Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Have a Dream

A long time ago, when I was a boy in Tampa I read an essay by Philip Yancey about the Prophets.  So I read them.  There was a description of life when Jesus returns that really appealed to me:

"And every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken." Micah 4:4.

I know that when I looked at it I liked it because it indicated that God was going to preserve private property in the Millennium. (at the time I was a pre-trib pre-mil dispensationalist.)  Later, as I began thinking about this verse more I would sit around drawing maps of my future vineyard and orchard. I even tried to make it real, or as real as I could, given my circumstances.  For example, I planted grape vines at several of the rented places I lived. I tried to buy a farm once but my first wife opposed the idea. I still look at and listen to farm reports on the radio. I keep up with my local ag industry, too.   I tried to talk about owning a farm with Athanasia but she didn't like the idea either. 

This morning something occurred to me.  I am completely free to have a farm now.  So here is the plan: 

1.  Get a job
2. Get out of the San Francisco Bay area (eastern Oregon?  Michigan?)
2.  Get my student loans out of default (or maybe, move to another country and not worry about the student loans.)
3.  Buy a small farm close enough to a city so I can work a job during the week and take care of my vines and/or trees on weekends.

It might seem unrealistic, but at this point in my life, I think I'd rather have this unrealistic dream than my too real reality.  Oh, man, I start a fast food job for way less than I need in just a few days.  Who am I kidding?  This life is over.  I'll probably die in poverty, on a sidewalk, covered in an old cardboard box. But there is Micah 4:4  Someday, not in this life but the next, I'll have a farm.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Deficits and Lies

While driving to Concord yesterday, I listened to the President's press conference.  I wasn't surprised by anything he said.  However, near the end of the press conference he said, "You know, if you're concerned about long-term debt, that's a good thing to be concerned about, but don't pretend as if America's going bankrupt at a time when the deficits have been cut in half."  

Cut in half?  Really?

Here are the budget deficits for the last few years:

FY 2013     $973 billion (Obama)
FY 2012  $1,087 billion (Obama)
FY 2011  $1,300 billion (Obama)
FY 2010  $1,294 billion (Obama
FY 2009  $1,413 billion (Bush)
FY 2008     $458 billion (Bush)
FY 2007     $161 billion (Bush
FY 2006     $248 billion (Bush)
FY 2005     $318 billion (Bush)

So, here is my question.  How is the current deficit of $973 billion half of any of Obama's previous deficits?  How is $973 billion half of Bush's largest deficit? So, the President lied.  Or he's stupid. 

And quite apart from that, these deficits do not even include all the increase in our national debt. The federal deficit is the amount each year by which federal outlays in the federal budget exceed federal receipts, but the gross federal debt increases each year by more than the amount of the deficit each year. That is because an enormous amount of federal borrowing is not counted in the budget.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Cocktail of the week: Daquiri

I have a pet peeve.  It really bugs me that bartenders and their patrons are so unimaginative that they can't think of new drink names.  The adulteration of the name Martini is probably the most extreme example (The use of a cocktail glass does not make a mixture of apple brandy, crème de cacao, and vodka into an "apple-choca-tini".) but it happens with other drinks, too.  For example, there are mint Daiquiris, mango Daiquiris, strawberry Daiquiris, and Vanilla daiquiris.  And all these drinks have in common is rum, sugar and ice.   Dumb.  Why not call the mint daiquiri a Tropical Frost?  Why not name the strawberry Daiquiri after the place it was invented? (That is how the original Daquiri got its name.) Or why not call it a Plant City Cocktail, which is a semi-tropical Florida location famous for strawberry cultivation.  Well, I'll get down off my soap box and post the recipe.

The Daquiri (The way Hemmingway liked them.)
Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime in to a glass.
Add simple syrup so the sweet and sour are balanced. (You have to taste to make sure.)
Add ice.
Fill to the top with rum. (I prefer Mount Gay)
Garnish with slice of lime.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Napa, Friends, a Festival, and Music

Today is Tuesday. The job hunt continues.  Frustratingly, I have had horrible problems with unemployment insurance.  I worked a temp job for a day and a half in July and it messed something up.  I haven't received any unemployment insurance payments for the last part of August or any of September.  I thought I was broke before, but now I am really broke.  I have half a tank of gas and $4 in my wallet. I thought the unemployment insurance problem was fixed last week, but if it was I should have received money yesterday.   I will have to go visit their office today.

Basil chopping tomatoes
In other news, I had an interview at a restaurant today.  They asked me to come back for another interview on Thursday.  I hope I get it but, gosh, there is no way it pays enough for me to live.  When you have to make 3 dimes but the best opportunity you can find is only offering 1 dime what do you do? 

Saturday was fun.  I took Anselm and Basil to V. Sattui Winery.  It was a group outing.  My friends Jeff, Keith, and Brian and there families were with us.  The winery was beautiful.  It is harvest time and they were in the middle of the crush.  It was fun to take all the kids through the winery explaining how the process works.  (I know how because lived next door to the Parducci Winery in the Ukiah Valley for two years when I was a kid.)

Anselm and Basil helping in the beer booth
I can't believe it was my first time in the Napa Valley.   It is a beautiful narrow valley with one main road running the length of it; wineries and vineyards lining both sides.  I want to go back again.

After the winery we went to Jeff's house for supper.  Each family had a part to play.  Me and my boys made the salad. Basil chopped the tomatoes, Anselm cubed the avocado the right way, and even taught Jeff, who beats me 2/3 of the time in cooking competitions, how to do it.  I love that one of my sons is spreading culinary knowledge!

After supper we drove to my sister's house in Sunnyvale to spend the night.  In the morning we went to Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas in Saratoga and then worked in the parish festival.  It seems to have been a huge success.  I know that where I was working, the beer booth, we brought in an amazing amount of money.  (We sold Baltika #3, #6, #7, and #9)  A really neat thing was getting to see my brothers and sisters from other parishes, whom I do not often get to see.  It was a bit like a family reunion.  Much fun!

The festival was a lot of fun.  It's like an added benefit of Orthodoxy.  When I became Orthodox, I really only did it for two reasons: Apostolic succession and the real Body and Blood of Jesus.  I wanted real bishops and real communion.  I wasn't even aware of parish festivals.  Another really amazing thing for me is the music.  It, too, is like an added benefit.  Here are some of my favorite Orthodox songs:

This is my favorite short hymn.  If you love the Bible as I suspect you do, you will know the words: 
The final prayer sung at the funeral of Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas (several languages)
This isn't a church song, per se, but it captures I think the joy of Pascha as experienced by Orthodox, (translation can be found in the comments). 
This is, probably, my favorite hymn about Mary, notice how Mary, the Church, and Zion are all conflated in the song as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. This is typical of Orthodox theology; everything points to something else and is part of something else. This is, actually, a very small part of a long hymn called the Paschal Canon.
And this is probably my all time favorite.
Well, I have to apply for more jobs and get ready for tomorrow's court hearing.