Tuesday, May 31, 2011

RUN SARAH RUN! - ER, RIDE!


From The Note:
As speculation swirls over whether former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will enter the race for the 2012 presidential campaign, former 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (AZ) said this morning that he thinks Palin can win in a race against President Obama in 2012.

“Of course, she can,” Senator John McCain made said on “Fox News Sunday” this morning. “She can. Now, whether she will or not, whether she'll even run or not, I don't know.”
....

“She [Palin] also inspires great passion, particularly among Republican faithful.” McCain said.

Sarah inspires my passion to hope that she will run and win the Republican nomination.

I'm puzzled that Sarah's not in the driver's seat in the picture. She doesn't function at all well in second place. Still, from the rear seat of a motorcycle, I suppose she hasn't much choice but to follow the leader.

Photo from The Huffington Post.

This post was inspired by PJ DeGenaro at Facebook.

FEAST OF THE VISITATION


GHIRLANDAIO, Domenico - 1491
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Luke 1:39-55

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be* a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
And Mary* said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

PRAYER
Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

To me, the Visitation and the Nativity are two of the loveliest stories in the Gospels. The narratives are good news, indeed.

The glorious Magnificat should give pause to all in high positions in the church to recall the words of Jesus that the greatest amongst us are to be servants of all. As well, Mary's song is a call to all of us to serve one another.

Please read Tobias Haller's wonderful poem in the spirit of the feast day at In a Godward Direction.

Image from The Web Gallery of Art.

DEATHS IN THE FAMILY (JOKE)

A man in a bar sees a friend at a table, drinking by himself.

Approaching the friend he comments, "You look terrible. What's
the problem?"

"My mother died in February," the friend said, "and left me
$25,000."

"Gee, that's tough," replied the man.

"Then in March," the friend continued, "My father died, leaving
me $90,000."

"Wow. Two parents gone in two months. No wonder you're
depressed."

"And last month my aunt died, and left me $15,000."

"Three close family members lost in three months? How sad."

"Then this month," continued the friend, "absolutely nothing!"



Cheers,

Paul (A.)

Thanks for the laugh, Paul (A.) :-D

Monday, May 30, 2011

ANDEE AND KIRSTIN NEED HELP


From Barefoot and Laughing:

Written by Andee, posted by Kirstin
We have just reached the point where Kirstin can no longer stay alone while I am at work. (This is Andee - the infamous "A," her roommate, writing.)
For those of you who may not be up-to-date with the latest--the pain from the "strained ligament" in her left knee turned out in fact to be from another melanoma metastasis in her left tibia. The various pain meds she has been given, while not helping much with the pain, have made her loopy, nauseous or both. She had been able to hobble from the bed to the bathroom with the aid of a walker, but Friday night, the pain meds made her lose her balance. She caught herself before falling, but simply putting weight on that leg fractured the front of that bone.

I haven't had an uninterrupted night's sleep in weeks, and am exhausted. Although I have some vacation time remaining, I'm trying to save that for the times I need to accompany Kirstin to doctor's appointments. Family leave laws don't apply when you are the primary caregiver to a roommate instead of a close relative.

To all of you who have wondered how you can help: HELP!!!!

Read the rest at Kirstin's blog, and please help if you can.

MEMORIAL DAY 2011


Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day in the United States is a day of remembrance of those in all our wars who gave everything in the service of their country. We honor them for their courage and dedication to duty. We extend our sympathy to their families and friends, whether the loss is recent or from long times past. We stand with you. We mourn with you.

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
Micah 4:1-4

Lord God, Almighty and Everlasting Father, we pray for all those who have died in wars. We pray the they may rest in peace in the perpetual light of your love. We pray for your blessing upon the families and friends of all those who have died in service to their country. Console them for their aching loss. Bring them healing of body, mind, and spirit. Give them strength and courage to go forward, and Lord God, above all else, give them your peace that passes understanding to keep their minds and hearts.

Below is the faded bumper sticker that I put on my car in 2003 after the start of the war in Iraq. Originally, the top letters were bright yellow, and the bottom letters were bright blue and red.

The war in Afghanistan began in 2001.


Image at the top from Wikipedia.

UPDATE: Rmj at Adventus posted a lovely prayer service, with pictures and poetry, in honor of the day.

Counterlight posted a thoughtful reflection on the day, along with a video of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards' lovely version of the hymn, "Abide With Me".

Sunday, May 29, 2011

BECAUSE I LOVE AN OXYMORON

A rough outline of sequence of events that led the late Colin Slee, former Dean of Southwark Cathedral, to write the Slee Memo, which was recently leaked to the Guardian:

The position of Bishop of the Diocese of Southwark in south London becomes vacant.

Dr Jeffery John, Dean of St Alban's Cathedral, who is gay and in a civil partnership, but celibate, is one of the nominees for the position.

Jeffrey John's name is leaked to the media, despite the vow of confidentiality taken by the members of the Crown Nominations Commission.

According to Dean Colin Slee's account in the Slee Memo, the Archbishop of Canterbury himself may have been the leaker when he inquired of church lawyers if there was any reason to decline the nomination of Jeffrey John as bishop of the Diocese of Southwark. In his memo, Slee alleges that the Archbishop had no right to break the vow of confidentiality taken by all members of the commission in order to consult the lawyers.

The news of Jeffrey John's nomination spreads through the media.

After vehement objections to Jeffrey John and another nominee by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Crown Nominations Commission submits the name of Christopher Chessun to the crown, and he is appointed to the position of Bishop of Southwark.

An inquiry into the leak (the Fitchie Enquiry) begins. The findings of the inquiry are to be secret, says the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Concerning a phrase included in Terms of Reference of (the Fritchie Enquiry) Colin Slee says in an email to Chris Smith of the Anglican Communion Office:
Finally, I hope you are aware of the marvellous oxymoron in the terms of reference, (your italics) '...and to make any recommendations necessary to improve the confidentiality in the work of the Commission as it seeks to open up its processes.' (My emphasis)

Colin Slee writes in the memo about the conduct of the Crown Nominations Commission meeting to choose the bishop of Southwark:
The oxymoron within the Terms of Reference will be a delight to me for years to come; it exhibits the chaotic unreality that prevailed from the very beginning.

