Friday, December 19, 2008

IT JUST KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER

Further in the hijinks of soon to be former church.......

This past summer Wonderboy and I would pick my mom up on Sunday and she would join us at worship at church. Three times over the course of the summer she filled out a visitor card with her name, address and telephone number and dropped it into the collection plate.

Up until this week she had never heard from anyone.

When we all attended the program this past fall given by Wonderboy's choir directors and his choir, one of the elders stood up to talk about the volunteer expo. He shared that he and his wife decided to come to this church because of the wonderful welcome they received after they filled out their visitor card. The kind and caring telephone call, he went on, caused them to feel all warm and fuzzy about this church and that's why they joined. Then he stated that every single visitor card was responded to and that's what makes this church so great. The warm welcome that everyone who comes here receives.

Yesterday, at long last, my mother finally received two warm and caring responses in the mail.

One was an invitation to a dinner to be held at a posh country club near the Rose Bowl. There she could reunite with her fellow new member classmates and share her experiences of the church. She would also have the opportunity to visit again with the associate pastor who held the classes.

The other was a letter from the head pastor thanking her for her pledge commitment this year. He noted that the budget of 2.4 million this year had not been met, and that they needed 1.1 million in, oh I forget now, I think she said it was the next few months. He said, in the letter, that he is hoping the members will double their gifts next year and to please fill out the enclosed pledge card and return it.

There are interesting facts to note about all this:

~My mother never attended any new member class at this church and did not join
~My mother never made or gave any pledge or tithe to this church

And the most interesting fact of all:

Both these mailings were addressed to my mother's correct last name and address. But to Mr. JIM ----------. She is most definitely not a Jim and my deceased father was a Ralph.

Egad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WHEREIN PG SNICKERS A SATISFYING TEE HEE BEHIND HER FAN

Another entry in the saga of my soon to be former church's drama drama. This one turns it into a comedy.

Two weeks ago Wonderboy performed with his church choir at the annual Christmas concert. The adult choir, handbells and praise band performed twice, first with the younger children's choir, then later with Wonderboy's choir.

And the new drama group introduced their wares to the congregation for the first time.

Before the performance I had run into a friend of mine from the adult choir. She was one of my actors when I produced drama at this church. I learned from her that this group provides "free" chancel dramas in exchange for rehearsal and performance space. A quid pro quo arrangement. She also told me that in order to join this theater group in any capacity, one must pay monthly membership dues. Remember this part. You will find it interesting later on. She also said that she would be interested to hear what I thought after the performance.

First I will dispassionately tell you the choice of material. They enacted two pieces of scripture. One was Mary meeting her cousin Elizabeth. The other was Elizabeth and Zechariah.

Next I will say the good things that I can about their performance. "They were clothed. "

Now I will say what I would have said if asked my opinion. "I am certainly not in their league.", "Never in my entire life could I produce anything of this quality.", and "Words fail me."

During the first piece with Mary and Elizabeth, the woman portraying Mary would recite a piece of scripture, (always facing the congregation and never relating to her fellow actor) then stop for long enough to wonder if she was all finished, then start again. I found it an interesting choice to portray Mary as a narcoleptic. The woman portraying Elizabeth did the Celine Dion chest thump on her belly when saying "the baby leapt in my womb.....", which in real life would have likely rendered John the Baptist deaf as a post. When Mary was speaking without relating to Elizabeth, Elizabeth plastered a frozen look of rapture on her face. We used to call this "mugging".

The second piece was....well...um....here's where words fail me. Zechariah and Elizabeth re-entered with Elizabeth now carrying what looked like a football wrapped in a blanket. She wore the same plastered look of rapture. The actor portraying Zechariah started in strong with his first sentence. Then stopped cold. After a couple, er, ums, hehs, he would paw at the "baby's" blanket, obviously looking for lines that must have been hidden in there. Elizabeth's rapturous mug started to look strained the 4th or 5th time Zechariah pawed at the "baby" for his words. After awhile it kinda looked like he might be drunk. I had to cover my face, it was too painful to watch. It was the kind of awful bad that makes you feel sorry for the actors and want to go up, take them by the hand and lead them offstage with "Oh, honey, you need to stop before you hurt yourself any more." In Covenant Players we called this kind of really bad scripture enactment "bathrobe drama."

During this debacle my mom leaned over to me and said "I thought they were supposed to be pros?" She and I whispered some choice comments back and forth.

At the end of the program the director of this group was introduced as "our colleague." He is a man of remarkable girth. In a church consisting of mostly conservative families and older folks he has chosen a costume of black jeans, black long-sleeved t-shirt and a black beret to cover his bald pate. The only other color were his athletic shoes. They were white. Once. Very "artsy."

When the program was over and we stood to leave, who do you imagine was sitting right behind us? That's right, the head pastor and his wife. My mom said she hoped they heard her comments. God bless her!

The kids were wonderful. I pray that next year we'll find ourselves in a church that will inspire an inversely proportional mention of wonderful to "Egad".

The next day, while at Trader Joe's, I ran into another friend from this church. She had not attended the performance but told me she had heard plenty about the drama and how wretched it was.

As a curious P.S. a few days later my mom and I were visiting a local business we enjoy. The proprietor there knows most of what happens in this small burb of L.A. She said she knew of a woman who works as a T.V. anchor at a local T.V. station who this very drama group is always calling asking to perform with them in the church. She does not have to pay the dues to join them. In fact, they would have to pay her to perform with them.

I considered this an early Christmas present from Jesus. I will now exit this place laughing as I shake the dust from my feet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ZINA SAUNDERS ART


(copyright Zina Saunders 2008)


You all know who this guy is and the naughty naughty things he "allegedly" did that have him now cooling his heels in the pokey. I sure hope he looks good in stripes. As I hear it, Santa is "allegedly" leaving him coal in his subpoenas and skipping his Christmas stocking altogether!!

