Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I found this on the web site of St. Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church.

The Ten Commandments of Congregational Singing

  1. You shall sing!
  2. You shall sing with your heart, with all your soul and with all your might!
  3. You shall sing fearlessly, ignoring the possible wondering glances of your neighbors. They would like to sing with you if they had the nerve, and they will sing with you if you continue!
  4. You shall sing joyfully, as it is written by the prophet Isaiah; "Sing, O heaven, be joyful, O earth and break forth into singing, O mountains!"
  5. You shall sing reverently, for music is prayer!
  6. You shall not be afraid to sing, for although an individual may pray in prose or even in wordless silence, a congregation must sing!
  7. You shall not resist new melodies, for it is written in the book of Psalms:" O sing unto the Lord a new song!"
  8. You shall not mumble the melody, but shall sing it out loud, even if with occasional mistakes.
  9. You shall not hesitate to sing together with the trained chanters. They want you to join them!
  10. You shall not forget the words of the Psalmist: I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live!

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's eleven a.m. and I'm stopping to have some breakfast. Nothing too fancy, just a cup of coffee and a can of tuna, but it tastes good and is filling.  So far, this morning I tried to repair a door lock and after failing for 20 minutes, decided to install a new one.  I picked up the grounds.  I showed the painter what needs to be done in a vacant unit.  Later, I'll change a toilet seat in one of the occupied units.  I don't know how people break toilet seats.  I'm 41 years old and have never broken one.  I didn't even know it was possible until I took this job.    

In other news, we are trying to buy an income generating property in Vallejo.  It is slow going.  There are several 3 & 4 unit buildings that fall within our price range.  It's pretty amazing; the price difference between Vallejo and Santa Clara County.  Here we can't afford anything.  There we are looking at big profitable buildings.  And it is only on the north side of the bay.  Of course, I've already been thinking about where on the properties to plant the grape vines.

I began studying for the CBEST last night.  I don't have a real goal to be a high school teacher, but I think I'd like to have the credential just so I can fall back on it, if necessary.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My mouth is still asking, "why?"

Just in case someone offers you a Fernt-Branca and gin on the rocks have your "no" ready.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Investment tip

If I had money and wanted to turn it into more money I think I'd buy GE shares. Its trading near its 52-week low, has a PE ratio of 14, and, this is the important part, sells stuff people have to buy even in a depression. Just consider this one tiny little part of their business: Traffic lights. Next time you are stopped at a red light take a moment to count all the light bulbs (probably LEDs now) at that intersection. But what else do they sell? More like what don't they sell. Jet engines, jet engine parts, medical devices, health insurance, money, appliances (large and small), power plants, measuring devices, aluminum smelters, gauges (They probably made the gauges in the dashboard of your car, or at least, own the patents.), and 10 thousand other products and services. And, this might be my favorite part, they pay dividends (currently at 0.48) year after year after year.

I'm still doing well in silver and analog chips and I don't want to sell just to reinvest the money somewhere else, but if I had extra money and a 10 year horizon, GE is where I'd put it.

In other news, I've discovered that buying real estate is like a part-time job. It takes a lot of time a work. The purchasing experience is not much like buying anything else.

Yes, I am a Republican

I have a lot of very liberal friends. One is even a democrat politician. I live surrounded by Democrats. The people I vote for almost never win. But I wouldn't change parties for anything. When I was fourteen two things happened that made me a Republican. I read The Law and I went to the NAE convention in Orlando, the one were President Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil empire". In one party I saw weakness and theft and slavery. In the other I saw men, and not very special men, except they were willing to say what was true, who were willing to stand up to evil.

And then there is the economic oppression we all suffer at the hands of the Democrats. I know people who are farmers who can't legally sell the food they grow because Democrats have made laws that prevent it. I mean, if someone wants to raise free range organic meat and slaughter it cleanly and humanely, why should the government be opposed? Because Democrats think its okay to use the government's power to tell people how to live and how to make a living.