The purpose of this post is to call attention to the "marvellous oxymoron" and to the "chaotic unreality" of the process of choosing bishops in the Church of England and also as a memory aid for me of the sequence of events if I choose to write about the Slee Memo yet again.

Thanks to Pluralist for the reminder of the oxymoron in his post titled "More on the Smell".

SPEAKS FOR ITSELF


Borrowed from Vic the Vicar.

Thanks to Lapin.

GUESS WHAT IT IS



Its measure is 1 foot long.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BOUDREAUX MAKES A DEAL

Boudreaux and Aucoin are walking down the street in Beaumont, right over the Louisiana line in Texas, and they see a sign on a store which reads:

Suits $5.00 each!
Shirts $2.00 each! Pants $2.50 each!

Boudreaux says to his pal, "Look here, Auc, we could buy a whole gob of these, take 'em back to Weswego, sell 'em to our friends and them other coonasses down in the bayou, and make a fortune. Just let me do the talkin' 'cause if they hear your accent, they might think we're ignorant Cajuns, and won't wanna sell that stuff to us. Jes watch, I'll talk real sophisticated so's they think we is from Lufkin or somewhares over here in Texas."

They go in and Boudreaux says with his best fake sophisticated Texas accent, "I'll take 50 of them suits at $5.00 each, 100 of them there shirts at $2.00 each, 50 pairs of them there pants at $2.50 each. I'll back up my pickup and..."

The owner of the shop interrupts. "Ya'll Cajuns are from over by Jeanerette, New Iberia or somewheres, aren't you?"

"Well...yeah," says a surprised Boudreaux. "How come you knowed that?"

"Because this is a dry cleaners."

A joke about my own people. I should be ashamed. I blame Doug.

The truth is that I had a good laugh before the punch line of the joke at "best fake sophisticated Texas accent".

HELP FOR THE FOLKS IN JOPLIN, MISSOURI



Click for the larger view.,

To access the links to donate, volunteer, or see the list of needs, go to the website of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri.


Nicholas Knisely at The Lead posted quotes and a link to the moving story of the chaplains of Joplin who have taken responsibility for informing the families of the victims who died as a result of the tornadoes.



Bob Heath pictured above.
"Mr. Heath, who is not paid for his work as one of the four Joplin Police Department chaplains, says he prefers that the families get angry with him rather than at someone from somewhere else, someone who cannot possibly grasp all that has happened.

“I’ll take it,” Mr. Heath said, describing a family that screamed at him on Thursday when he told them their relative’s body had been identified. “I’d rather it be me than anyone else in the world. And if that keeps them from yelling at their wife or their husband or whoever, yell at me all you want. Start yelling.”

I read the story from the New York Times in my paper this morning and was quite touched by the work of the chaplains. As I said at The Lead:
Bob Heath and the other chaplins are the face of Jesus to the people in Joplin. God bless them for what they do. God bless and give comfort to the people in Joplin.

ADOPT, ACCEDE, ENDORSE, OR SUBSCRIBE TO THE ANGLICAN COVENANT?

The letter below is from Jonathan Clatworthy, General Secretary to Modern Church in England. The missive was sent to the Church Times but was not published in the newspaper. I thought the letter deserved wider readership, and, when I asked, Jonathan gave me permission to publish the letter here at Wounded Bird. My wee blog is not the Church Times, but the letter follows, unedited:
So neither Ireland nor South-East Asia decided to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant – but neither felt able to just say no. Ireland voted to ‘subscribe’ to it, South-East Asia to ‘accede’ to it. As both provinces know, these are meaningless expressions; the Covenant will only come into force if the provinces sign on the dotted line to adopt it. Why are they pussyfooting about?

There is a good reason. Provincial leaders are under immense pressure to sign the Covenant, but few of them like it. It was originally conceived as a way of threatening the USA with expulsion over gay bishops. The present text makes two changes to that aim. Firstly, instead of directly threatening to expel, it sets up an international system which could respond to complaints by expelling but could decide not to; we wouldn’t know the result until after it had been set up. So GAFCON have decided this is not discipline enough and have gone their own way, leaving the rest of us wondering who still wants it.

The second change is that the Covenant makes no mention of same-sex partnerships. It would be possible for one province to object to any initiative by another and demand a judgement from the newly empowered central authorities. Anglicanism would become a confessional sect where we were told what to believe.

So what do provinces do? If they refuse to sign, they may find themselves effectively expelled. If they do sign, they will no longer be able to run their own affairs without constantly checking whether someone in another part of the world objects. So they opt for a third alternative. There isn’t one, but they act as though there is. Whether ‘subscribe’ and ‘accede’ end up counting as ‘adopt’ will no doubt depend on which side has the cleverer political manipulators.


Jonathan Clatworthy
General Secretary
Modern Church
Liverpool, UK


gensec@modernchurch.org.uk

www.modernchurch.org.uk

www.clatworthy.org

Provinces who adopt the covenant could still be expelled, so whether to adopt or not puts a province in somewhat of a double bind situation. Jonathan makes an important point about any province being able to report any initiative by another province. What a tangle of tasks the new bureaucracy could be faced with in having to judge the complaints. I can't help but imagine the future operations of the standing committee, or whatever group will judge whether the complaints are worthy of consideration or action, as similar to a teacher having to deal with a stream of tattling children and finally saying, "Enough!"

My guess is that the Anglican Communion Office, or whichever body has decision-making power, will conclude that if the term used by a province remotely suggests adoption, the province will be considered to have adopted the Anglican Covenant.

IF YOU'RE WONDERING...


A tug boat pushes a barge up the Mississippi River near New Orleans Tuesday May 24, 2011.

From NOLA.com:
Based on a drop in the level of the swollen Mississippi River, the National Weather Service on Friday canceled its weeks-long flood warning for New Orleans and points downriver.

Despite this development for south Louisiana, the weather service’s flood warning remains in effect for points upriver, including Baton Rouge, where levee seepage has led the state Office of Transportation and Development to close River Road’s southbound lane from North Third Street to State Capitol Drive.
....

Although the threat to south Louisiana may seem to be abating, the Corps of Engineers declared the Bonnet Carre Spillway closed to recreation, including boating, until June 26.
....