This wonderful illustration was created by the artist, Zina Saunders. For a very funny review of the election and other great illustrations and paintings, visit her website. I have been enjoying her art work for a while now since.....once again.....hold your applause....Dave P. introduced her. That man should have a blog in addition to his website!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

STAND BY ME

I have seen this around the bloggy world, then finally watched it when my friend, Dave P. sent it out this morning to his friends. Figured I was meant to see it. And I was. It's a wonderful piece!

It's amazing what the new technology enables more of us to do. So cool.


Monday, December 01, 2008

PSALM MONDAY - #3

For Advent, today's Psalm is #24

"To the Lord belong the earth and everything in it,
the world and all its inhabitants. 
For it was he who founded it on the seas and 
planted it firm on the waters beneath.

Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
One who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not set his mind on what is false or sworn deceitfully.
Such a one shall receive blessing from the Lord,
and be vindicated by God his saviour.
Such is the fortune of those who seek him,
who seek the presence of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, you gates,
lift yourselves up, you everlasting doors,
that the king of glory may come in.
Who is this king of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, you gates,
lift them up, you everlasting doors,
that the king of glory may come in.
Who is he, this king of glory?
The Lord of Hosts, he is the king of glory."
(from the Oxford Study Bible)

This Psalm seems perfect for the beginning of Advent. Who exactly is it who is coming? And, where do we fit in his holy place? Do we fit? 

I imagine us as being the gates and the doors. Let's get busy!!


It's not an official Christmas song, but I'm making it one today.....


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

PSALM MONDAY - #2

Today's Psalm is #7

"Lord my  God, in you I find refuge; rescue me from all my pursuers and save me
before they tear at my throat like a lion and drag me off beyond hope of rescue.
Lord my God, if I have done any of these things -- if I have stained my hands with guilt,
if I have repaid a friend evil for good or wantonly despoiled an adversary --
let an enemy come in pursuit and overtake me, let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my honour in the dust!

Arise Lord, in your anger, rouse yourself in wrath against my adversaries.
My God who ordered justice to be done, awake. 
Let the peoples assemble around you; take your seat on high above them. 
The Lord passes sentence on the nations.
Uphold my cause, Lord, as my righteousness deserves, for I am clearly innocent.
Let the wicked do no more harm, but grant support to the righteous, 
you searcher of heart and mind, you righteous God.

I rely on God to shield me; he saves the honest of heart.
God is a just judge, constant in his righteous anger. 

The enemy sharpens his sword again, strings his bow and makes it ready. 
It is against himself he has prepared his deadly shafts and tipped his arrows with fire.
He is in labour with iniquity; he has conceived mischief and given birth to lies.
He has made a pit and dug it deep, but he himself will fall into the hole he was making.
His mischief will recoil upon him, and his violence fall on his own head.

I shall praise the Lord for his righteousness and sing to the name of the Lord Most High."

(from the Oxford Study Bible)

This is a long one. I'll just highlight a couple impressions I have from this today. David is praying for deliverance, protesting his innocence, asking for justice, confident God will be righteous in judgement, outlining what is wicked and then offering praise. All I could think of while reading this was what if the author had been Uriah? And he was asking God to avenge him for David's plot to kill him and keep Bathsheba? David seems self righteous himself in this Psalm. I also kept thinking "Be careful what you ask for there, dog, you might just get it!!" 

I read that David was very beloved of God, even though he was a hound dog in his behavior. It seems to me God overlooked all that nasty business of the flesh in regarding the bigger picture.  

It also seems to me that Jesus also minimized the business of the flesh in regarding the bigger picture and gave love precedence over all in the business of salvation and eternal life. 

I find that oddly comforting today. Especially after David asks for help before his enemies drag him off "beyond hope of rescue". It gives me pause to think that this is even possible. I know, I know, Jesus is the rescuer. But still. David was a favorite and it was possible for him. Still, oddly comforted. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

PSALM MONDAY

I am inspired by Lindy. A Psalm a day sounds like a good dose of day start-age. Today is the first day, so the first Psalm it is. Every Monday I'll post where I'm at. 

PSALM 1

Happy is the one who does not take the counsel of the wicked for a guide,
or follow the path that sinners tread, 
or take his seat in the company of scoffers.
His delight is in the law of the Lord;
it is his meditation day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside water channels;
it yields its fruit in season and its foliage never fades.
So he too prospers in all he does.

The wicked are not like this;
rather they are like chaff driven by the wind.
When judgement comes, therefore, they will not stand firm,
nor will sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

The Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked is doomed.

(Oxford Study Bible)


There are different categories of person in this psalm. I'd like to think I was righteous, though I know it's not always so. There are two definitions for righteous, which helps. One is "morally upright, justifiable and virtuous," and the other is "perfectly wonderful, fine and genuine". Sometimes I am those things in various combination. But not always. Sometimes I have been the other things in this psalm: wicked, scoffer and a sinner. And honestly I do not always delight in the law. It's not my meditation day and night. There are chores here! Lots of them.

Does that mean that when I am not righteous God is not watching over me any more, or that I'm just not really happy? Maybe it's similar to when I watch my son for the umpteenth time walk away from the bathroom without flushing. After throwing up my hands in frustration, I just charge him 50 cents. That actually worked. He was not at all happy about paying 50 cents a non-flush. Maybe when we stray from the path, God just backs off, lets us suffer the consequences till we figure it out and get back on track.  "The way of the wicked is doomed". (For some reason  that makes me think of Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes")

Then again there are many times I do my best to stay the course and do not feel at all "watched over" during the major "crappity" (thanks Cheesehead) whatsoever. That one I cannot figure out. It's on my list of "What was THAT about?" when I meet up with the Lord. 

