Wednesday, October 16, 2013
My Little Fin
My daughter took this picture of my granddaughter Fin, the other day.
It’s suggestive of paintings by Andrew Wyeth.
Washington Redskins Controversy Solved
Monday, October 14, 2013
Dysfunctional Veteran - Leave Me Alone
Saturday morning, as the Lovely Melis and I headed home from camp and color touring, we stopped in Houghton Lake, MI for breakfast. We randomly chose the Little Boots Country Diner as the place.
As we sat in our booth, an assured looking older couple, with youth in their visages, walked in and sat down. The gentleman was wearing this hat.
I chuckled at the hat’s message, pointed it out to the Lovely Melis, and then caught the gentleman’s eye and said to him, “I like your hat, sir, and would like to have one myself.”
Both the gentleman and his wife smiled our way, so I continued by asking the man if he had served in WWII, to which he replied that he had served in four (4) wars as a Combat Engineer; the European Theater, the Pacific Theater, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
I thanked the gentleman for his service over the course of those years, informed him that I had served in the peacetime Navy as a submariner, and then asked him if his hat was for sale, to which he replied, “Two hundred bucks.” I laughed and said to him, “Can we negotiate on the price?” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “We just did.”
We all laughed at this exchange, and then cast our concentration to our breakfasts.
I thought of this man, yesterday, as I read about the military veterans liberating memorials in Washington D.C., thinking that the United States government definitely believes that veterans are dysfunctional, and to be feared, and how disgraceful this belief of the government is to veterans.
It isn’t our military veterans that are dysfunctional, it’s the United States government that is dysfunctional, but if the government desires to persist in labeling military veterans as dysfunctional, then I will be proud to be labeled a dysfunctional veteran, and just as proudly don the hat.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Color Tour 2013
The Lovely Melis and I, and our critter Elsa too, took a little color tour over the past few days. Put just over 642 miles on the truck, and a much smaller number on our legs.
The colors and scenery were saturating and intense, under a brilliant Fall sun, and each turn of the road revealed a vista which drenched us in beauty. Here’s a number of pics for your enjoyment.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
ArtPrize 2013 Thoughts
ArtPrize 2013 recently came to close here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This art competition, with a top prize of $200K, is in its fifth year, and it is open to anyone, not just established artists.
ArtPrize is big doings for Grand Rapids, and while the competition admittedly does bring in some wonderful pieces of art, 1,524 entries in 2013, the big doings, at least in my opinion, mostly revolve around the number of people wandering around downtown Grand Rapids taking in the “art”.
I put the word art in quotes because at least ninety percent (90%) of the pieces in the competition are, well, I’ll let Jerry Van Amerongen’s October 7 Ballard Street comic illustrate what I think of 90% of the pieces in the competition.
This is not to say that the competition is without value, nor that there are not wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring pieces of art displayed. Because there are. Just take a look at some the awarded ArtPrize pieces.
My personal favorite, this year, was Portrait of Victoria, done by Brian Duey, and after viewing this piece, I’ll be investigating more of Duey’s work.
Naturally, every individual’s idea of just what, exactly, is a beautiful and inspiring art piece will vary, and, we should keep in mind, that what we may think is beautiful art today, may not be considered beautiful in the future, or was necessarily beautiful art in the past.
For a more indepth commentary on ArtPrize 2013, go here.
America’s Lead Wall
Many individuals know of Hadrian’s Wall, the Iron Curtain, and the Great Wall of China, all designed to repel invaders and preserve indviduals’ freedoms. But how many individuals are aware of America’s lead wall?
As described by L. Neil Smith in a piece titled America’s Secretest Weapon.
...the historically important fact about the humble .22 Long Rifle is that Americans shoot two billion rounds of the stuff every year. That’s 11 million pounds of lead—5700 tons—poured downrange every year, 40 grains at a time.
A grain (Avoirdupois) is 1/7000 of a pound.
Two billion rounds.
What sort of fool would deliberately get into a dust-up against a population with that kind of firepower and hands-on experience? Who would contemplate sending minions into what amounts to a solid lead wall, moving at a thousand feet per second? Apparently, the fools at the United Nations and their hangers-on and enablers, who mistakenly believe they won’t be the poor slobs sent out there to the downrange side of 80 or 100 million American shooters, grimly determined to preserve their political independence, individual freedom, and their guns.
Two billion rounds.
And every one, if we make it so, a shot heard ‘round the world.
What side of America’s lead wall are you on?
Tainted Goods - Politics, Politicians and Christians
Taint, is a word little used today, at least in more polite circles, which could be the result of its more postmodern definition. Even so, a large percentage of individuals clearly understand that something, or someone, that is tainted should be avoided.
The definition of taint that is on my mind, this morning, is this.
1: to contaminate morally
I am thinking of the word taint, and the implications of being tainted, after reading a little book put together by Harold R. Landon titled Reinhold Niebuhr: A Prophetic Voice in Our Time. This little book is a collection of essays, Essays in Tribute, to Reinhold Niebuhr, a political and theological critic of some import.
Within that collection of essays, Reinhold’s friend, Hans J. Morgenthau, states the following.
It is impossible, if I may put it in somewhat extreme and striking terms, to be a successful politician and a good Christian. (pg.102)
I happen to agree with Morgenthau in this regard in his essay discussing Niebuhr’s political thinking, and found Niebuhr’s response to Morgenthau’s statement a well thought out point to consider.