Going into that area is dangerous because of the swift current — water is flowing toward Lake Pontchartrain at 293,000 cubic feet per second — and the debris that can get carried along in the torrent.

The damage that this combination can inflict was seen on the railroad bridge in the Bonnet Carre Spillway, where a supporting pier was dislodged. As a result, the legendary City of New Orleans train could get no closer than Hammond to its namesake city, with buses carrying passengers between that city and New Orleans.

The bridge has been repaired.


Water from the Mississippi River washes out part of the railroad bridge that crosses the Bonnet CarrÈ Spillway Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

The folks in New Orleans can breathe a sigh of relief, if not relax completely, about levee failure and flooding from the Mississippi River. The seepage in the levee upriver is worrying. As we saw the other day when we walked along the river in New Orleans, the Mississippi is a mighty river, and she wants to go her own way. Whether man-made controls will work, always involves a degree of uncertainty.

At the link to the Times-Picayune is a fine series of aerial photographs of the Mississippi, the control structures, and other areas near the river.

Friday, May 27, 2011

BRING THEM HOME


From the Los Angeles Times:
An explosion in southern Afghanistan on Thursday killed eight U.S. troops, officials said, an unusually large toll for a single incident.

Earlier in the day, NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, announced the death of a service member in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan's east. The cause of the crash was under investigation, the coalition said.

A Pentagon official confirmed that the eight killed in the south were U.S. soldiers. Most of the troops in the south and the east are Americans. U.S. troops make up about two-thirds of the overall NATO force.

Coalition fatalities stand at 2482. We are not going to win the war in Afghanistan. What is the coalition accomplishing now? Are they even holding the line? Our departure will be a negotiated departure. With whom will we negotiate? The greater number of insurgents are Taliban. Unfortunately, that is the reality, and it is likely that we will negotiate with the Taliban. Whomever it is that we will negotiate with, why not now, rather than later before more troops are killed or wounded, before more Afghan civilians are killed or wounded? Why not now before we spend more billions which could be put to far better use than making war?

It's time to bring the troops home.

Shown above is the faded bumper sticker which I placed on my car at the beginning of the Iraq War. I no longer have the car, so the bumper sticker is gone, too. Originally, the colors were bright yellow, red, and blue. The photo of my old bumper sticker still serves to make my point.

May the troops who died rest in peace and rise in glory.

May God give comfort, consolation, and the peace that surpasses understanding to all who love the fallen.

May the God of peace fill our hearts with such a longing for peace that we do all in our power to settle differences with choices other than war.

NO REST YET ON THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND


Don't blame me. Leonardo made me do it. The plaque is borrowed. From Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano:
Rowan Williams has proven to be a deceitful, snide and punishing leader to heterosexual women and to our LGBTI sisters and brothers throughout the Anglican Communion. His ¨nuanced¨ (sneaky and blatant) despotic leadership continues to demean, marginalize and discriminate against other Anglicans. He often discriminates against minority ¨marginalized¨ human beings– he has a cowardly, and codependent ¨working relationship¨ with Anglicans at the Global South and panders to the Gafcon schismatics-- pandering to religiouslike bigots who harm tens of thousands of LGBTI Anglicans on the ground in Jamaica, Uganda, Nigeria, the Middle East and even in the United Kingdom (as with Jeffrey John and many others we can now openly witness ). Anglican David Kato in Uganda has been murdered along with many Anglican/other lesbian ¨rape cure¨ victims because, in part, of poor episcopal stewardship at The Anglican Communion.

Remember: I didn't say that. However, I did think Leonardo's post and plaque were worth sharing.

UPDATE: IT has a splendid post on Rowan Williams and the closeted gay bishops in the Church of England at The Friends of Jake titled "Coming Out as a Leader", which includes a wonderful snazzy cartoon.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND - NO GAY BISHOPS

From the Church Times:

In England, the equality laws make it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation...
Nevertheless, exemptions written into the Act accept that the C of E “does not draw the same distinction as most secular employers between a person’s work life and his or her private life”.

The key factor is the requirement of a bishop to act as a focus of unity. The advice states: “Where someone is in a civil partnership and/or is known to have been in a same-sex relationship, even though now celibate, it is for the CNC . . . to come to a view whether the person concerned can act as a focus for unity because of these matters.”

So. The church is exempted from the practice of equality under the law because the bishop must be a focus of unity. That's absurd. No bishop can possibly be a focus of unity for every single person in the diocese. After all, several bishops left the Church of England to join the Roman Catholic ordinariates. They were hardly a focus of unity, because members of their flock stayed behind in the Church of England. The "focus of unity" reasoning appears to be trumped up for the very purpose of excluding gay persons from the episcopacy.
A CHECKLIST has been drawn up that makes it virtually impossible for an openly gay person to become a bishop in the Church of England.

“[F]actors that can properly be taken into account:
• whether the candidate had always complied with the Church’s teachings on same-sex sexual activity;

• whether he was in a civil partnership;

• whether he was in a continuing civil partnership with a person with whom he had had an earlier same-sex relationship;

• whether he had expressed repent­ance for any previous same-sex sexual activity; and

• whether (and to what extent) the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question, the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.”

The checklist leave me speechless, because it evidences such intrusiveness and discrimination against gay persons as to be truly shocking.

Are you bored yet with posts on the Church of England? I'll give you a rest after this one, unless....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

HYMN NO. 365

A minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great emphasis he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

With even greater emphasis he said, " And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said, " And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

Sermon complete, he sat down.


The song leader stood very cautiously and announced With a smile, nearly laughing:

"For our closing song, Let us sing Hymn #365, 'Shall We Gather at the River.'"


Smile, life is too short not to!
Pass this on with a smile
Keep spreading the cheer.
See you at the river!

Thanks to Doug.

MORE FROM THE COLIN SLEE MEMO

There's more from the Colin Slee memo, and it's not pretty. Jim Naughton at The Lead has further commentary on the redactions in the memo. What I've read convinces me further that transparency is the way to go whenever possible, but I do understand that confidentiality is sometimes in order.

Colin Slee carried a heavy burden away from the meetings, but, he did not advocate an electoral system for choosing bishops in the Church of England. It's difficult to see how electing bishops would be worse than the process Slee describes.