I don't think I'm supposed to go through my day pointing at people, deciding they're wicked and giggling over their doom. That would be far too simplistic and inaccurate a take on this Psalm. I think instead, I will try to be a tree today. With  great looking foliage. Righteous foliage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

THE VET WHO DID NOT VET

That Dave P. finds the BEST stuff!!! I could not resist one more political post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

REQUIEM FOR JOHN

John Robert McGraham was doused with a flammable liquid (probably gasoline) and set on fire by a teenaged boy October 9, 2008. One man who was interviewed said he tried to put out the flames, and that John never cried out.

He died from his burns. His
Memorial Service on Sunday indicated that he had a loving family who tried to help him with his chronic depression. But no one was ever able to reach him.

This is the worst of
recent attacks on the homeless that seem to be escalating all over the country.

I believe there is a correlation to this and the dying of mainline churches. I believe there is a correlation between the dying of common decency in this country and the dying of mainline churches. I believe there is a correlation between the shouts of killing the other party's opponent and the dismissals of the shouts not being "heard" and the dying of mainline churches. I believe there is a correlation between
attacks on people's property who display political support signs of the t'other party and the dying of mainline churches. I believe there is a correlation between the acceptance of political candidates lying as normal business as usual and the dying of mainline churches.

And I believe that the death of civil community and the dying of the mainline church is interrelated.

Whoever wins this most contentious election will find it a hard road to reinvigorate civil standards of tolerance, acceptance and community in this country because the major founding base has, IMO,  lost its moral compass.

So, for John Robert McGraham, and for the rest of us, I will try to remember to pray for whoever wins. Come what may.

CALLING ALL SWING VOTERS!

Friend Dave P. (who is an endless wealth of fun resource materials) has found yet another gem. This one is for all you swing voters out there, or those who just enjoy good tunes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

FRIDAY FIVE - COIN TOSS EDITION



From Songbird this week:

"Well, Gals and Pals, this weekend we'll be rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and that has me thinking about coinage."

Thank you Songbird!!  I must say that I do enjoy coins. There is something substantially satisfying about the heft and jingle of coinage. It's accountant's bling. And shiny new coins a'jingling are as fun as Christmas presents! I have faux gold coin earrings and I used to have a favorite belt that was made of faux gold coins. And you can learn a lot about history and politics from the  study of ancient coins!

1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?


It was sometime in the last couple weeks. I love quarters. They are just the perfect flippable weight. When I pick one up I like to flip it. Especially if it's one I found on the ground! 




2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?

I have old French coins around from the days before the Euro, when I traveled to Paris on business. Plus a couple Canadian coins that snuck in over my wallet border from some store's cash register. And coins from South of the border. Somewhere. Plus some really cool ancient Roman coins from my dad. D'ya think Caesar's gonna want them back?





3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let's get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they'll find a special place in, well, the other place?

There will be no need for coins in heaven.  All vending machines will provide snacks and beverage simply with a proper prayer. And they've certainly done nothing to merit copper melt down in H*E*double hockey sticks! Their place is in my pennies boxes about the house. Wrapped in 50 cent coin wrappers. Waiting their turn to be sent to Bank Heaven to be transmogrified into paper! I've heard there are plans to do away with the penny! I would be very sad if that were to happen. 





4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)

The tooth fairy was really good to me until I was 8 and figured out who it was. I got 50 cents per tooth! In a 50 cent piece. After age 8 and the canines and other teeth came out I got bupkiss. Wonderboy gets a paper buck a tooth. Kids today don't have the same appreciation for precious metals.  Maybe it's because coins are mostly faux filled now. We do have a really nifty tooth bank (exactly like the one above) to save his teeth in. We have them all but one so far. He kept taking one of them out to play with  and it's decaying somewhere down in the den even as we speak.






5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?

Both Wonderboy and I are collecting these flippable beauties!! I have a special book that details information on each state with the coin's history behind the state's motto and such. Wonderboy has a nice cardboard keepsake that someone gave him as a gift. I'm missing that last three!! Can anyone help??? Kentucky took just forever to get hold of for some reason.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WHAT IF......

Here's a fun website someone came up with to help us get an idea of...... what if....

Palin were President!

Click on all the stuff in the office to play.


(hat tip to Dave P.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

....just a note, in several part harmony

Before school conversation:

"Mom! Why are you dressing up more this week?"

"Darling, I feel it's important to accessorize for the apocalypse."






Amen.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

DEAR AUNT CRABBY - Agin, the 2nd time

*Brrrrrrrinnnnnnngggg*
"Well Hi Thar! Y'all have reached Sam! Financial expert and Home Security Consultant. Please speak your piece at the tone"

"Sam, you no good son of a -"

CLICK, "Why Crabby! To what do I owe this dubious honor?"

"I j'es got a letter from our niece, uh, Oh Lordy, what is that girl's name?"

"Cindy?"

"I dunno, she the one what got married in 10th grade?"

"The very one. An they're still happily entwined, I am proud to say."

"Then it's the  t'other one. I think the one what has 6 earrings in one ear and a tattoo of Betty Boop on 'er hind parts."

"That's be Gloria."

"OK. Anywho, she's tellin' me some nonsense about Wally and how you done went to the bank and put the whole damned family in hock up to their eyeballs bailin' that boy outta 5 minutes of trouble before he gets back into 10!!! Is this true?"

*throat clearin heard*

"Sam, Sam you there? Oh damn hold on a minute, I jez set Precious on fire."

*Phone drops to floor. Footsteps walk away*

*from a distance Sam hears: "Precious what did I tell you about jumpin' on me when I've just lit my afternoon ceegar? Gracious me, It's a miracle you have any fur left at all!" *footsteps back to phone.

