comming. Changing locks, shoot! THey've changed the design since last week. How does this thing come apart. Oh, I'll read the directions. Stripped my drill's phillips bit. OUCH! I hate steel screws. From now on only brass. Got the faceplates on... "Oh! Hi! You want the keys now? Yes, the cleaner was a no-show... That's so kind of you. YEs, moving in will just mess the place up again. You're right, no reason to worry about it. THank you. Let me get these blinds up and we'll do the move in walk though" ... And here in the kitchen you'll see the paint is new, the refrigerator is clean, the garbage disposal is... um, It's broken. Hmmmm. It was working a few days ago. Is it okay if I fix this later this evening? Oh, thank you. Yes, It'll be.... Oh you're gay. No I had no idea. If you hadnt told me I never would have guessed. Um... No... I... I'm not voting for Obama/Biden. Yes, he has been a Senator a long time. No, I've never been to Alaska. Your daughter babysits? Yes, L.A. is like that. Yes, you're right, you are an open book. Welcome to your new home. Here are the keys. Sign here, please." Zoom to pick up Ansnelm Samuel and Basil Wenceslas. Very tired. Just got a phone call from Athanasia. She was in a meeting and missed her ride home. Gotta go and get her now. I am glad tomorrow is Saturday. Shoot! I was supposed to depost the rent checks in the bank today!!! YIKES!!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm a Racist?

About a week ago I was sitting in Starbucks doing my homework. At the table next to me were two gay men in their thirties and three very very old women. They were all members of their church's choir (Can you guess the denomination?) and were talking about music for the upcomming services. Eventually, the subject of their conversation turned to politics, the women all hated Sarah Palin one even saying that she was a traitor to women. One of the men criticized her for haveing so many children. One of the women said she should have encouraged her daughter to have an abortion and have a life instead of having a baby and marrying the father. One of the men said every one who does not vote for Obama is racist. The other mand said only ignorant rednecks will be voting for McCain. Then I felt personally insulted.

I didn't interject but I really really wanted to. What would I have said? I would have said, "I'm not voting for Obama and it has nothing to do with race. I voted for a black man for presedent years ago. I voted for Alan Keyes for President in 2000 because he was the most pro-life small government candidate who was in the race. I guess you didn't vote for him because you're all racists. The reason I'm not voting for Obama is because I love liberty and babies and belive that Obama, a socialist and a pro-abort, is a threat to both."

So, what is it that makes liberals call Sarah Palin "stupid"? What is it that makes them accuse me of racism because I am not voting for Sen. Obama. What is it that makes them think I cling to religion and my guns because of bitterness? I think I can totally understand where they are comming from. In general, they think the well-being of the group is more important than the rights of individuals. THey think the liberty of women is more important than the lives of babies. They see armed individuals as a threat. They think wealth inequality is a bad thing. I understand all that and can put myself into their shoes and argue their positions, often, better than they can argue them (I've actually read Marx, Webber, Kinsey, Friedan, Rousseau, and Frued). I don't think they are stupid and I don't usually think they are racists, unless I see clear evidence of it. (I try hard not to tink evil of anyone.) Most of the time I think their problem is that they are deceived or are starting with the wrong pre-suppositions. (Although, I really do believe Obama is wicked based on his votes on the Born Alive Infants bill.) Why don't they do the same for Conservatives? Why do they think we are stupid racists?