UPDATE: John Chilton provides links to even less redacted versions of Colin Slee's memo at The Lead. The newly revealed material is absolutely appalling to read.

HYMN BOOKS V DATA PROJECTORS


Click on the cartoon for the larger view.

From The Cartoon Church.

TRY LEADING BY EXAMPLE

What do I want to say about the temper tantrums of Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu that I have not already said elsewhere? Not much.

As the Guardian reveals in a leak from the notes of the late dean of Southwark Cathedral, Colin Slee, who was present at the meeting to choose a bishop for the Diocese of Southwark:
The document reveals shouting matches and arm-twisting by the archbishops to keep out the diocese's preferred choices as bishop: Jeffrey John, the gay dean of St Albans, and Nicholas Holtam, rector of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, whose wife was divorced many years ago. Eventually Christopher Chessun, then an assistant bishop, was chosen.

As I've already said, I'd like to have smacked the two archbishops, but that's resorting to violence. On second thought, I'd send them to their rooms without their supper to contemplate their bad behavior.

Unfortunately, the two men are not toddlers, but rather "mature" men in positions of power and influence, and their actions have consequences, grave consequences.
Slee described Williams shouting and losing his temper in last year's Southwark meeting, which left several members of the crown nomination committee, responsible for the selection of bishops, in tears.

Slee also in effect charges the church with hypocrisy, stating that there are several gay bishops "who have been less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions". The memo warns: "This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear."

How the Church of England continues to function in such a vast and hypocritical conspiracy of silence, remains a mystery to me. And that the Archbishop of Canterbury has the chutzpah to lecture our bishops in TEC on how to run a church is beyond my understanding. Perhaps he should try leading by example.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MADPRIEST HAD IT FIRST

The Guardian published a blockbuster of a revelation by Colin Slee from beyond the grave. MadPriest had the link first, and I believe he'd want you to comment over at OCICBW. Of course, I could be wrong.

A WONDERFUL DAY WITH IT AND BP


Grandpère, moi, BP, and IT (Photo courtesy of IT)

On Monday, Grandpère and I headed to New Orleans to have lunch with IT and BP who were in town for a microbiology conference. Yes, IT is an award-winning microbiologist with quite an impressive curriculum vitae. If I thought about her awesomeness too much, I'd probably be intimidated from having a conversation with her, but we've had online conversations for some years now, and I think of her as my good friend and favorite atheist. When I was in Anaheim, CA, for General Convention 09 of the Episcopal Church, I had the very great pleasure of meeting IT and BP for the first time in real life, and they are both delightful women and great company. I'm pleased that IT and BP got to meet GP, as most of my blog friends don't have the pleasure, unless they visit down our way, because he is not the traveler that I am, and he minds the home front while I journey here, there, and not quite everywhere.

In the photo above, you see the four of us outside Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant, on St Charles Street, one of my favorites of my many favorite restaurants in New Orleans. I can't think of one way that the combination of the company at lunch and the food served us could be improved. What an enjoyable two hours! Good company, good food, good wine, good conversation, good laughs - as we say in Cajun land, what better way to pass a good time?


Moi, BP, IT, and the matron of honor at their wedding

Yes, the gentleman on the right, a colleague of IT, insisted that he be called the matron of honor, so I said, "Please, I must have your picture with IT and BP!" So. There he is - the lovely matron of honor.

The picture was taken at the reception in honor of IT and her award, which was for her service in promoting the status of women in the field of microbiology. Of course, there was more food and drink at the reception, but I was still full from lunch, so I ate only a few pieces of fruit. Later that evening, when we were in our room at the B&B, I regretted my decision not to have more, because, once we were showered and dressed for the night, I discovered that I was very hungry. Neither GP nor I was willing to get dressed again to go for late night take-out, so I stayed hungry.


Above is the chocolate fountain at the reception. I was told by the others that the chocolate was not hot, so I'm not sure how the fountain of chocolate was kept flowing. I have a hilarious picture of Grandpère with chocolate lips, but he will not allow me to publish the photo. He says it makes him look silly. Of course! That's the idea of posting the picture - for a laugh. But I am a submissive wife, and I never go against GP's wishes.

After we left the reception, we went for a walk along the Mississippi River (It was high.) and sat for a while to watch the tricky maneuvering by the ferry pilot as the ferry crossed from New Orleans to Algiers and back again. The strong currents in the river make guiding and docking the boat quite a challenge. Watching the river flow, along with the obvious movements of the water due to the currents, was quite restful and nearly hypnotic for me. The Mississippi is a mighty body of water, and one comes away from a close-up view with great respect for its power.

Then, BP, IT, and a new friend, also a microbiologist, walked us to catch the St Charles streetcar back to our B&B. I love riding the streetcar with the windows open, the breeze blowing in, and the rocking back and forth, as the car rides the tracks. I once rode the streetcar to school and to work every day, so there's a bit of nostalgia associated with rides.

Our rather effusive good-byes, before and after we had boarded the streetcar, our waving, blowing kisses, and taking photos, provided amusement for our fellow passengers on the streetcar. No doubt, they thought we were a little crazy, which may not be all that far from the truth.


Above is the Sully Mansion B&B in the Garden District in New Orleans where we stayed the night.

What a lovely afternoon and evening with our friends. I hope it will not be too long before we see IT and BP again.

PS: I forgot to tell the story of our invitation to the reception in honor of IT. BP sent us an invitation without IT's knowledge, and we were supposed to be surprise guests if we attended. But BP neglected to tell me the invitation was a surprise, so I responded to IT, and the surprise element was ruined. However, all worked to the good, because, had we kept the surprise, we would not have lunched and spent the afternoon together.

FIRE ALARM

You never have to change the batteries!

I'm putting one in every room!

Safety First!

You don't have to thank me for this information;

I do this as a public service..

Nevertheless, I thank Ann. Brilliant.

PLEASE PRAY...

From Kirstin at Barefoot and Laughing:
Damn.