"Sam! You there you thievin coot?"

"Right here my dear Crabby. Y'all still have those 8 cats?"

"More like 18 now. I dunno where in tarnation they come from,  but  they shore know a sucker for purrin' when they see one! Now, enough pleasantries. I want you to explain to me what on earth you was thinkin' bailin' Wally out. We just don't do that!! Never have. You know he's fulla lies and empty promises these last few years."

"But Crabby, think of all the good years he done right by us. An' besides, if we don't rescue him, nobody will no more, an' all that investment on schoolin' we gave him will go to waste."

"Sam, you idjit!! It's gone to waste now. And you KNOW who everbody's gonna come to when the manure hits the combine! You know it'll be me they cry to. An' what the hell am I supposed to do?"

"You still got all them mattresses darlin?"

"Who tole you 'bout that? Who? I want names now. Somebody's gonna get hurt."

"Don't matter, Crabby. But you know you got plenty a dough to help out now. No way you're gonna spend all the money in yore liftime."

"That is NOT for you to decide. Since when do you get off your high horse and put the family in debt without permission, then decide that my hard earned savins' is what'll bail all your'ins hides out!!!! This is just wrong. I've a mind to come down there this very minute with my shotgun and teach you a lesson in manners!!"

"Crabby, Crabby, Crabby. J'es calm down now. It ain't like you're gonna run outta money for ceegars and cat food. It's j'es a little bit."

"How much?"

"How much what?"

"How much we talkin' about here, Sam?"

"Well, I don't rightly know."

"Then how in HELL can you say I won't go broke bailin' our kin out? Huh? I'd like ta know that."

"I've almost never been wrong before now. So you have ta listen ta me."

"Do not. You have done gone and lost your mind along with your good sense and decency. I will not be picking this phone up or answering my door ever agin now. So do not try to lay this on my doorstep, you ole thieven, lyin' coot!"

*Click* *Dialtone*

*to himself* "Yeah, Crabby, we'll see about that'n, yes we will." 

*Sam rubs neck of purring white Persian cat*

Saturday, October 04, 2008

DEAR AUNT CRABBY

Dear Aunt Crabby,

Thank you for the big ole box of Russell Stover chocolates for my birthday! You do remember my birthday isn't till next spring? Still, thanks awful much for the thoughtful gift. The card was funny too. I really like the way you crossed out "Get Well" and wrote in "Happy Birthday". The proctology joke played much better as a birthday joke.

I have so much news for you here. Hang onto your hat! (Do you still have that lovely straw  number with the giant pink chrysanthemums?) Remember Cousin Wally? The one who ran off to New York to become a big Broadway star? After emptying out his mama's (Aunt Lettie) wallet? Then he ended up selling Amway in Hoboken? Well after all these years, he came back to town and you will just never guess what he did.

Cousin Wally robbed all the banks in town. Ever single one of 'em. I kid you not. His scheme was so slick 'n all that not only did all of us know that he was the one what did it, he did it so slick that he persuaded us the banks had done give him all their money voluntarily! No lie. You remember what a fast talker he was! Now just when the sheriff started to poke around and ask questions, such as "Wally? Where'd all that money go what the banks gave you?", then Wally decided to get outta town. 

Now here's the part that's just so unbelievable. His car broke down! He could not get outta town. And just when all of us family and townfolk were startin' to figger out what Wally'd done, he pulled his big baby act and actually got ever one of us to feel sorry for him. Though we still didn't wanna give him any money to fix his durn car.

Then Uncle Sam, you remember him? He's the one with two bad legs cain't walk any more? He gits all of us family together and says that if we don't help Wally then the sheriff will arrest all of us and ruin our family with shame, because we are accessories!!! Can you beat that? He as much as said I was Wally's big dangly earrings!!! But Uncle Sam usually never steers us wrong. Well, maybe 'cept for the time he talked us into buying into that greasy spoon out on the interstate that ended up poison'n most of the customers from the put up tomaters from last year. 

Anyway! Uncle Sam went down to the bank. Our bank. What had no cash left from Wally stealing most of it. And he got this big ole loan. Said that we had all OK'd it. It was a big enough loan to buy Wally a new car, new suit, new shoes, new Corinthian leather wallet and pocket cash to get back to New York City! Without no guarantee of having to pay any of it back. Jus' a promise. An' you know what a promise from Wally is worth. 

Now we are all stuck payin' this  loan back. Trouble is, we all lost our jobs this year since the Panty Factory outsourced all its labor to China and the customer service to Pakistan. 

Anywho. I am writing now to thank you for the birthday gift and to ask if you could float us a little cash 'till all our government benefits kick in. We're low on milk and eggs. 

Oh and here's another funny story  I almost forgot! Remember the bank where Uncle Sam borrowed the money for Wally? The one that had no money either? It had to borrow the money all the way from China!!! Ain't that somethin' now. So now China is holdin' all the paper on our houses!!! Sure 'a hopin they don't get a hankerin' for living here in our town! We'd be sore outta luck then.

Anyway, any help you can send our  way is always appreciated. And I surely hope your rash is cleared up.

Cordially, with affection,

Your lovin' niece

Friday, October 03, 2008

ACCURATE PROPHECY FROM 1969

Here it is, from 1969. A motion picture depiction of the 2008 Bail-Out proposal now in the House of Representatives to be voted upon!!! From a British point of view. With Peter Sellers as Hank Paulson and Ringo Starr as Ben Bernanke.



The sixties. So prescient.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

CHAIN CHAIN CHAIN

I know we have to start doing SOMETHING. I suspect the House will follow suit tomorrow or Friday.

I still can't help feeling as if my family and I have been sold into, well at best indentured servitude if not out and out slavery.