Morgenthau is concerned, as I am, to dispel the illusions of all forms of liberalism, which seek to obscure the fact that the political order must concern itself with interest and with power. This concern makes it necessary to call attention to the moral ambiguity of the political order and the consequent impossibility of making a pure ethic relevant in this realm…Christian teaching must include not only the love commandment but the norms of justice which can and must be instruments of the love commandment; and which may be drawn from the prophets of Israel or from the classical sources from which Catholicism drew them. It should, therefore, provide the vocation of the politician or statesman who moves in the vast and morally ambiguous realm of the political community with as much integrity as possible, and with a humble awareness of the taint in all competitive positions in the political spectrum. (pgs. 121 & 122) (bold by ed.)
Because the political arena today is only concerned with interest and power, and because of the taint each individual, myself included, is afflicted with, though Niebuhr somewhat softens Morgenthau’s “extreme and striking” statement, I think any dabbling in politics, whether running for political office, or pulling a voting booth lever, is an embracing of being tainted, rather than an attempt to be free of taint, and truly free.
Night, Fall, Fun
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Of Michigan Mice and Alaskan Shrews
Among fly fishers, there is a breed of individuals, typically quite solitary, whom roam trout streams in the dark of the night hunting big trout. Here in Michigan, these dark of night fly fishers typically are mousing. Splatting a mouse, tied up of feathers and fur, on the surface of a trout stream in the hope of enticing a large brown trout to dine, but with a hook.
Though I have a mouse or two in my fly boxes, I don’t often spend the night mousing, as I’d rather entice a trout with something more delicate, like an Isonychia dry fly; though I prefer its more colorful name White Glove Howdy; or Iso for short.
Anyway, back to mousing. Here’s an article, from the Petoskey News on the subject of mousing, titled Mousing for Michigan’s biggest browns which provides a bit more detail on the art of mousing for trout.
On a related note, and onto the the subject of shrews, is a story of a rainbow trout, taken from waters in Alaska’s Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, which, when opened up, was found to have dined on 20 shrews.
I guess that was one hungry rainbow.
Both stories via Moldy Chum.
Monday, October 07, 2013
A Lagniappe Two-fer
Yesterday, Gerard Vanderleun put up one of his “Grace Notes,” which are, in my opinion, usually resplendent. Yesterday’s “Grace Note” was filed under the title This Day and the subject matter was the Lord’s Prayer.
In comments to this “Grace Note,” and complimentary to it, Joan of Argghh! referenced Psalm 118:24 - This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Because the moment I wake, each day, before putting my feet to the floor, I recite to myself both Psalm 118:24 and the Lord’s Prayer as a way to remind myself of the many reasons I have to approach the day with buoyancy, I found Vanderleun’s thoughts as presented particularly singular, especially in light of Joan’s complimentary comment.
And then this morning, my friend JB sent me a note with a link, which is filed under the heading Lagniappe – Tchaikovsky, and is a rendition of The Cherubic Hymn. A lagniappe two-fer, I’d say.
CGI Suspended Accounts
There are other suspended accounts I am aware of also.
UPDATE: American Digest is no longer suspended. I wonder what that was all about.
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Defying the So-Called Government Shutdown
The United States government has shutdown. Or so I am informed by the government and the mainstream media. I cannot say I’ve noticed any difference in my normal day to day activities, though I’ve not had any national park visits on my agenda, which the government has closed across the country as a sort of muscle flexing maneuver.
Glenn Reynolds links to a number of acts of defiance undertaken by everyday Americans in response to the national park shutdowns, and I applaud those individuals who participated in defying the United States government’s shutdown muscle flexing, and I fervently desire to see more such actions undertaken.
Because defiance is on the minds of Americans, I thought it would be beneficial to once again link to a couple of older posts on the subject, because unless more and more numbers of Americans stand up and defy the government, openly, peacefully, and with fortitude for the long haul, these current acts of defiance will soon fade and will have been for naught.
First, a link to a post titled Political Defiance - There Are Fundamental Issues At Stake. Within this post, is a link to Gene Sharp’s pamphlet From Dictatorship to Democracy - A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, which is well worth your time to download and read.
Second, a link to a post titled Massive, Passive, Civil Disobedience Now, or Armed Civil War.
The United States government must be reigned in. The question is, will it be done peacefully, or violently?
UPDATE: Removed redundant link.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Historically, An Unanswered Prayer
I would hope, that Chaplain Black was praying for the American people, but I rather think, instead, his prayer was for those individuals (Congress) who allegedly represent the American people. This is, alas, historically, an unanswered prayer, and recalls to my mind some words of Reinhold Niebuhr in illustration of my contention.
History is a realm in which human freedom and natural necessity are curiously intermingled. Man’s freedom constantly creates the most curious and unexpected and unpredictable emergences and emergencies in history…But without an empirical inquiry into the relation between the contingent and the permanent forces of community, each generation is tempted to exalt some particular instrument of justice, which has succeeded in a given instant, as the absolute essential instrument of justice; or to attribute injustice to some particular cause of particular evils, but is falsely understood if interpreted as the final cause of all social evil.
While I would be thankful if the American people were delivered from governing by crisis, perhaps the prayer which should be offered to the Lord is that we, as a people, be delivered from the illusion that the collective life of mankind can achieve perfect justice in this world via the machinations of men.
Senator Tom Harkin Channels Billy Beck
It’s dangerous. It’s very dangerous. I believe, Mr. President, we are at one of the most dangerous points in our history right now. Every bit as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War.
As Billy stated in August 2009, in a post titled Look Around You,
You have always heard it here first: All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.
Are America’s politicians actually beginning to look around and understand? Do you understand?
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Short and Sweet, Yet Bitter
I read, this morning, that Yabu’s days are numbered, and that in short amount. I’ve never met Yabu in person, but have shared thoughts and ideas with him in comments here, at his place, and via email, and consider him a friend. He’ll be missed.
Yabu will only be keeping his blog up for another week or so. Stop by and say your farewells.
God Bless, and God speed, Yabu.