I’m not a mutant. The doctor at UCSF called about an hour ago. Not quite sure what happens next. UCSF will take my scans to their neurologists on Thursday, and they’ll say whether or not I’m eligible for gamma-knife. If I am, we do it, and cytotoxic chemo. (I don’t expect to be eligible; I’ve been told I have too many tumors.) If I’m not, he says ipiluminab is the best bet. I can get that through Kaiser or UCSF. I'd rather have him keep treating me, so that's what I think we’ll do. (My MediCal covers it. My doctor at Kaiser looks depressed every time he sees me. This one still has enthusiasm, and knows so much more of the current research.)

Kirstin has courageously fought melanoma for three years now. Please pray for Kirstin and all those who care for her.

Please pray for those who died in the recent tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, in Minnesota, in Oklahoma, and in Arkansas. Pray for all who loved the people who died. Pray for those who lost everything.



Photo from The Huffington Post.

Counterlight posted horrifying videos, two filmed live during the tornadoes and one showing the aftermath.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MR AND MRS POTUS WITH THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCE


Oh my! What a wonderful picture. Ours look good even without the ribbons and medals.

Photo stolen from Leonardo at Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano, who is over the rainbow. He credits the photo to the AP.

And from Paddy Anglican: POTUS and ME in Moneygall, Ireland....



Here I am showing President Obama the parish records showing his Irish ancestry.

And from USA Today:
After basking amid one of the most affectionate audiences of his presidency Monday in Ireland, Obama arrived here to be feted by a queen and three generations of princes.

He and first lady Michelle Obama were welcomed at Buckingham Palace, where they were given a six-room suite last occupied by Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, on their wedding night.

They were fawned over at Westminster Abbey, greeted warmly at No. 10 Downing St. and, finally, lauded at the first state dinner thrown here for a U.S. president in eight years.

Gosh. The Obamas may decide to stay "over there".

JESUS AND MO - CHEAP


Click on the strip for the larger view.

FromJesus and Mo.

Monday, May 23, 2011

STORY OF THE DAY - DOWN TIME

I can read minds, she said & I said, OK
& she said, Do you want to know what
you're thinking? I said no thank you. I
don't do stuff like that on weekends.

From StoryPeople.

Dedicated to someone who shall be nameless who has told me on more than one occasion to stop thinking.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

PADRE MICKEY SPEAKS

Read Padre Mickey's post on the rapture that didn't happen. What he writes is wise and compassionate. Besides, he posted the beautiful icon below.



Padre Mickey is not only fun and games and music, you know. He's a good priest and a good pastor. Read what he has to say.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"THE JOHN JAY DOCUMENT 2011 – REALITY REVISED"

Thomas Doyle provides excellent commentary on the recently released John Jay report on clerical child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. I suggest you read his entire critique, but below are excerpts from his fine essay.

Fr Doyle studied all the reports on clerical abuse, including information from more than 6000 victim's attorneys. Regarding the "Woodstock Defense" in the latest John Jay report, Fr Doyle says:
The victim support groups and plaintiffs' attorneys here and abroad are seeing a significant increase in victims who were violated in the fifties and even the forties. As one of my astute friends remarked, these are the victims from the Big Band era so what does that constitute, the "Benny Goodman" defense?
There you have it!

Further:
Those who see the main conclusions from the Executive Summary as support for the bishops' blame-shifting tactics are probably right. Yet these conclusions are only a part of the whole story and in some ways they are of minor relevance. The finding that the majority of cases occurred in the 1960s and 1970s can be quickly challenged. It is more accurate to say that the majority of cases reported in the post 2002 period involved abuse that took place in the period from the sixties to the eighties. Its way off base to assume that the majority of incidents of abuse happened during this period. Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald founded the Paraclete community in 1947 to provide help to priests with problems. From the beginning he was treating priests with psycho-sexual issues and in a letter to a bishop he said that 3 out of every 10 priests admitted were there because they had sexually molested minors. Fr. Gerald wrote that letter in 1964. Unfortunately it is difficult if not impossible to do a study of abuse victims between the 30's and the 50's but Fr. Gerald's information leaves no doubt that sexual abuse by priests was a significant phenomenon long before the free-wheeling 60's and 70's. The one constant that was present throughout the entire period from before the 60's to the turn of the millennium has been the cover-up by the bishops and the disgraceful treatment of victims. The John Jay researchers were commissioned by the bishops to look into the reasons why priests molested and violated minors. They were not asked to figure out why this molestation and violation was allowed to happen. That would have been deadly for the bishops and they knew it. (The author's emphasis)

Hallelujah! Fr Doyle emphasizes the distinction between when incidents are reported and when the incidents actually took place, which is a vital distinction to be made.

Fr Doyle adds that while the report was commissioned by Roman Catholic bishops in the US and, in some areas, the researchers give the bishops a pass when they should not get a pass, the report is, by no means, a whitewash. He lists sections of the report which are quite critical of the responses by bishops to the disclosures of clerical abuse. I ask again that you please read the critique in its entirety.

From the National Catholic Reporter:
Tom Doyle is a priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims.
The public disclosures of child abuse in my Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma/Thibodaux began to come to light in the latter part of the 1990s. The "boiling point", as Fr Doyle names it, was reached in the rest of the US in 2002. The national press paid scant attention to the scandal in south Louisiana dioceses at the time the "boiling point" was reached here. I suppose the media thought what was happening in our area was nothing more than an aberration in a swampy backwater.

OH NOOO! ROWAN WAS RIGHT!


Stolen from MadPriest at Of Course I Could Be Wrong.

UPDATE: Another rapture favorite from somegreybloke. I'm a little late with the video - or perhaps not. The Rev Camping was only certain of the day, not the hour. Thanks to Erika at Facebook.



And another from Countlight.

Friday, May 20, 2011

STORY OF THE DAY - HEARING VOICES

I used to hear voices a lot, but then I
read up on it & found out they don't
exist, so now I don't listen to a word
they say.

ANTI-BULLYING BILL FAILS IN LOUISIANA HOUSE


State Rep. John Bel Edwards speaking in favor of the bill. (Advocate staff photo by Arthur D Lauck)

From the Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
Legislation designed to define what constitutes bullying among school students died in the Louisiana House on Thursday amid complaints that it would promote gay lifestyles.

The Louisiana Family Forum, which calls itself a voice for traditional families by pushing biblical principles, characterized House Bill 112 as a homosexual agenda.

The organization issued notes to lawmakers alleging that the legislation would introduce sexual orientation into the classroom.