From the only one on earth who can deliver this timely lament properly -


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

KATHY

Kathy passed to Glory on the 28th. 

Here she is with her family four days before,




Because so many of you graciously prayed with me for her and her family, I share Jim's note with you here:

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers. I must tell you that at around 3:45 p.m. this afternoon Kathy Meyer passed away. She had 5 close friends and our family of Tim, Ame and grandson Shawn with is. As the time got short the pastor came and he and I did the Commendation of the Dying service. It was a very tearful service. Kathy, whose eyes had turned up and breathing labored also teared up. I dried them as I dried my own while saying the prayers. Then she turned her eyes and focused them on me and as we finished the Lord's prayer she stopped breathing.

It took us all by surprise. I thought we would have a few more days, but the hours turned to minutes and then our breaths stopped; and all started again, but one.
I am sore and tired and I will send later notice when the memorial service will be.

God Bless you and good night.

In The Rest And Peace of Our Lord,


Jim

Saturday, September 27, 2008

BLOG AWARD



I got this today from 
Ruth, whose blog I enjoy and admire in reciprocation.

Thank you very much. I get to give this to five of my favorites which include, but are not all:

1. Jan Edmiston at
A Church for Starving Artists
For working so hard to move a real church in a real time.

2. Gannet Girl at
Search the Sea
For brilliance and openness with such bravery under fire.

3. Kievas at
Sharing a Journey
For pureness of heart and a fascinating point of view.

4. PureChristianIThink at Rebel Without a Pew

For humor in trying circumstances and courage in keepin' on.

and a new one:

5. A.K. Muckracker at
The Mudflats
For bravery and diligence in bringing the whole story in profoundly dishonest times.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NEW GAME SHOW AND WE ARE THE SPONSORS!!!

This will only take 5 minutes.





Go Marcy!!!!

Hat tip to
FranIAm

700 BILLION QUESTIONS

Christopher Dodd has asked some good questions of Paulsen and Bernanke:



I have a few more,

~The government does not have 700 billion in cash available, considering the national debit and it's enormous increase the last 8 years. This money will have to be borrowed. Who will the government borrow this money from?

~How much will the interest expense be on the 700 billion borrowed to service the bailout loan?

~How much of that 700 billion bailout will be spent on executives parachute payments? (as in, the contracted amount due to an exiting executive. These days parachutes are paid regardless of an executives actual performance in a company. Ethical or not)

~Paulsen and Bernanke claim that congress must approve this bailout to avoid an economic disaster. What do they call this situation we're now in?

~Will this bailout cover the bad mortgages written by foreign banks, central and private? Would those bad debt bailouts on foreign banks include bad mortgages made in other countries?

~Henry Paulsen is Secretary of Treasury. Bernanke is the new head of the Fed, replacing Alan Greenspan. These men and their predecessors are supposed to be very smart with economics. So are their predecessors. If they are so damned smart about economics how is it that they did NOT see this coming? My dad, deceased two years now, saw this coming years ago. Smart as HE was, he was not an economist. Given this question, I suggest that not only did these so called experts see this coming, but they stood by silently and somehow, somewhere have or will profit from it. Which leads me to - Why should we listen to them now?

~This is an "unreviewable bailout", which means there will be no transparency on how the money will be doled out. As a citizen and expected contributor of this bailout, I demand an audit of any monies paid out - bailout or other. Would you want an audit? If there are enough of us, we could organize a class action and get one.


Here's another angle on this mess regarding personal credit and ethics:



Let me get this straight: Nobody broke any laws in foisting this debt on the public. Companies, their shareholders and executives have all been laughing all the way to the bank with their profits and salaries while the debt load of the American public was unethically, but not illegally, pushed to 970 billion.

Now Paulsen and Bernanke want to not only add 700 billion to the 970 billion of Americans' personal debt, they want Congress to give the Fed (Bernanke) FULL regulatory reign over the banking and insurance industries as well as all of Wall Street. If they get this, then you and I will have to bail the country out as well as completely submit to the fiscal vagaries of Bernanke and their
Board of Governors who are made up of the wealthiest people in this country (who have already PROFITED from what has created this mess) and how they run our markets. I, for one, do not want that.

I am contacting my congressman today to urge him to FIND ANOTHER WAY. Our system of Capitalism is gone. Free markets are pretty well gone as well. If you and I do not work to educate ourselves on this nasty web of "spun" lies then our children and grandchildren will have to shoulder all this, soon to be trillions of dollars of debt for generations to come.


For the brilliant and quick cartoon version of all this, go see Mock Paper Scissors

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NOW I GET IT

Back in March I noticed this. Bush presented a proposal to bring the banking, insurance and stock market under the regulatory control of the Fed. Congress did not pass this.

Bush leaves office very soon. I picture him at his desk, sitting across from Cheney. Both men tapping their pencils and feet in agitated annoyance.

You all know what's happened in the markets lately. Now the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, says "more is needed".



It seems that Bush will very likely get his way after all. And we will have King Bernanke with his 12 Federal Reserve Bank arms to watch and regulate how we make our money and spend our money.

Crackpot theory #923 - it really might not matter WHO is elected president when this happens. This will change the fabric of the country permanently and mark the end of free enterprise.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

TIME TO BUY MORE MATTRESSES



more
animals

This little fellow was prepared for the economic roller-coaster this week.

Fortunately we were too. But only because a friend's colleague (economics professor) predicted the very events of last week about 4 or 5 months ago. And we heeded.

But most people haven't.

I find the timing of all these financial disasters (mortgage industry, banks and investment house failures, job loss due to overseas relocations, etc) to be curiously coincidental with the decade where baby boomers will be inheriting a good bit of wealth. Well, NOW: or not.