I still see it the same way. I mean, the Democrats once nominated a man for President who wouldn't even avenge his own wife's rape and murder. Did they expect someone like that to take seriously his responsibility to so terrify the potential enemies of America they they wouldn't even think of attacking us? And now they have elected a man who bows his head to foreign nobles. What's up with that?!?! A man like that wouldn't even get to pour coffee at Republican County Committee meetings, let alone get to be President. Then there is that whole business about killing babies. Most, but not all Republicans think of it as murder, while most Democrats think of it as a sacrament. Weakness, slavery, and and death or strength, liberty, and life? For me its an easy choice.

I am so looking forward to the elections in November.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Soundtrack: Who is Daddy Claxton?

When I was a kid in Florida I used to play this song on my mom's old martin guitar. The Carter Family used to blast this song into the U.S. from across the Mexican border back before the big radio networks would play country music. I've heard that early version of the song, and it seems just a little bit too tame for a song about a steam locomotive burning up the tracks on a cross-country drive to deilver the body of Daddy Claxton to Dixie. I think this version reveals the true nature of that thrain: Wild, too fast, almost ready to jump the tracks. And who was Daddy Claxton? Maybe Roy Acuff knows, since he was the first to ad thatverse to the song, the earlist recordings of the song by the Carter Family do not know Daddy Claxton. Nevertheless, "may his name forever stand."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"We have concluded that when the principle of phyletism (i.e. ecclesiastical nationalism) is juxtaposed with the teaching of the Gospel and the constant practice of the Church, it is not only foreign to it, but also completely opposed, to it. We decree the following in the Holy Spirit: 1. We reject and condemn racial division, that is, racial differences, national quarrels and disagreements in the Church of Christ, as being contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers, on which the holy Church is established and which adorn human society and lead it to Divine piety. 2. In accordance with the holy canons, we proclaim that those who accept such division according to races and who dare to base on it hitherto unheard-of racial assemblies are foreign to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are real schismatics." The Pan-Orthodox Synod of Constantinople, 1872

There is a parish of the Orthodox Church in America in the little town of Saratoga. English is the liturgical language with some parts repeated in Slavonic and/or Greek. It has been there since since 1951 but still meets in a remodeled house on land it owns. It offers many services per week but on Sundays and some major feasts it violates The 80% Rule. The parish needs a larger temple. It struggles financially.

There is also in Saratoga a more recently established parish of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was established in 1961 but has few services per week. It has plans for a beautiful temple and meets in a temporary building on land it owns. I might be wrong about this, but it does not seem to be any closer to building the new temple than it was 10 years ago.

Suggestion: Merge these two parishes, build much larger building designed by this firm, sing the services in English with Serbian, Slavonic, and Greek. Sell the smaller property, and incorporate two 3-bedroom apartments in the design of the church for clergy and their families. The parish name could be "Orthodox Christian Church of Ss. Michael and Nicholas". They could have two altar feasts each year. And there is recent precedent out of England for a parish having two bishops, which would have to be the case until the Great and Holy Council unifies the jurisdictions in America.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks were able to achieve remarkable things, no doubt. Philosophy, science, viniculture, art, politics, and architecture were advanced greatly by the Greeks. How? How were they able to do this when people in other civilizations were just struggling to get ahead? Well, the Greeks didn't spend a lot of time accumulating personal wealth. They were satisfied with a roof, one garment, and a diet consisting of wine, olives, a little grain and, and once in a very great while, meat and some cheese. Even the furnishings of their houses were plain. Sparta went so far as to mandate rough-hewed ceilings and door posts in order to make fancy furniture look out of place.

If I lived as simply as an ancient Greek, or as simply as an early Christian, or as simply as all Orthodox monks - ummm, except for the obligations of marriage, of course. Or as quite a few of my non-monastic brothers and sisters. What might I achieve then?

Monday, August 09, 2010

He Will Not Let You Fall

"But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. For old age is not honored for length of time, nor measured by number of years; but understanding is gray hair for men, and a blameless life is ripe old age. There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while living among sinners he was taken up. He was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile his soul. For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness. Yet the people saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to heart, that God's grace and mercy are with his elect, and he watches over his holy ones." Wisdom 4:7-15

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Excerpt from the Synodikon

To those who study Hellenic sciences and do not take them as tools of instruction only but follow their futile theories, being so thoroughly convinced of their truth that they shamelessly introduce them and teach them to others, sometimes secretly and sometimes openly, anathema! anathema! anathema!