___________________

___________________

___________________


All right. I'm all done banging my head on the keyboard.

When I read about the Louisiana Family Forum and its influence on so very many of the legislators in Louisiana, smoke comes out of my ears.
HB112 fell 10 votes short of passage, with 43 lawmakers voting for it and 54 voting against it.

The legislation’s sponsor, state Rep. Austin Badon, said the Louisiana Family Forum intimidated lawmakers.

“The hate spilled out — the ignorance of the fact that there are gays and lesbians all over the world,” Badon, D-New Orleans, said after the bill failed to pass.

Bravo to Rep. Badon and to all 43 legislators who stood against the bullying tactics of the Louisiana Family Forum.
State Rep. Patricia Smith struggled to keep her voice at a normal volume when she rose from her House desk to respond to Seabaugh’s amendment.

Smith, D-Baton Rouge and a former School Board member, accused Seabaugh of diminishing the hateful words that are used to bully children.

“I am very upset by what you just said because I do not like Family Forum. I will state it here right now on the floor. I do not like Family Forum … because their perception of anything that’s different from what they perceive is that they feel it’s always going to be taught to children,” Smith said.

Amen, and amen, and amen!

I see hope in this outcome, because getting 43 votes in favor of the bill in the Louisiana House is more than I would have expected. Maybe next time.

From the website of Louisiana Family Forum:
Our Mission is to persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking.

UPDATE ON SLAVE LAKE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE FIRE

A home in Slave Lake burned to the ground.

Tim Chesterton, an Anglican priest who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, writes to give an update on the aftermath of the fire in the nearby town of Slave Lake:
Hi Mimi:

Thanks so much for mobilising the troops for prayer for Slave Lake. On that subject, I thought this might interest you.
....

Your friend in Christ,

Tim

From the Anglican Journal:
When Pastor Leigh Sinclair and the congregation of St. Peter’s Ecumenical Church in Slave Lake, Alta., gathered for a confirmation service last Sunday morning, they didn’t think the wildfires were close enough to town to be worried.

Most went to celebration lunches and barbeques for the newly-confirmed. At around 3 p.m., Sinclair said people at a barbeque party she attended started getting worried. “Everybody thought, ‘This isn’t normal. There’s too much smoke!’ ”

By 6 p.m., Sinclair–who pastors a shared ministry with the Anglican, United and Lutheran churches–packed a bag and started the long drive to her parent’s home in Edmonton, joining a stream of vehicles on the road out of town.
....

She would later learn that two-thirds of Slave Lake burned down. Her home and St. Peter’s church were spared but five families who belonged to St. Peter’s lost everything.
(My emphasis)

Thanks be to God that no lives were lost. Pray for the people of Slave Lake and the other towns who lost everything as they begin to rebuild their homes and their lives.

If you recall Tim asked for prayers for the people in the area several days ago.

Tim blogs at Faith, Folk, and Charity.

Photo from the Vancouver Sun.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

LATEST REPORT ON CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE BY ROMAN CATHOLIC CLERGY

For some days I've intended to write about the report by the researchers at John Jay College on child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, but I'm blocked. One stumbling block is the consistent use in the report of "incidents of child abuse", rather than "reported incidents of child abuse". We know, or we should know, that incidents of child abuse are grossly under-reported everywhere. The authors of the report state as much themselves. Therefore, it seems to me that the modifier should be used consistently. I don't know. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but when "reported" is left out, I stop in my tracks and think it should be there. What we know, especially about earlier times, may just be the tip of the iceberg, and there is much that we will never know. Even now, reports of cover-up still surface as is demonstrated by the recent story of the removal from active ministry of 21 Roman Catholic priests in Philadelphia.

And I surely do not buy the blame-it-on-Woodstock excuse. As Ken Briggs says in the National Catholic Reporter:
The Sixties did it.

The John Jay College report on child sexual abuse by priests nails it. Don't put the chief blame on the church -- nothing wrong with its teachings on sexuality or celibacy.

It's the demon Sixties with its ravenous demand for freedom. Blacks, women, college students, war protesters cut loose against the old restraints. Vatican II chimed in, wittingly or not, or borrowed from it, espousing such things as letting fresh breezes blow through the church and encouraging a participatory, more democratic Catholicism.

To many church authorities, the "revolution" that mattered most was about sex. Cramped minds imagined orgies and impulsive free love that assaulted church teachings.

I've finished reading the summary, and I'm on page 20 of the 152 page report, but I can't promise to read it all. The report is here in pdf format and is titled The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2011.

There's so much that I would like to address in the report that I don't know where to begin. As a result, I may never begin. The contributors at The Lead have done a terrific job of following the commentary on the report here, here, and here. Pardon me, if missed a link or two.

THE VETERINARIAN'S MOM


One Sunday, as he was counting the money in the weekly offering, the pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000. It happened again the next week!

The following Sunday, he watched as the offering was collected, and saw an elderly woman put the distinctive pink envelope on the plate. This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity, approached her.

"Ma'am, I couldn't help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate," he stated.

"Why yes," she replied, "every week my son sends me money, and I give some of it to the church."

The pastor replied, "That's wonderful. But $1000 is a lot; are you sure you can afford this? How much does he send you?"

The elderly woman answered, "$10,000 a week."

The pastor was amazed. "Your son is very successful; what does he do for a living?"

"He is a veterinarian," she answered.



"That's an honorable profession, but I had no idea they made that much money," the pastor said. "Where does he practice?"

The woman answered proudly, "In Nevada. He has two cat houses...one in Las Vegas, and one in Reno."



Don't blame me. Blame Sue T. I can't blame her at all for the cute kitteh pictures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

DOUG BLANCHARD'S "END OF THE WORLD" SERIES


Quickly, before the rapture on Saturday, see Doug Blanchard's (aka Counterlight) "End of the World" series of paintings. In all seriousness, Doug's pictures are powerful and haunting, truly outstanding.

The painting above, as you see, is titled "Rescue". At his blog, I told Doug that the painting called to mind a crucifixion, and that's true, but what the scene suggests now, with a further look, is a particular scene at the crucifixion, the pietà.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A ROLLING RAPTURE?