Juxtaposed with the recent spate of natural calamity, I don't believe it's going to get better soon. In fact it looks like we're probably headed for a long time of this:



(thank you Google Images)

Unless.......unless, and I'd say it looks doubtful, unless we, the peeps, start putting our grass roots heads together and taking back our lives. It can be done. Mustard seeds and mountains and all that.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PRAYERS FOR KATHY AND JIM



Kathy is dying.

Here is part of Jim's e-mail that I received this morning:

"Kathy has started with Hospice. We had two doctors, a nurse and social worker here the other day. The doctor asked Kathy to tell in her own words the history of her disease. He read silently along with hearing her statement the medical report . When Kathy had come to the end of her story, Dr. asked if we had any questions. We had only a few. then he asked if we would like to hear the statistics of life expectancy for this kind of Gallbladder cancer and Liver cancer disease. I looked to Kathy, for it was her decision if she were ready to hear such news. She nodded her head and said yes. Dr. examined Kathy and found her stomach extended and hard with tumors and her ankles and feet swollen. She is still yellow with Jaundice and he learned that she sleeps 18 - 20- hours a day. He said that is normal as the body is exhausted with fighting the disease and is weakened. After his examination he told us that Kathy has in the neighborhood of 2 months, 3, maybe 4, give or take. You could have heard a pin drop with the long silence.

Kathy and I had heard bits and peices in the hospital about her condition. We knew it was terminal but it was a relief and a shock again when Dr. put some flesh to the prospects. We now have work to do both together and apart. Our relationship is beautiful and loving. We are in this together and with God's strength we will see it through. It is hard to think of being alone, one without the other and sometimes I just can't go there."


Please send a prayer Jim and Kathy's way. And if you leave a comment here, I will forward this post to Kathy's e-mail so she can read how much love left in the world came to say "hey" to her. Thanks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

LATEST FROM ALASKA



Apparently a number of Alaskans do not feel that their governor represents them. What this writer describes as "the biggest political rally ever in the history of the state" seems to have been organized by a group of women over coffee. Perhaps a group of "community organizer" types. And you know how much trouble they can be now!

Also Les Gara, the Democratic State Representative from Anchorage, who states that he likes Ms. Palin, has observations on what McCain's choice and campaign staff has done in Alaska 
here.

(Both links are from Mudflats)

VOLUNTEER OR UNPAID EMPLOYEE??

Yesterday I received a 8-1/2 x 11 manila envelope from Upscale Church where Wonderboy is still singing in the children's choir. Inside was a booklet entitled "Be Christ's Hands at 'Upscale Church'".

It listed approximately 80 volunteer opportunities, some of which include the formerly paid staff positions now empty after a large portion of the staff was fired due to inability to meet the monthly operating budget. 

All the "positions" were listed in this order: Job Description, Time Commitment and Skills Needed. 

Many of the "volunteer positions" listed require that an application be filled out and a background check be performed. (PS I forgot to add that a minimum of one year's membership in good standing is also a "job requirement" to volunteer)

Is this the upscale version of the emerging church? Yikes! is all I can say.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

FRIDAY FIVE: BACK TO SCHOOL




Mother Laura writes this week: "It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!"

1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?


Wonderboy started his new school September 4th. He is loving it! He comes home happy and excited and gets his homework done all by himself. Well, since the teacher actually teaches him the material *ahem* unlike last year, it makes all the diff! 

The extra driving and starting 1/2 hour early, however, has shrunk my day to the size of a pea.

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid?

I was never glad to go back to school.  I loved getting the new clothes and the school supplies.  But *did*not*like*school. It bored me to tears.

3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now?

Twice a year, August and December, before each new semester, my mom took me shopping for my school clothes. I got to pick out whatever I wanted to wear. She never said a word, God bless her, because I know it must have been hard.  When I was in junior and senior high, she would take me to the  grown up store, called Mickey Fine's. These are special memories I have with my mom. I even remember some of the sharp looking outfits I picked out there.

4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc?
I liked to buy mix and match skirts and tops outfits. I remember one navy blue straight skirt that had a sleeveless matching top with red piping. I outgrew the top (not the way you'd think.....I come from a long line of lady linebackers with built in shoulder pads), but the skirt fit like a glove and I wore it for two years. 

The only lunchbox I remember was a red plaid lunchbox (that looked exactly like this one from Google Images)




that I think I had in first grade. I can still remember how the bologna sandwiches smelled when I took them out (before the days of those little freezer cooler thingies). I'm amazed now that we never got sick from half day warmed mayo. And the thermos! Sometimes my mom would surprise me with chocolate milk!  Lunch was my favorite class!

5. What was your best year of school?

School didn't work so well for me. I was skipped twice and even then was bored and under-challenged. When I finally found Drama and Play Production things perked up a little. But the teachers picked such lame plays.   In Junior High I was hell on wheels for my mom. I've since apologized.  And now understand all the reasons it went the way it did.  In my 2-1/2 years of High School I had far more fun after school than during. And still graduated with honors in the top 10 percent! Almost never did homework. Did it all during class. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A.A.A.D.D.

I was sent this in an e-mail today by a concerned friend who suggests I see a doctor about:
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder
I swear I have no idea what she's talking about.

This is how it manifests:


I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back
on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.
The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter
catches my eye--they need water.
I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk,
but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Some one left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers,
but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to
remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
I'm really baffled because I know
I was busy all day,
and I'm really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem,
and I'll try to get some help for it,
but first I'll check my e-mail....


Now I know this is not correct because anyone who knows me knows that I have a set of reading glasses in every room, three in my office and one in my purse! So there!

(hat tip to Sharon, wonderful Mom of Wonderboy's new BFF from new school)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

PEACE DAY SEPTEMBER 21

Here is someone who, along with others, is doing something very positive.