Starting in the Pacific rim at around 6:00 PM with a great earthquake? In these days of instant communication, won't we hear about it if the rapture doesn't happen in the Pacific rim? I'm just asking.

Instead of wasting my time searching for a rapture picture, I stole the scene above of the rapture in Dallas, Texas, from Counterlight. He posted a group of pics, and I liked the Dallas best. The scene is realistic, because it shows the wrecked cars. Of course, only the naughty left behind folks are apt to get hurt, so the wreckage doesn't matter. If you have the slightest doubt that you may be amongst those left behind, stay in your house until all is calm after the excitement.

As I said in the comments over there, "I guess right at the time when the big event is to happen, we should all put our arms in the air just in case...."

COINCIDENCE?


Doug (or someone) says, "I absolutely refuse to believe this is a coincidence!!!"

RICHARD HOLBROOKE FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

From Nicholas D. Kristof at the New York Times:
When he was alive, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was effectively gagged, unable to comment on what he saw as missteps of the Obama administration that he served. But as we face a crisis in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it’s worth listening to Holbrooke’s counsel — from beyond the grave.

As one of America’s finest strategic thinkers and special envoy to the Af-Pak region, Holbrooke represented the administration — but also chafed at aspects of the White House approach. In particular, he winced at the overreliance on military force, for it reminded him of Vietnam.

“There are structural similarities between Afghanistan and Vietnam,” he noted, in scattered reflections now in the hands of his widow, Kati Marton.

“He thought that this could become Obama’s Vietnam,” Marton recalled. “Some of the conversations in the Situation Room reminded him of conversations in the Johnson White House. When he raised that, Obama didn’t want to hear it.”

That Obama didn't want to hear Richard Holbrooke's counsel is unfortunate, indeed.

From the Army Times:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Four American soldiers serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan died Monday in an explosion in the country's south, NATO and a defense department official said, bringing home the human cost of the U.S.-led push into Taliban strongholds.

The official said they were hit by an improvised explosive device. He spoke on condition of anonymity because relatives of those killed were still being notified. The latest deaths make a total of 16 NATO service members killed so far this month, and 167 so far this year.

What is it about being in the Oval Office that blinds presidents to the reality that prolonging a war that goes nowhere, even as members of the military and civilians continue to be maimed and killed, will accomplish nothing worthwhile? The war in Afghanistan has now become Obama's war. What is the president's view of the endgame?
Vali Nasr, a member of Holbrooke’s team at the State Department, puts it this way: “He understood from his experience that every conflict has to end at the negotiating table.”

Why not sooner, rather than later?

Read Kristof's column in its entirely for its valuable analysis of Holbrooke's views on our relations with Pakistan.
As for Pakistan, Holbrooke told me and others that because of its size and nuclear weaponry, it was center stage; Afghanistan was a sideshow.

“A stable Afghanistan is not essential; a stable Pakistan is essential,” he noted, in the musings he left behind.

That Obama will reconsider Holbrooke's wise counsel now that he has passed on is surely too much to hope for, but I hope anyway.

Monday, May 16, 2011

THE OLD RIVER CONTROL STRUCTURE - SIMMESPORT, LOUISIANA


Click on the map for the larger view.

The map above shows the locations of the Old River Control Structure and the Morganza Floodway.



Above is an aerial view of the Old River Control Structure. Image from Wikipedia.



Shown above is the Morganza Floodway with one bay open. As of now, 11 bays are open. The US Corps of Engineers expects to open 31 of the 125 bays in the floodway.

In the comments to this post at Wounded Bird, Paul (A.) asks a question and references an article in the New Yorker by John McPhee, written in 1987:
Is the opening of the floodway to the Atchafalaya the beginning of the end for Baton Rouge and New Orleans?

In response, I wrote a long comment which I decided to edit and use in a post.
Paul (A.), I read the article by McPhee when it came out in 1987. He writes about the Old River Control Structure at Simmesport, north of the Morganza Floodway. The Mississippi River wants to take the most direct route to the Gulf of Mexico, which is through the Atchafalaya River basin. If that happened vast areas would be flooded, and the Baton Rouge and New Orleans ports would be finished as major ports. The passage of large ships between NO and north of BR would cease, because the Mississippi River would not have enough water to support major shipping.

The Old River Control Structure was built to direct the major flow to the Mississippi River rather than the Atchafalaya River at roughly 70%/30%. McPhee and others think that the structure could fail and the river eventually have its way, and they may be right. However, since the article was written, an additional structure was added to the ORCS complex, which serves as further reinforcement to prevent a failure. We shall see.

The purpose of the Morganza Floodway is entirely different. It's built to send water into the Atchafalaya River basin to protect Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and the refineries and chemical plants along the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in the event the Mississippi reaches flood stage, which it has now. The flooding of the Atchafalaya River basin is to lower the level of water in the Mississippi River to prevent overtopping of the levees and to reduce the intense pressure from the high waters in the river, to prevent breaches. Either event could have catastrophic consequences.

I hope this helps.

Posted with the caveat that I am neither a flood engineer nor an expert on flooding.

POINTE COUPEE - MINI-WOODSTOCK


From A History of Pointe Coupée Parish, Louisiana by Brian J Costello.
An unusual event two years after the Woodstock music festival, attracted huge crowds and widespread national attention to Pointe Coupée Parish: the Celebration of Life held during June 24-27, 1971, at McCrea. A Baton Rouge attorney leased the 700-acre Cypress Point site between the Atchafalaya River and levee to rock festival promoters for the festival, which attracted, according to the Associated Press, an estimated 50,000 persons from across the United States and foreign countries.

The celebration was scheduled to run eight days, but was delayed by legal injunctions and safety and sanitary concerns. The fact that the festival was staged in Pointe Coupée caused much apprehension, as parish residents had hitherto experienced little contact with "hippies". Attendees camped out on local roads and levees before the program finally got underway. Before and during the festival, they suffered from appalling heat and thunderstorms and limited food and water supplies. When the program finally got underway, only a few of the many scheduled acts performed. Among those who did were Ted Nugent, Ike and Tina Turner, Sly and the Family Stone, and Melanie.

Some 150 festival goers were arrested for drug possession. Several others reportedly died from drowning and drug overdoses and at least one baby was born during the "mini-Woodstock." A number of young attendees were beaten for no apparent reason by motorcycle club members hired by festival organizers as "security" for the event but who acted as thugs.

However, many attendees nationwide still today speak nostalgically on internet blogs today of the friendliness and hospitality offered by parish residents, and the latter tell of politeness of festival-goers with whom they had contact.

Below is a video of a film of scenes from the event taken with an 8mm. movie camera.



To think of such an event taking place in sleepy Pointe Coupée Parish (the location of the small farm where Grandpère grew up) back in 1971, when the parish was sleepy is amazing. I remember the consternation of the local folks at the time. They did not want another Woodstock in their territory.

The parish is no longer sleepy, for it's become a weekend and holiday place of choice for a visit, with resulting construction of many new waterfront "camps", some priced at over $1 million. In addition, commuters from Baton Rouge and retirees are swelling the permanent population. The traffic on the road in front of our house is nearly non-stop, making it difficult and rather dangerous to cross to the river front or to get on the road in a car.

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH USA VOTES TO ALLOW PARTNERED GAY AND LESBIAN CLERGY

From NOLA.com:
A group of Presbyterians in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on Tuesday cast the decisive votes that open ordination to openly gay men and lesbian clergy in the 2 million-member Presbyterian Church USA.

A regional church group called the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area became the 87th presbytery to approve the constitutional change to the denomination’s book of order, reaching the required majority vote among the denomination’s 173 presbyteries.

The Presbytery of South Louisiana, representing 61 Presbyterian USA churches, voted to approve gay ordination at a meeting in Baton Rouge last month.

Good news, indeed, however I was sorry to read the following news about the local Presbyterian church, which I did not know until now:
By one count, the drift caused an estimated 100 large Presbyterian churches to leave the denomination for more conservative Presbyterian bodies.

In Louisiana, for example, First Presbyterian churches of Baton Rouge and Thibodaux, as well as Woodland Presbyterian Church in Algiers, left for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which takes a traditional stand on sexuality.

If we had no Episcopal Church in my town, I'd thought I might attend the Presbyterian Church, but now, I don't know.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE TOWN OF SLAVE LAKE, ALBERTA


From Tim Chesterton:
Dear Christian Blogging Friends:

I wonder if you might post this news item on your blog and ask for prayers? The town of Slave Lake is only 250 kms north of Edmonton and many people in this city have family and friends there. I myself led a couple of workshops at the ecumenical church there back in the 1990s. It seems that hundreds of buildings have been burned down and there is no sign yet that the fire is anywhere close to being under control.
After a day of caution over two encroaching wildfires, the winds picked up and brought chaos and destruction to Slave Lake.

Wind gusts that accelerated the advance of fires and grounded water bombers Sunday afternoon allowed the fire to jump two highways. Afterwards, it was free to tear through the Alberta town of 7,000 people. A long list of hundreds of buildings have burned down – including city hall, the police station, the radio station and countless houses – and the town has brought in a mandatory evacuation. The fires appear out of control.

More information at the Edmonton Journal and the Globe and Mail.

Thank you for your prayers.

Tim

UPDATE FROM TIM:
If you feel right about doing so, you might want to add that the toll-free number for the Alberta Red Cross is 1-800-418-1111.

Of course, I feel right about it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

COME NOW, JOHN!


Yesterday, as I sat down in to watch a little TV, what should appear on the screen but the sight of John Boehner giving the commencement speech at Catholic University. What!!! John Boehner who, if he had his way, would cut programs that serve the poor to the bone. Why was he chosen as the commencement speaker?

Then, as I watched, he took his hankie out of his pocket and wiped his nose. Oh well, his nose was running. What else could he do? No wait! He's crying - again! Boehner went on to speak tearily of difficult times in his political career and how he always prayed to do God's will, and that he prayed to the Blessed Mother when he was asked to resume leadership of the House, and she didn't exactly answer him, but Coach Grant did, and that was pretty damned close, except he didn't say "damned" in the commencement address.

Does Boehner ever shed a tear at the thought of the poor whose difficult lives will be worsened if he is successful in getting his policies into law? Please!

Watch the video at Mediaite.

UPDATE: From the National Catholic Reporter:
A group of prominent Catholic academics have signed a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, on the occasion of his forthcoming commencement address at the Catholic University of America. I will provide commentary later today, but the letter really speaks for itself, respectfully, clearly and in a way to challenge the Speaker to consider his policies. The letter will be delivered to Boehner's office personally by some of the signatories tomorrow morning.

A brief excerpt from the letter:
Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings. From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.

Read the entire letter at the link above. It's good, and its list of signatories is impressive.

Friday, May 13, 2011

MAP OF AREA THAT MAY BE FLOODED BY OPENING MORGANZA FLOODWAY


Click on the map for the enlarged view, and then click again for magnification. For those of you who may be concerned about us, you will see from the map that we are not in a zone which will be flooded when the Morganza Floodway is opened tomorrow. Thibodaux is just south of the center of the map.

The floodway will be opened to send more water down the Atchafalaya River basin in order to lower the volume of water in the Mississippi River from above Baton Rouge and New Orleans to prevent the river from overtopping the levees and to relieve pressure on the levees to prevent breaches which would flood a much larger number of people than those who will be flooded by opening the floodway. I feel sad for those who will be inundated, but even if the Morganza Spillway gates were not opened, certain areas near the Atchafalaya River would flood, because of water spilling over the top of the floodway gates. Water is lapping at the gates and leaking through them already.

I hope what I've written makes sense. Thank you for your concern.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A SHORT BREAK

Since I'm feeling a bit weary of blogging, I'm going to take a few days off. No black dog has got hold of me, nothing's wrong, I just want a break. I know I've made similar statements on other occasions and ended up back blogging rather quickly. Who knows? That may happen again. We shall see.

GRANDPÈRE'S POTATO CROP


Digging out the potatoes.



GP harvested about 40 pounds of potatoes.



The uprooted potato plants.



The potato plot.



The entire scene.

Grandpère likes for me to brag about his garden, and I'm happy to do so. I consider that I am fortunate to have access to so many fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and fruit. The produce, along with fresh fish, and meat from the hunt, such as venison, wild pork, and various wild birds make for delicious eating.