International Day of Peace

Peace One Day


I've marked my calendar and am thinking of what to do. Will you join me?

Monday, September 08, 2008

DON'T VOTE FOR GARNER ST. JOHN!!

If you think Palin's a poor choice,

I offer you 
this poor excuse for a candidate's website.

Here are outtakes from his campaign video that tell the real story:





(Note this is a satiric website created by one of my former Improv classmates. One of the more brilliant Improv classmates. The one I am wondering who did not call me to be part of this satiric website..........)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

That'll Teach Me to Look Stuff Up......



I had such a good idea for a post, courtesy of Wonderboy's dad. I was going to write about the political button of "oil", offshore drilling and ANWR. This was going to be based on the question: Would America actually get that oil, if the offshore and ANWR drilling happens? Or would it be put up for sale to the highest bidder? I have not been able to find any evidence that America owns anything but a small portion of the oil rights in ANWR. Even then,  there's no guarantee the government wouldn't sell it elsewhere. 


I am not an expert in any of this. Here are two of the more reasonable sites I found that distracted me from the above.




According to the projections on Peak Oil and the projections on demand far outstripping the rapidly dwindling supply, we just do not have time to implement sustainable alternatives. Apparently it just isn't gonna happen. 

Our food supply is dependent on petrochemicals and petroleum based fertilizer. Organic farming requires a much larger amount of arable land than would be able to supply the exponentially growing population. No petroleum, no dinner. 

The materials required to create the alternatives of solar panels, windmills and such require machinery that runs on *petroleum*; and is made of  precious metals, the supply of which is also dwindling rapidly. Metals that are mined with equipment that is manufactured with and run on *petroleum*. 

Ethanol based products would not even make a dent in the problem and the creation of the ethanols is now part of what is destroying the rain forest. I read other articles that said the amount of grain it takes for one fill-up of an SUV would feed a family of five for more than a month. 

While scaring the bejabbers outta me, these things also help distract me from worrying about the election so much. You can read yourself where it gets into the likely wars and famine and police states and end of general fun everywhere. That was more than I could take tonight.

It was profoundly naive of me to think that all we need is a do-over and change from petroleum to alternatives. But our products, medicines, economy and jobs are dependent on the black goo. We eat it, drink it, work for it, turn on lights because of it, wear it, go places on it, and a lot of it we use once and throw away. It's like we're all covered in a global oil slick. 



I have to think that there is a way to change this. But we have to start now. We have to organize. We have to pull together. Maybe create some kind of life manual that will start to turn this around as the fecal material hits the oscillating rotor. I will look around for organizations already set up. The ones I found tonight just wanted signatures on petitions. And money. I'm talking about organizations that give ideas and procedures and new ways to do things we do every day that will move us in the right direction. If you know any, please leave them in the comments.

Things like growing our own vegetables in our yards. Wearing clothes until they are actually dirty, instead of just once. Going back to candle light when bright light is not needed. Get medieval with ourselves on our consumption of everything. Starting now. 

Wonderboy and I watch Project Earth on Discovery. There are some very bright people out there working on a lot of things to help. It's you and I who have to start doing something right now. This second. Every choice we make from here out apparently has far wider consequences than we can imagine. 

Including who we elect this November. IMO, more of the same is just gonna dig us deeper the wrong way. (not-so-subtle political plug)

Meanwhile we need a catchy slogan. Anybody got any ideas?




Saturday, September 06, 2008

PRESBY POLITICS

Now for a break from the US political circus, I will shift to a Presbyterian political plug.

Blog Pal Robert Austell was at the PCUSA General Assembly this past June where he wrote a resolution that was passed overwhelmingly. This resolution calls for presbyteries to create a gracious process when a church seeks to break  away. His points for this are outlined in his post. I urge my fellow Presbyterians who read my blog to read it here because it is really good, IMO. Especially the part about the impact on public witness.

It is a good and positive thing Rev. Austell has accomplished and I wanted to share it today in the midst of so much national political tsuris

I return you now to our regularly scheduled program.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RODENT CONSCIOUSNESS

The guinea pig is sick. All the hair on the back half of her body is gone. Either ringworm or something else. She's not eating so much and is lethargic. Gonna call the vet first thing this morning.

TJ the hamster died after only 3 weeks with us. Now Curly is sick. 

Maybe some people should just stick to one kind of pet. Cats work for me because they practice such diligent self care. All I have to do is put out food and clean the litterbox. The only sacrifice is smooth upholstery. Playing with them and loving them up is easy. 

I thought it was easy with Curly as well. Now I feel like such a failure. 

School starts this week and I refuse to allow this to foreshadow it. I insist on a brilliant and positive year this year. And I shall take my cleansing breaths this morning and transform rodent consciousness into a sunburst crown of positive light.

That and maybe two cups of coffee this morning.

UPDATE: CURLY HAS MITES! LITTLE CREEPY UGH-Y CREATURES THAT ARE MAKING HER HAIR FALL OUT.  SHE GOT A SHOT. NEEDS THREE MORE OVER THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS. $73 PLUS DOLLARS LATER AND A CLEANED OUT CAGE AND  I'M KA-CHINGED OUT!! 

Monday, September 01, 2008

OBVIOUS vs OBLIVIOUS

Issues

Lack of vetting (thank you Cathy), with, among other questions,  a cloud of investigation on ethics after a campaign based on ethics. 

Lack of experience


13 years of "elected experience" consisting of 1.5 years as Governor of Alaska, 6 years as Mayor of Wasilla AK with a population less than 8,000 during which she fired the police chief for not supporting her political campaign, before that 4 years on the city council of Wasilla.

No doubt she's a "go-getter". No doubt she's ambitious. Nothing wrong with those two things. It's just all the other things that don't add up.

Hurricane Gustav


Praying for friends

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CRENSHAW'S GOLD

(for PresbyG who won the Guessing Contest!)




On a very warm Wednesday night
not so very long ago
The Crab Shack down Baltimore way
bore witness to
an event of such magnitude
such world altering importance
that if it were on a grander scale
you would have heard tell of it.

His name was Crenshaw, yes it was
and he was born of the sea
Had only reached his teenaged years
when he was plucked,
trapped and taken to the Crab Shack
shackled by rubber bandage
causing his poor old mama, when she knew,
to weep rivers and buckets of tears.

They plopped him into a glass tank
Yes they did. A see thru one
Right in the middle of the Crab Shack
where folks stared
with their round hungry eyes
pointing with their bandless fingers
choosing who would be next for
the boiling pot of death attack!

Crenshaw was brilliant and strong
and not to be fooled
by the Crab Shack’s hungry mob
so he practiced.
Every night after lights out
He swam, and swam, in spite of bands
and then practiced his jumps
you could only call a reverse dive

And he waited.
For opportunity
Golden

And it came.

On a very warm Wednesday night
even less a time ago
The Crab Shack down Baltimore way
bore witness to
Crenshaw the strongest crab ever's
escape from death by menu
by an amazing leap of courage
and lightening like run to the quay!

Shocked customers and Bill the owner
watched in amazement and awe,
Crenshaw mirroring Phelps up on the big screen
swim to the tank’s bottom,
shoot up like a speeding sky rocket
Fly spinning outta that tank of doom
Land on the sawdust covered floor
and make a run for it as ladies screamed!

Crenshaw ran through the customers,
sideways, as crabs do
Out the door and then stopped to sniff
which way to the sea
Bearing’s got, skittered faster than
Angelo Taylor, jumping street hurdles
miraculously avoiding cars
trucks and pedestrian feet

The Crab Shack customers followed
not believing their eyes
watching Crenshaw’s life saving run
to the quay!
At last standing on the edge
Crenshaw turned to face the large crowd
Freed his bands on a nail
and waved, snapping, “Buh Bye now”

Bill took off his skipper’s cap
held it close to his chest
“That crab there was obviously not
mean to be dinner.
On this Olympic night, this crab is a winner!”
The crowd murmured agreement
As Crenshaw sank to the bottom
Where his mama waited.

On a very warm Wednesday night
not so very long ago
The Crab Shack down Baltimore way
bore witness to
an event of such magnitude
such world altering importance
that if it were on a grander scale
you would have heard tell of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MICHELANGELO GOES HOME



After a two year visit to the United States, Michelangelo's David goes home to Italy











His proud sponsors were ~






(hat tip to Dave Pruiksma)

Monday, August 04, 2008

FLOATIN' ABOUT IN THE "IN BETWEEN"

Now for many reasons Wonderboy and I do not have a church home for worship on Sunday.

Instead we pickup my mom and go out to breakfast and enjoy each other's company. As well as Wonderboy enjoying his pancake pileup.

We missed communion yesterday. That made me sad.

Right now I am too tired to go church hunting. Wonderboy wants to stay with his former choir with Janet and Judy. We'll do that. And for next year that will likely be all the church we get.

I for one, not only feel but also believe that our presence at the former church was not only unwelcome, but personally rejected. For many reasons. Perhaps this was not the intention of anyone there. But it was the action(s) or actually non-action, and it was the result. I suspect there are others there who have left who experienced the same. Be that as it may, it still feels personal. And it grew to feel personal to Wonderboy. When he said, "I am so bored of listening to (the head pastor) begging for money and trying to make it about God", that sealed it.

I tried to volunteer. Was rejected and blown off, quite rudely. I asked for help and was rejected and blown off, again rudely. Those are just two examples. I can deal with these things, but for my son to see that this is acceptable treatment of his mother in a purported house of God is, frankly, absolutely unacceptable. And vile.

My church is now with you all. I have had better fellowship, Bible Study and support here than any from this church. As well as opportunities to serve.

I'll do my best to give him some kind of Bible study at home. But for now, we are "tweeners". The last church I tried never called after I filled out the "friendship cards". Three times.

There is too much on my plate now to go looking. My cup runneth amok, as it were.

If it is meant for us to be at another church I believe God will point the way and clear the currently bramble filled path.

Friday, August 01, 2008

MINDY'S QUILT IS IN THE BUILDING!!

Modeled by the ever helpful Wonderboy, here's the front



and Here's the back



Every quilt has a story to tell. Though small, this one still has a story. There are squares contributed by blog friends. There were fabric and photos contributed, out of which I made squares. And I found Pantypalooza! Wouldn't be right without that.

I purchased far too much fabric, of course. But it was so pretty. So I sent the leftover to Princess Mindy so that she could make coordinating accessories like pillows or a covered bulletin board, or an apron, or some cotton g-string panties, if she wishes.

I made the "Princess Mindy's Home Sweet Home" square before she posted about finding Albert on the porch. Well, of course, this then meant that a change in backing fabric was in order.

This was one of those projects that was so much fun, I did not want to finish it. It looked too bare when it was all sewn together. Wonderboy and I made several trips to JoAnn's fabrics and Michaels Crafts. We found the buttons and charms. Wonderboy picked out the silver wrapped pink beads and helped to place them at the bottom. The two charms on the bottom right and left are hearts with rhinestone crowns in the middle. They and the top fleur-dis-lis are tied on with silk ribbon. I chose a golden edging because, it's for Princess Mindy and requires a posh finish.

Mindy tells me this will go up in her new craft room. The perfect place!

Many thanks to all who contributed a square(s)/photos/fabric. You can see who you are, right there!

And to Mindy, this is a gift to help fill your new house with light and love and all good wishes.